What Parents Need
To Know

Piercings and teenagers go hand-in-hand. Like clothes, makeup, and hairstyles, piercings offer teens a way to express themselves. If your teen has expressed interest in piercings, especially in stretching or gauging the earlobe, there are a few things you should know.

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Repairing a stretched or gauged ear

When stretching is done properly, the channel could shrink down to leave a minimal mark when jewelry is removed, says Angel. Stretches over one-half inch, however, will probably not return to a normal appearance. In order to be rid of the void, plastic surgery may be necessary.

Facial plastic surgeon D.J. Verret, MD, repairs earlobe stretchings on a regular basis. "The biggest age group coming for repair," says Verret, "are high school and college graduates entering the job market."

According to Dr. Verret, the success of the repair process is dependent on how much earlobe skin is left. Verret compares cases with less skin to repairs for people born without earlobes or those who have lost their earlobes due to trauma.

Please don't pierce that!

Angel is a strong advocate for expression through piercing, but there are some piercings that even she refuses to perform. Steer your teen away from these risky piercings:

  • Face: eyelid, lip surface, chin, horizontal (transverse) tongue, cheek, between the cheek and gum line, under the tongue, uvula (at the back of the throat)
  • Torso: outie navel, small or inverted nipples, under the collarbone
  • Genitals: deep clitoral shaft (the Isabella), female urethra opening (the Princess Albertina), deep penile shaft, and transcrotal
  • Other body parts not to pierce: anus, between fingers and toes or anywhere on the hands and feet, close to skin's surface through a small pinch of tissue, behind bone or tendon

>> Piercing safety pointers for teens

The bottom line

Angel, who has performed over 40,000 piercings in her professional career, believes piercing is safe when both the piercer and pierce are educated about the process. Check out safepiercing.org for more information.

More on parenting teens:

 


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Comments on "Teen piercing trends: Earlobe gauging, stretching and body piercing"

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Jackie May 09, 2013 | 12:38 PM

My mom freaked out as I slowly collected piercings. I started with lobes of course, and then slowly adorned my nose, tongue, nipples, navel, and some other places. I have 13 now :) she didn't let me get anything pierced in high school, but once I turned 18 I told her that this was a way of self expression that was totally unique to me, and that I loved them, and even if she didn't think so, that I thought my piercings enhanced my beauty. Plus, they had added to my self esteem, and I have no problems with my body anymore (after stripping several more times for body piercings). Slowly and grudgingly, they accepted them, especially after I actually got a high school teaching gig. The only one my parents would not tolerate is my tongue ring, which I keep concealed anyway. When I have kids, I'm definitely going to use piercings as incentives, if they want one. For instance, if they get an A in this class, they can get a new one. This is safer than letting them go at it with a needle and an ice cube, or going to a filthy piercer who knows nothing behind my back. The stereotype of people with piercings needs to be broken, and that can only happen if we all start being reasonable about it. Then it won't seem like such a "bad" activity after all.

Carole Lynn August 05, 2012 | 2:11 PM

I have had my ears stretched for a long time already and they measure almost two inch inside diameter. My husband talked me into having my long hair cut, as he likes it. Little did I know I was getting sheared, I had hair well on my shoulders and now I wear it no longer than a half inch at the most. Shorter on the sides and back. For te first time my lobes are totally visible, I have no way to hide them anymore I expect my parents to disown me when they see that. They are the churchy types... My husband loves me for having my hair cut off and exposing my lobes though. He wants me to have permanent cosmetic make up done too. He doesn't care what the cost. Lip liner, lip color, eye liner and eyebrows will be done soon. I find it very exciting and my husband finds all that very y, That is something I like very much of course. We do it now a couple of times during the week and on week-ends we never stop !!

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Bep April 18, 2012 | 10:59 AM

Earlobe stretching is a lot easier than you would think. My ears are being stretched now. The first thing we did was ti actually make a tiny slit verically in my lobes, so we didn't start with a little pin hole. The cut was no more than four millimeters. We inserted a little plug that fitted comfortably and let that heal completely before the actual stretching started. Now i wear plugs of two centimeters and soon we go one more up. The slower you go the better it is. Erica, I wish you and your boyfriend well and you are right: men find it y!!! Bep

ERiCA July 06, 2011 | 7:23 AM

I am in te process of stretching my earlobes. at the urging of my fiance. He can get his index finger throuhg the holes now. We are taking our time and so far we have been busy with it for about eighteen months. We have no problems with it and there is actually no pain to speak of ! We intend to stretch them untill they are something like one and half inches long, if possible! It is definetely eye catcching and I love it. I wear purposly a very short hair cut, to show off my ears. We just love it and find it very xy. Erica

John Tribal Piercing and Education February 18, 2010 | 8:37 AM

I would like to correct your article. Gauge is a type of measurement. when people say im "gauging" my ears. Proper is "stretching". The jewelry are called plugs not gauges. Just for clarification.

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