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Video:Clean and Care for Gauge Ears

with Allison Lahikainen

Stretching your ear lobe piercing, or gauge piercing, can add an interesting aesthetic to your look. If you want to stretch your ear piercings to gauge sizes, it is very important to learn how to clean and care for them properly.See Transcript

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Transcript:Clean and Care for Gauge Ears

I'm Allison Lahikainen for About.com, and today, we're going to talk about stretched ear piercings, which kids commonly call "gauged." We're here at Graceland Tattoo in Wappingers Falls, New York and I'm your piercing professional for the day.

Avoid Infections in New Gauge Ears

Specifically, we're going to talk about how to clean and care for your stretched ear piercings. When you initially get your ears pierced, you should be following a cleaning regimen of cleaning twice a day with a nice gentle sea salt; not subjecting them to water like chlorine, lakes or ponds; not touching with dirty hands; and making them the last thing you rinse in the shower. If your holes are new and you're not following your cleaning regimen, your ears could get infected and you don't want that to happen. They'll get red, they'll get very sore, very hot; you will get a nasty discharge that is not pleasant.

Cleaning Ear Gauges

You'd want to use a sea salt mix. You can mix up your own sea salt, non-iodized sea salt and warm water, or you can buy pre-mixed sprays off the shelf these days, saline sprays or sea salt sprays. So, a good way to clean is just take your q-tip and wash around the front of your ear and wash around the back of your ear. You don't have to rotate your jewelry; just get off any crusties. You can rinse and dry everything with the other side of the q-tip. You can also mix your non-iodized sea salt in a cup with warm water and you could just hold the cup to your ear for a minute. Do a little swish around and let it soak for a few minutes. You want to clean it twice a day for the first month and, after that, once a day for just a few weeks, until it's fully healed. You'll know it's fully healed when it's not sore, when it's not red and you no longer get the crusty build up.

Stretching Gauged Ears

When you're finally ready to start stretching or gauging your ears, you should choose material that's really nice quality, very nice surgical steel or titanium. Never stretch with naturals, like wood or plastic or bone. And when you get to the point where you can take them out, have them out for a few hours. Let your ears dry naturally before putting them back in; that will keep down the funk that tends to occur when you have gauged ears. If you follow these easy steps, caring for your stretched, or gauged, piercings will be quick and painless. And just remember, never go faster than your body can handle.

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