When you first start stretching your ear lobes, you should use a glass or steel taper. They are hygienic, easy to clean, and ideal for a new stretch that needs to be healed. There are a number of other materials that can be worn after your stretched lobes have healed.
Acrylic has a lot of pros and cons. It is incredibly lightweight, usually bright in color, and can look like glass. You will also find that many acrylic plugs come in a range of designs and shapes too.
You can also find glow in the dark acrylics – which look really cool. You will find that many stretching kits come with a range of acrylic and steel tapers. They are durable and easy to clean so many people find them to be the ideal option for budget-friendly stretching.
Low-quality acrylic is prone to breaking or stripping too. So purchase with care.
Stone, Wood, Horn, Bone
These are ideal for healed piercings. Organic and natural materials are often the most ornate yet simple options. However, they aren’t safe for healing tissues. Bone, wood, horn and some stones are all porous. This means that they may harbour bacteria. This will cause infection and irritation in some healing tissues.
So they are great to have ready for when your ears have healed up a little.
Stone plugs are becoming more popular, and many people like the teardrop quartz or onyx gemstone options. Stone plugs are colourful and can be very subtle. Wood, bone, and horn can have a lot of embellishment with engravings and intricate designs.
It is important to know that some of these materials aren’t water-friendly, and if you don’t remove wooden ones before swimming or taking a shower, you might find that they crack or warp. They are straightforward to clean with a damp cloth, and most wood types should be oiled too. The oiling will stop them from drying out and is excellent for your lobes too.
Steel is great for fresh stretches and healed piercings alike. It is easy to clean and very sturdy. Steel is non-porous, which is why it is ideal for healing piercings. Stainless steel does have a small amount of nickel which can cause allergic reactions. Implant grade steel, however, has almost no amount of nickel and has higher biocompatibility. Biocompatible materials don’t harm the wearer as they don’t impact living tissue. And in most cases won’t trigger reactions.
Glass is an ideal replacement for steel on freshly stretched ears. Glass can be autoclaved to give it a deep clean, and can come in a range of bright and exciting designs. Even though glass plugs are sturdy, if dropped they may smash. Glass plugs also don’t have the same weight as steel so are an ideal material step between steel and acrylic.
When choosing a material guide for your plug or tunnel, make sure that you take into account how healed your stretch is, and the care instructions for the different materials too.