Q:i have a friend who might stretch with plugs instead of tapers, is that a good idea? i tried searching google but nothing really came up. i want to tell her she shouldn't stretch with plugs because that just sounds like a bad idea, but i want to be sure that it's unsafe!
Stretching with just plugs, otherwise known as dead stretching, is perfectly safe. It’s how I’ve been stretching back up from my downsize in early November. Essentially it is waiting until your ears have self-stretched to the next size over time and can accept it easily, without the aid of stretching tools like tape or tapers. I wish I’d known about it before when I stretched the first time around.
Round-backed colorfront plugs are perfect for the job and also come in those awkward “in-between” sizes (like 1g, 11/16”, 13/16”, 15/16”, and such). Round-ended steel plugs are a pretty good alternative, but are more limited in sizes. Both are pretty cheap. (Note: Those particular metal plugs are low quality economy grade plugs and you should use caution if you buy them. If your ears don’t like economy steel because of a nickel allergy, you should definitely go with glass or higher grade steel or titanium. I provided them as an alternative to the glass plugs because they are an option and people like options. The polish on those plugs is also inferior and the glass will be a lot smoother.)
Metal (or even glass) eyelets/tunnels are okay to use, but can be sharp on the edges and often have o-ring grooves, which can both make stretching more difficult or uncomfortable or be the reason your ears react badly to a stretch. Use those at your own risk.
Dead stretching, like any other method, should be very very minimally uncomfortable at the most. Proper lubrication should be used - some sort of oil or lotion that you are not allergic to; this is not the time to try out something new. When I say “uncomfortable” I mean that the new plug (which should be 1mm larger than your current size at most, but glass plugs can vary slightly) might feel a bit tight in your ear or you might feel a very slight stinging sensation or your ear might turn a bit pink and warm-ish (simply just from being squished around like after a massage) for 5-10 minutes. Anything more than that most likely means you’re doing something wrong and should go back down a size and try again in a week or two (providing there was not any blood or ripping involved in which case more time should be given).
If you’re talking about using silicone eyelets to stretch with, then I highly recommend she try a different method. I suggest you have your friend read this from the Kaos website.
Also please note that some people’s ears just aren’t stretchy enough for this to work and she might have to try another method. :)
Answering this publicly so it can be referred to later because dead stretching does come up somewhat frequently and I don’t want to type all that out again.
P.S. If I missed anything or messed up some info, please correct it/add to this ask, other mods.
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