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feel the stretch!
October 18, 2006 11:10 AM   Subscribe

ear piercing/stretching question inside & a good piercing shop in nyc?

how big can the lobe be pierced if it is not pierced already? i understand if the ear is already pierced, but what if a person is starting from scratch. for example, if a person wants to size up to a 2 or 0... do they start at 10, wait the six months for it to heal, and then stretch up incrementally once it heals? or can you start with a 2 and just leave it be?

also, any recomended piercing shops in NYC? or places to avoid...
posted by whatitis to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I don't have any experience with lobe stretching, but I had several other piercings done at New York Adorned and found them to be very, very helpful and professional. Not sure what part of NYC you are in, but it's probably worth stopping by and asking a piercer these questions. I never had an appointment, just walked in.
posted by Siobhan at 11:47 AM on October 18, 2006


For a piercing using a needle you don't want to go bigger then 14 ga. This size will heal quickly and nicely. After a few weeks you can begin stretching. If you want to take a fast track to big lobs. Might want to look into doing a dermal punch.... this is a permanent solution.

I went from 14 ga to 5/8 in 2.5 years. Stretching wasn't my goal, so I might have been able to get to that size quicker. About two years ago I let them heal up.... you can't even tell anymore.

I do suggest you get your own stretching kit.
posted by bleucube at 12:00 PM on October 18, 2006


I believe you can scalpel/dermal punch an ear at something like 2 or 0, but that carries with it greater risks, as well as the problem of finding someone to do it - in many place, dermal punching and scalpelling is illegal unless you're a medical practitoner.

But really, what Siobhan said. Go ask a good piercer.
posted by kalimac at 12:00 PM on October 18, 2006


You want to get the ear pierced with either a 16 (smaller) or 14 (larger) ga CBR to start. Once it heals, you should be OK to down a size (getting larger) as often as you feel comfortable.

Personally, I find that at least a month or two between jumps minimizes the discomfort. I just get the piercer to use a solid surgical steel spike that has a thich end the size of my new piercing size. They lube it, slide it all the way in and pass it through with the new jewelery touching it. this is similar to how the actual piercing is done in the first place.

Other people that I know who have gone all the way to 00 ga and beyond have expedited the process by hanging weights from their rings and then holes once they are bigger.
posted by ChazB at 12:37 PM on October 18, 2006


i know i had my original holes (16 ga) stretched to 8ga, and i think that was as big as they'd go in one pass. (actually, it was two different tapering needles, but in one session.) of course siobhan's right and you should talk to a good piercer. they'd be more than happy to help you.
posted by kendrak at 12:37 PM on October 18, 2006


talk about conflicting information out there!

trying to distill information from all of this, and correct me if i'm hearing wrong:

starting small allows it to heal faster and thus allowing you begin stretching earlier. one piercer told me you can begin stretching as soon as a month, another told me youhave to wait six months.
posted by whatitis at 2:05 PM on October 18, 2006


BMEshop sells piercing needles up to 4g, but anything below 8g tends to be used for mostly genital piercings. An option if you don't want to wait is either

a.) a pierce/stretch combo that some piercers do: they'll pierce it at, say, 8g, then taper the fresh piercing to 6g, or

b.) look into a dermal punch, which comes in sizes up to 8mm (not sure of the equivalent gauge), and tends to be better for larger gauge cartilage (as it actually removes tissue, and doesn't compress it and make it unhappy.)

As always, you'll need to speak to your piercer about what they're comfortable with doing.
posted by Glitter Ninja at 2:12 PM on October 18, 2006


Oh, also, forgot to mention. Weights do assist in stretching once you get to the larger gauges, but also make the skin at the bottom of the hole thinner, as that's where the pressure lies. This can lead to conflict later, depending on how large you want to end up going. I used tapers all the way up to the 16mm I had, and never had a problem till about a year after I'd reach 16mm, when I had a bad incident with some Kaos tunnels and ended up having to take them out permanently.
posted by Glitter Ninja at 2:15 PM on October 18, 2006


talk about conflicting information out there!

trying to distill information from all of this, and correct me if i'm hearing wrong:

starting small allows it to heal faster and thus allowing you begin stretching earlier. one piercer told me you can begin stretching as soon as a month, another told me youhave to wait six months.


Go to 6 different places and you'll get 6 different opinions. I generally go better safe than sorry. Wait for it to heal, go one size at a time to avoid tearing, give it time to adjust to the new size, repeat.

If you stretch too fast and tear the lobe, even just a little, you may have problems stretching them out later or getting them to shrink back to a more managable/employer acceptable size.
posted by ChazB at 2:19 PM on October 18, 2006


Despite being friends with piercers who do dermal punching and also sometimes recommend cutting (!), there's something about the immediate gratification of immediately having large gauge jewelry that grates on me.

You could probably start up at a 12, but it's still gonna take awhile to get to a 10. If you don't have a job/career that you're already working for the rest of your life, I'd think twice about getting them punched -- it'd suck to get out of college and find out you're getting passed on for positions because you wanted to follow some trend two years ago.

Personally, it took me maybe 2 years (at most) to get to 00 from a 14 gauge pierce ... I wasn't trying to set any records, and after I got to about 6 I only stretched when I lost one of my earrings and had to buy new ones anyways. After around 8 gauge or so I started having them tapered, but you can also do things like throw in an extra small gauge ring, or put athletic tape around them (when you're in the larger sizes).

I've had them out for about 6 years now and I can probably still fit at least an 8 through one of 'em -- the other pretty much looks the same but it's closed up in the back. Then again, I have huge frickin' lobes.
posted by fishfucker at 2:40 PM on October 18, 2006


Go to 6 different places and you'll get 6 different opinions. I generally go better safe than sorry. Wait for it to heal, go one size at a time to avoid tearing, give it time to adjust to the new size, repeat.

this is good and true advice.

If you are gonna get pierced, try to get it done at a piercing only shop. While I'm sure there are exceptions, many of the folks I've dealt with who worked out of tattoo shops didn't know shit, and just picked up some piercing so they could make some extra money. This may not be possible depending on your location, and just because it's a piercing only shop does not mean that the piercers there are competent.
posted by fishfucker at 2:42 PM on October 18, 2006


this is research for a friend because i have some extra time on my hands and i'm curious... the instant gratification of a dermal punch/cutting is not something they want.

so how long does one wait then for the inital piercing to heal to being stretching?
posted by whatitis at 2:56 PM on October 18, 2006


You do not have to start as small as 16, 14, or 12 gauge. I have had initial piercings done at 10ga (hood, nipples) and 4ga (lobes). The 4ga lobe piercings were done with a needle, then immediately stretched to 2ga with a taper. This method isn't always the best way to go, but I was able to heal them very easily. For an initial larger-gauge piercing, I would only go to a piercer who is comfortable piercing at that gauge and has a portfolio with a number of larger-gauge piercings in it.

For shops in NYC, either go to Venus on Broadway, or head out to Brooklyn to Pure Body Arts. Pure is owned by a piercer named Brian, and he is one of the best piercers I have ever encountered, and one of the three people in the world I would ever trust near me with a piercing needle.
posted by bedhead at 8:24 PM on October 18, 2006


My friend wanted to get her lobes stretched and basically the piercer would not do more than 2mm (I'm not sure how it translates to ga) at a time, recommending that you leave it for at east a month before going futher. As the hole gets bigger, they might do a little more, but it is all on a case by case basis.
posted by cholly at 8:57 PM on October 18, 2006


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