Stretching earlobes is becoming the new tattoo

Stretching earlobes is something that goes back a long way and it is something that is becoming increasingly popular on the street. Many people associate stretching earlobes with the more remote places in the world but it is actually something that has been done in Western countries for some time.

Many people, when they first see a stretched earlobe, probably think it is a little bit strange but for the people who have had it done it is something that they see as beautiful.

On BBC Masterchef stretched earlobes have come to the attention of viewers because one of the contestants has significantly stretched ears. They have a piece of metal in them which allows people to see straight through the lobe. Another celebrity who is wearing what are known as ‘flesh tunnels’ is one of the members of boy band McFly. He is currently in the public eye because he is appearing on the ITV show, ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.’

Statistically it is very hard to see whether earlobe stretching is on the rise. Generally information is not recorded and mostly people have to rely on anecdotal evidence. It does seem however, when you look at the public, that the trend is on the rise. There is also an increasing amount of jewellery available in shops for people with stretched earlobes, suggesting there is an increased market.

Many places that pierce ears have said that in the last few years the number of people coming in for earlobe stretching has greatly increased. Marcus Mellor pierces ears in Manchester and he has recently stated, “Stretching ears used to be associated with the rock crowd and hippies but now it is something that is being embraced by all levels of society. Everyone from middle-aged men to young girls are considering getting their ears stretched.”

Alix Fox writes for the UK magazine, Bizarre and said, “It is much easier to find a reputable person to stretch is these days as it is something that is entering the mainstream. As places become more popular people feel more confident in using them knowing that they are clean and hygienic.”

Professor Victoria Pitts Taylor has written about body modification and she has said that it is used by people to set themselves apart from others. She has commented, “In the last few years more people have become attracted to this practice and it is entering the mainstream, we are even starting to see celebrities and models who are stretching their earlobes. There are people who want the practice to remain as part of the subculture rather than in the mainstream.”

There are two main ways to stretch earlobes. The first involves a lot of patience as the earlobes are gradually stretched over time, the second way is a more immediate procedure called dermal punching, when essentially a whole is punched through the skin.

Mellor says that he encourages his customers to do the slow option, he says, “This takes a much longer time and generally people can hope to stretch their earlobes by around 1 mm every month. Skin stretching is a slow process and it is something that should not be forced. If you do it too quickly you are going to get an uneven stretch and it can also be quite painful.

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