Many people wish to stretch their piercings. Stretching essentially makes the piercing hole bigger. In terms of body piercings, it means that the piercing is stretched to a larger gauge. Stretching will increase the diameter of the fistula, which means you will need to wear larger jewelry. In some cases, you will be able to wear special jewelry made for stretched piercings.
This tissue stretching is done for aesthetics and functional purposes. Some piercings are more prone to stretching and will stretch easily. For example, earlobes can easily be stretched so it’s one of the most popular stretched piercings.
However, stretching is not always done voluntarily and on purpose. It’s important to know that your piercing can be stretched even if you don’t want it to. In this situation, stretching is a problem you need to address and prevent.
What is Unwanted Stretching?
In order to understand how to prevent unwanted stretching, you need to know how stretching happens in the first place. The stretching increases the diameter of the fistula, making your piercing have a larger gauge. It also means that you will need to wear jewelry of a larger gauge to accommodate it.
Stretching is done on the tissue so it becomes elongated, making the piercing hole wider. Stretching will affect the piercing itself, as well as any surrounding tissue. In some cases, stretching can hurt the tissue and lead to damage, breakage and other problems. Even when done purposely stretching poses a risk. When it happens involuntarily it almost always leads to additional problems.
Piercings at Risk
The location and type of the piercing is very important for stretching. Some body parts will stretch more than the others, so this is where you can expect unwanted stretching to occur. Different tissue stretches at different rates so it will determine the ability of your piercing to stretch, whether you want it or not. As a general rule, some piercings can easily be stretched while others require a lot of effort to be stretched. It means that for some piercings unwanted stretching is always a possibility while you don’t have to worry about the others.
Piercings that are relatively easy to stretch are those that are typically stretched on purpose: earlobe, nipple piercing and genital piercings. Most of genital piercings are very prone to stretching. Also, surface piercings are often easy to stretch, which can lead to tissue damage since the piercing is done so close to the skin surface. Speaking of which, your navel piercing can easily be stretched even if you don’t want that to happen.
Dangers and Problems
One of the most common problems encountered with unwanted stretching is tissue damage. This is particularly problematic with piercings that are located very close to the edge of the skin. Stretching will pull on the skin, which can make the tissue become so thin that the blood has difficulty passing through it. This can lead to further problems. The tissue might die and split. Tearing of the tissue is another common problem with unwanted stretching. It’s not uncommon to encounter tissue damage, especially if you wear heavy, large jewelry.
People who wish to stretch their piercings know that it’s important to always go slowly. With unwanted stretching, the enlargement of fistula almost always occurs rapidly, which leads to tissue damage. In some cases, this damage is microscopic and will cause your piercing to hurt and become sore. In other cases, the damage is more permanent and serious.
How to Prevent Unwanted Stretching?
In order to prevent unwanted stretching, it’s vital to take a good care of your piercing. You need to keep it clean and prevent scratches, infections and other problems. However, the most important way to prevent the unwanted stretching is to choose appropriate jewelry. Your chosen jewelry should be well-crafted and made of body-friendly materials to prevent problems. Also, it has to be appropriately-sized. Jewelry that is too large and heavy will almost always cause the unwanted stretching.
You should always wear jewelry in the same gauge as your piercing. Never try to insert larger jewelry “just because”, because it can lead to stretching and tissue damage. Also, make sure not to wear jewelry that is too heavy if stretching is your concern. Weights and heavy jewelry are the easiest ways to stretch your piercing, so if this is something you want to avoid, make sure to always wear smaller and lighter jewelry pieces.
If you notice some unwanted stretching or if your piercing becomes sore, you may try rubbing it with a bit of oil and leaving it to close a bit. Good oils to use are Vitamin E, jojoba, extra virgin olive oil, avocado or emu oil. This should bring the piercing to its original size unless the stretching was too pronounced.