About two years ago I decided to stretch my lowest earlobes from a 14/16 gauge ear ring to 12 gauge. I did this because I thought that most captive bead rings or curved barbells didnt really show up. They didnt catch my eye in the mirror next to my long hair. When I fell in love with some oblong / oval rings at LeRoi.com I ordered them in size 12G hoping they would stand out better. I didnt pay much attention to this initial stretch and popped the new rings right in with little discomfort. After happily wearing these for over 1 year I became anxious again to change. I ordered some horn spirals in 12G, but when they arrived I was sorely disappointed. They were much smaller than I thought they would be. When I had my rook pierced (which btw, finally healed in December) I looked in the cases at the body jewelry and realized to get the desired look, I would need to go to 4G or 2G. But, stretching takes time, and patience.
I bought a pair of 10G captive bead rings and knowing that I should now start using lubricant and a tapered end to stretch, I looked through my knitting needles for the appropriate size. Using Vaseline, I slid the knitting needle in then followed quickly with the rings. Here are some pictures from the adventure.
A month or so after this stretch I stumbled across Zebrawood Spiral rings at OneTribe.nu and fell in love. As I perused their site I also found a great guide for stretching.
After almost 6 weeks of rest my next round of stretching (to 8G) came after a trip to the mall yielded stainless steel tapered rings in my next two sizes (buying rings for intermediate sizes at LeRoi.com was getting pricey). No pictures from that stretch.
During my annual Christmas trip to Chicago to see my family I noticed that the cold weather was taking a toll on my ears. They were itchy and flaky and dry. I knew that OneTribe carried oils for ear care but I was not quite ready for my zebrawood rings (need to wait for some cash inflow - plus, I'm not there yet gauge-wise) so I decided to look elsewhere. Chameleon Tattoo and Piercing in Boston did not carry any products but a staff member recomended using generic Vitamin E oil from a drugstore. I hit up the Fenway Rite Aid and grabbed a small bottle of Vitemin E (28,000 I.U.) for $5.99. Then I spotted some Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream. The ingredients are almond oil, beeswax, lemon oil, cocoa butter, Vitamin E, candelilla wax, sunflower oil, rosemary leaf extract, beta carotene, and vegetable oil (95% natural!). Knowing that all of those components are very good for your skin I snatched it up at $5.99. While I was at REI I went ahead and grabbed some Dr. Bronner's Hemp Lavender Castille Liquid soap for $3.99, just in case it was myuse of bar soap that was drying my ears.
So far I've used the soap and its nice. I've used the Burt's Bees at night, it smells wonderful and seems to soothe my stretchings. I've also used dabs of Vit E when re-inserting my rings, so it would get inside to heal the piercings. So far I'm not a fan of the sticky-ness of the Vit E. I might try and dilute it with some other kind of oil. Maybe Safflower or something else I can get my hands on.
After another week or so of using the Burt's Cream at night I'll see how I feel about going to 6G. It's been 6.5 weeks since the last stretch. I might try to hold out for 8 weeks, just because I dont want to damage my ears. I'll see how antsy I get.