woman with stretched lobes

Stretched lobes are a growing trend that offers opportunities for bold jewelry choices. It’s no wonder why they’re becoming more and more popular; if you stretch to a medium-sized gauge, a plug can look like a normal piece of jewelry, but you still get to enjoy a more alternative style.

However, plugs and tunnels can be difficult to work with. If you’re new to stretched earlobes, then you might have struggled with your plugs and tunnel jewelry. Here’s what you need to know.

How to easily insert your plug or tunnel

If you’re new to stretching ear piercings or if you are just having some trouble inserting new jewelry, these guidelines will help you safely change your jewelry.

1. Make sure you are using the correct size. Don’t try to insert a 6G if you are currently wearing a 10G. The best thing to do is gradually increase the size.

2. Try inserting the plugs after a nice, hot shower. Gently massage them to loosen the skin and make your lobes more supple and stretchable.

3. Use lube. Be sure to use something water-based or natural, like emu, vitamin E oil, or olive oil. Whatever you do, do not use petroleum jelly (Vaseline).

4. Use a taper plug slightly smaller than your current gauge. Apply some lube to the taper and gently insert it into the piercing. Follow through with the jewelry. This works best with single-flared plugs.

5. If you’re inserting double-flared plugs, use some lube and try to insert the plug with the edge first, at an angle. Some people refer to it as the “button” method, as it’s similar to threading a button into a button-hole.

6. Whatever you do, do not force the jewelry in. While healthy skin in naturally elastic and will stretch, tearing it will cause scar tissue.

Why do my stretched lobes stink?

A common issue with stretched lobes is that they often start to smell bad.

This can happen in any piercing. The piercing stink occurs when there’s significant buildup of dead skin cells in the piercing hole (otherwise known as a fistula). Your body always sheds dead skin cells, but in other parts of the body, they naturally slough off your skin or you wash them off in the shower. Since the dead skin cells are within the piercing fistula, they won’t slough by themselves.

man with stretched lobes and plugs

In stretched lobes, plugs and tunnels tend to hold more of these dead skin cells, creating more stink. An easy way to prevent this from happening is to make sure that you take out your jewelry and thoroughly clean the piercing.

Plastic can also cause more of this stink. Avoid plastic plugs, and choose better materials. (We love 14k gold, but that’s also because we have some pretty great offerings.)

Should I choose a single- or double-flare?

The difference between the single-flare and double-flare plugs is simple.

A single-flare plug features a flare at only one end of the jewelry (usually at the front). It’s held in place with an o-ring at the back of the jewelry.

A double-flare plug features flares at both ends. It’s more secure than the single-flare plug, but it’s more difficult to insert.

Because the single-flare plug has a straight back for easy insertion, they are more suitable for piercings still healing from their last stretch. When you insert your double-flare plugs, you’ll have to stretch the skin a little bit to get it around the flare in the back, which isn’t healthy for a healing stretch. Therefore, you should choose single-flare if you’re still healing, then you can switch to a double-flare once healing is complete.

Stretched lobes offer a fantastic aesthetic, but they do require a different type of attention than other types of piercings. But, if you keep them clean, learn how to safely change your jewelry, and choose materials that avoid that stretched earlobe stench, then there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy your stretched lobes for quite some time.

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