Things You Should Not Do

Round plugs for stretched piercings evenly distribute pressure on all parts of a piercing. As much as they might look cool, non-round shapes — squares for example — place more pressure at the “points”, causing them to damage circulation or worse yet, actually cut into the tissue. Because tissue with reduced circulation loses feeling, this can happen without the wearer even being aware of it until it’s too late.

Nat found this out with her square plugs.


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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

45 thoughts on “Things You Should Not Do

  1. what about round shaped plugs? such as ovals, and teardrop? would they also do this.

  2. i have been wearing oval and teardrop shaped plugs and do not have any issue with them…..however i do remove them at bedtime.

  3. #3 makes me wonder – even with square or funky shaped (Jesus shaped, for instance!) plugs, if they were for short single day wear, would it be okay?

    I don’t have pierced ears at all (though I am considering it, possibly), just curious. Certainly most people I see have round or grommet style.

    (also I see I didn’t have to log in to post this…?)

  4. how long did she wear the square plugs before this happened?
    i have worn squares for over a week before and had nothing wrong at the end of that week so it seems this was either because the corners were really too sharp for jewellery anyway or they were worn for a very long period of time.

  5. that only happens if a person isn’t PAYING ATTENTION. if the wearer took out the plugs once a day (or every few days) to clean/check on her ears, she would have noticed they were irritated. obviously, the wearer did not check.

  6. That’s really ridiculous. Anyone with common since would not wear plugs long enough for this to happen, I’d like to think the knowledgeable people who stretch would take their plugs out daily, even if it were just to clean them, and would notice if their ear turned into a mess like that. Something that happen just doesn’t happen over night.

  7. That really sucks but the sqare shaped fistula is pretty cool. I wonder if there’s a way to get it permanently squared without screwing up your lobe?

  8. I agree with Lindsay… I take my plugs out daily to clean them… how could she NOT notice this was happening? I notice when mine are dirty, can’t imagine not noticing your ears were bleeding/scabby/ewwww

  9. Not so nice :/ I’m not sure whether this was all solely caused by the square plugs though, there’s a loooooot of scar tissue :S

  10. I’d like to know what the reasults were after she removed the plugs… Was surgery required? And if so, was it cosmetic, or were there health issues? I.E. Infection? or loss of flesh?

    Please keep us updated!

    -Big Fan

  11. i wore some square eyelets for a good two weeks straight (but i took them out to clean them every night…cause nobody likes ear cheese) and i didnt have the faintest problem… i did purposely get them a bit smaller than usual because i anticipates something like this ^^ possibly happening…so thats probably the way to go.

  12. Yeah, I agree with #7. I wear odd shaped plugs and weighted hoops all the time, and I’ve never had an issue. I take them out at least every other day to put in a different style or to clean and oil my lobes. It’s just a matter of paying attention. I feel bad, cause it sucks when things like this happen, but really? You didn’t notice that anything was wrong? I find it hard to believe.

  13. To people insisting that this could only happen if a person wasn’t paying attention: this can happen in a few hours if a person has sensitive ears, even if they’re completely healthy. It could happen if they put in the plugs and then went out for the day, or it could happen if they slept with them in. I understand that some people can get away with it, but many (most) people can not.

  14. For a good comparison, look at how many people deeply experienced with stretched lobes and with very healthy ears, were damaged by early silicon plugs.

  15. anyone with a basic knowledge of Drumming or geometry should know this, but what an unpleasant mistake to make.

  16. i agree, this has nothing to do with not paying attention. if i wear o rings for even just an hour my ear is puffy and slimey for a good week.

  17. I guess my lobes are just resilient, because they’re at a lovely 1/2″ right now and I tend to notice (and downsize!) if anything gets angry at all! I wash and oil them daily, and sleep with them out, so those are things to avoid such an accident. Even so, I’ve had awful reactions to black o-rings and it took me a while, and some downsizing, to figure out what was wrong.

    There are only a few ways to have lovely lobes and a TON of ways to mess them up, although I would credit poor information and stupid people (and even stupid piercers!) before I point to the plug’s shape for most people. The inside of that earlobe looks quite irritated, which makes me think that it’s a combination poor shape + some sort of reaction or poor material used.

    On the flipside, I like that hole a lot.

  18. I made the mistake the other day to wear a regular black o ring on my plugs and they flared up within a matter of two hours. I can’t wear acrylic either, same reaction. Plugs that are made of harsher materials (metals mainly) with sharper edges or flares mess them up as well. Sucks big time, but hey, I live with it.

    As long as I stick to nice and smooth jewelry there’s no problem. I’ve been pondering on those nice drop shaped plugs, but I think I’m gonna pass…. *shudders*

    I hope her ears will be fine in the end!

  19. I’m wearing square tunnels right at this moment, and honestly this does worry me a bit. I would though like to see the plugs/tunnels in question that this person wore, to see how sharp the edges were. My tunnels have quite dulled down edges, but even so I take the precaution of turning them 45 degrees every day so the edges put pressure on a new place of the fistula.

    Though, it took a few days for my ears to get used to the bone material as opposed to the stainless steel I wore previously for some reason. They were a bit sore, but not especially in the areas where the edges put pressure.

  20. I think this might be more the result of stretching with square plugs rather than just wearing them.

    Hope whoever this is gets better soon!

  21. If the wearer left their plugs in for that long and allowed THAT much damage; I could only imagine the stink coming from that mess. Gross.

  22. ouch, and double ouch.i remember trying to stretch (twice) with silicone plugs, and that’s about how my ears looked,well except for the being square part.

  23. i’ve never even seen square plugs! though i may not have considered the tearing, i would have been concerned about my lobes retaining the square shape anyway.

    on a sort of unrelated note, i was wondering if it’s usually harder to stretch in cold weather?/ is it a bad idea? i just started stretching a few months ago and i am between 8ga and 6ga (i started at 14ga). two weeks ago it was 70 degrees here, but it has been about 20 recently and i don’t have heat in most of my apartment. i wonder if that is why i am having more trouble going right to 6 than i had before? i hope it is not that my lobes are just unwilling to stretch! for now i just used a little tape.

  24. Did she have an allergic reaction to any of the materials she was wearing, or is that solely from the shape of the plugs? I’d love to know how long she was wearing those plugs for before she noticed what was happening.

  25. Mine wil start itching 3 hours after I put any type of silicon, plastic, pvc, etc tpe plug in and then if I leave them in they will progress to weeping and crusting. Unofortunently I know this because I switched all of mine to non-metal for surgery last year, and of course couldn’t immediantly switch them back. The ears healed within a week after putting metal back in, the others didn’t weep or crust as bad and took only days.

  26. Could this be used to any advantage in shifting a misplaced piercing hole? ie if you carefully wore a teardrop shaped plug for a while, would it slowly widen the hole in a particular direction?

  27. I was actually so close to buying square & triangle plugs because they looked cool, good thing I steered clear from them!

  28. I can almost guarantee this was caused by not only wearing square plugs, but wearing wood. I once made the mistake (at 7/8″) of ordering a beautiful pair of cocobolo wood plugs from etsy. I wore them one day and the skin around the jewelry started to itch. I took them out almost immediately, but the damage was done. It could have been an allergic reaction, it may also have been due to the porous nature of the material. The skin that had come in contact with the wood swelled, blistered and basically melted off, leaving a raw, open wound. Thankfully, I made the decision to stop wearing anything until they had completely healed. This took approximately 3 months. I have since stretched back to and beyond that size.

    Make educated decisions when it comes to the jewelry you choose to wear. Stay away from wood, acrylic and any other porous materials that can trap bacteria. Clean your ears daily. Pay attention to your what your body is telling you. If it hurts, itches, is red or uncomfortable, take it out and wait a while. I know this is hard to do, but it’s a lot better than suffering the consequences of stretching improperly and/or wearing incorrect materials. Let these images be a lesson you never have to learn.

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