The practice of earlobe stretching has been around since the earliest civilizations. Otzi, also called the Iceman, was a mummy found in 1991 in the Otztal Alps (hence the name) between Austria and Italy, estimated to have lived between 3350 and 3105 BC. His lobes somehow remained intact and were stretched between 7 and 11 millimeters.
The Ancient Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun is one of the earliest known rulers to have stretched earlobes. In Ancient Egypt, the tradition of ear stretching went on for thousands of years. Before reaching us in the West, we know that the Ancient Greeks, the Mayans, Aztecs, and many African cultures had similar traditions.
How Are Earlobes Stretched In the First Place?
Earlobe stretching is caused by the deliberate expansion of a pierced ear. To minimize bleeding, skin splitting, and to prevent scar formation, it is done in small increments. If earlobe stretching is done too aggressively, it can cause the earlobe to split. Stretching of the earlobe is done with the use of a plug, sometimes referred to as a gauge. A seven mm or 0 gauge is considered the largest sized earlobe plug that can still allow the earlobe to close by the skin’s own elasticity, leaving a relatively unnoticeable earlobe piercing. A nine mm or 00 gauge is the “point of no return” at which the earlobe has a visible hole and will not shrink back on its own.
What Jewelry Is Used in Stretching?
Throughout the course of history, numerous materials have been used for earlobe stretching. Some of these include stone, fossil, wood, bone, horn, amber, bamboo, silicone, glass, acrylics, steel, and titanium. Nowadays non-porous materials such as steel, titanium, and glass are recommended to help prevent infection when the earlobe is being stretched.
Treatment to Repair Gauged or Stretched Earlobes
If you currently have stretched earlobes, you might still be completely happy with them. However, if you decide you no longer want to wear gauges, Alaska Center for Dermatology Providers can repair your outstretched earlobes. The procedure is accomplished with expert reconstructive surgical techniques in one short procedure using a local anesthetic.