It's incredible to think that 5,300 years ago there was an individual we've dubbed "Ötzi the Iceman" walking this earth, making him older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian Pyramids! Furthermore, he was found with stretched-out ears in a similar way we can see people do today when they are ear-stretching

So ear-stretching or ear-gauging is an ancient practice that humans have been carrying out for at least five millennia or so! And all this time, we're sure everyone who carried out this practice will have had concerns with an ear blowout. 

In this guide, we'll discuss ear blowouts and how to avoid them. 

What Is an Ear Blowout?

An ear blowout often happens when you try to stretch your skin too fast with a jewelry piece. What happens is your skin starts becoming irritated and scar tissue can form. 

Ring blowout symptoms can include inflammation and sometimes they can be pretty painful. You can also experience:

  • Burning
  • Yellow pus
  • Tenderness
  • Itching

Let's now take a look at what ear-gauging is and then we'll discuss how to prevent blowouts.

What Is Ear-Gauging?

The practice of ear-gauging is where you use ear tunnels or plugs to gradually stretch out your ears to make the piercing wider and wider. 

If you are in the U.S., then ring gauging is measured in specific gauges. So you will see numbers with a "g" next to them if they represent a gauge. In other countries, the sizing tends to be in millimeters (mm). 

Now if we go by gauges, then a standard ring gauge will be a 20 or 18 gauge. The wider the ring size the less the gauge number is. So a 1 gauge tunnel or plug is wider than the 18 gauge option. 

After 00 gauge, the sizes are only in inches or millimeters. The largest standard size you can expect to get is a 2-inch tunnel or plug! 

How to Avoid Ring Blowouts

So you can get a blowout if you over-stretch your ear through the practice of ear-gauging. Some good advice is to move up one gauge at a time and allow your ears to get used to the new gauge before you jump to larger ones. 

A decent timeframe to let your ears adjust to a new size is about 1 month to 6 weeks. However, as you go with larger and larger ring sizes, you might want to allow your ears more time to adjust. So we recommend the 1-month to the 6-week timeframe as a good starting point for the smaller ring sizes.

Develop an Ear Massage Routine

One way you might be able to prevent a blowout from happening is to develop an ear massaging routine. This may be especially true if you are experiencing a build-up of scar tissue.

If you want to try this, use a little oil and softly massage your ears for about 10 mins where any problem areas might be forming. Make sure to use a neutral oil that's not going to inflame any issues you may have already.

Some good oil choices can include:

  • Castor oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Tea Tree oil

Using such oils can help maintain your skin's health and strength when you are going through the process of ear-gauging. 

What Gauge Should You Start With?

Assuming you have your ears pierced already (20/18 gauge), then 16 gauge is a sensible starting point for anyone. If you are feeling a little more adventurous, you could choose ear gauges at the 14 mark. 

If you choose rings any bigger than the ones we just suggested, you'll be taking large chunks out of your ears, rather than stretching them. Furthermore, you should know that most people consider 2 gauge rings as the "point of no return." Beyond the 2 gauge mark, only surgery may be able to reverse the appearance of stretching.

What To Do If You Have a Blowout Right Now

If you've just woken up with a blowout, the first thing you should think about is to take out your plug or tunnel and rinse your problem area with a saline solution. You then need to consider dropping your gauge size by one or two sizes. 

For example, if you have a blowout with a 0 gauge ring then you ought to think about a 1 or 2 gauge for a while to give the stretching process a break. 

Surgery and Other Removal Methods

If your blowout gets too serious, then you might need to get surgery. Blowouts can end up being a permanent problem. When you get issues like a keloid scar, you need to see someone about your blowout to get it fixed. 

Some options that you can look into at this point include:

  • Freezing
  • Silicone sheets
  • Laser therapy
  • Corticosteroid shots

If these methods do not work for you, then surgery will be the solution. Surgeons will often use a wedge resection technique to resolve ear blowout issues that include a keloid scar.

Ear Stretching Tips in Summary

If you are planning on having stretched lobes, you should go one size at a time and wait for at least a month before you go up a size. Moisturizing and massaging your ear lobes is also a good thing to do to keep them strong and healthy during the process.

Whenever you feel pain in the process, you should stop for a while and allow your ears to adapt. When you stretch too fast you can feel sharp pains and experience bleeding, so take it slow!

Avoid Getting an Ear Blowout

While it might be exciting to start the process of getting ear gauges, you need to know what you are getting into. An ear blowout can ruin all the fun in the process and might leave you wishing you never started it in the first place. Follow the tips above and you should avoid an ear blowout.

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