This article on Epainassist.com has been reviewed by a medical professional, as well as checked for facts, to assure the readers the best possible accuracy.

We follow a strict editorial policy and we have a zero-tolerance policy regarding any level of plagiarism. Our articles are resourced from reputable online pages. This article may contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.

The feedback link “Was this Article Helpful” on this page can be used to report content that is not accurate, up-to-date or questionable in any manner.

This article does not provide medical advice.


What is Ear Gauging, Know its Side Effects & Ways to Prevent Infection in Gauged Ears

While ear gauging is a popular fashion, the chances of infection are high. It is necessary to know about preventing infection in gauged ear and side effects of ear gauging.

One of the most popular style statements in recent times is that of ear gauging. Though it used to be practiced in the olden days by several tribes as part of their religious ceremonies, ear gauging has now become a fashion statement and is being practiced by individuals of all ages all around the globe.

What is Ear Gauging

What is Ear Gauging?

The technique of ear gauging involves making an already present ear lobe piercing even bigger in size. The benefit of having gauged ears is that the person can wear ear jewelry of different sizes, which may not fit into small sized piercing otherwise.

Ear lobe stretching or ear gauging is done purposefully in most cases to be able to wear innovative types of ear jewelry. However, in some individuals it happens on its own if the person wears a lot of hanging jewelry repeatedly for a really long time. With ear gauging, the main concern is the possibility of infection, which must be prevented.

Side Effects of Ear Gauging

If you are planning to start with the process of ear gauging and stretching the ear lobes with it, then it is important for you to know all the side effects of ear gauging beforehand.

  • Infection – One of the major side effects of ear gauging is that of infection. Whether it is your first ear gauging or an increase in the size of the ear lobe stretching, there is always a risk of the ear getting infected. With frequent stretching, the skin tissues on the ear lobes fail to heal normally resulting in an infection. Moreover, if you are increasing the size of your ear lobes and insert unclean ear plugs into the already pierced ear, then the chances of bacteria entering the fresh wounds are very high thereby complicating the problem even more.
  • Pain and Scar Formation – Along with infection, one of the other major side effects of ear gauging is that of scar formation and immense pain in the ears, which remains for days and even months after the gauging is carried out.
  • Increased Hole Size – As the process of ear gauging is permanent, the pierced hole remains big in size even after the gauge is removed. The ears are unable to regain their original form ever again.
  • Overstretching of ear lobes – If the gauge carries more weight than expected, then the ear lobes might get overstretched and get pulled downwards. Such ear lobes find it almost impossible to return to their original size later on, even if the person ever wishes to. This too is a common side effect of ear gauging. In some cases, if the ear lobe is stretched to a large extent it might also tear down completely and cannot be healed any more. Surgical intervention will be the only resort to stitch the torn ear lobe and repair it.

Preventing Infection in Gauged Ears

Ear gauging is a gradual process and the size of expander should be increased very slowly for best results. For preventing infection in gauged ears and other related side effects, it is advisable to keep a long gap between switching from one size of expander to another and so on.

Here are some simple and useful tips on preventing infection in gauged ears and also speeding up the healing process.

  • Once the process of ear gauging is complete, keeping the ear clean and hygienic at all times is very important to prevent infection in gauged ears. Use an antibacterial soap every day to clean the ears when taking a shower. Remove the jewelry slowly and use soap and water to clean the ear. Clean the pierced ear lobe and the jewelry piece as well. Dry the ear, the piercing site and jewelry thoroughly before wearing it again.
  • Do not change the jewelry piece very frequently and when you do so, make sure that your hands are clean and disinfected. Also, always clean your hands with an antibacterial soap before touching the jewelry at any point of time to prevent infection in gauged ears.
  • Clean the opened jewelry piece by rubbing alcohol as it helps eliminate all the dead skin cells and bacteria present in and around it.
  • Avoid wearing hats or tight caps and dirty clothes to prevent infection in gauged ears. The dirt and germs from these clothing items can get latched onto your ears and the pierced jewelry causing infection.
  • Stay away from sauna baths, steam baths and swimming pool for at least 2 to 3 months for preventing infection in gauged ears. The water in these areas is not very pure and can easily cause infection in the ear piercing.
  • Sea salt water is quite well known for its natural antibacterial properties and works as a great ingredient for preventing any kind of skin infection. For preventing infection in gauged ears, prepare a solution of 1 cup water mixed with a tablespoon of sea salt. For preventing infection in gauged ears, you can wash the gauged ear lobe with this solution twice every day; it also helps to heal the ear.
  • Ear gauging, no doubt is a relatively new fashion statement and is being owned by many individuals, but it is very important to understand that there are certain serious side effects associated with the same which can be irreparable in the long run. Also, as ear gauging is extremely prone to infections, scar formation and immense pain, preventing infection in gauged ear is essential.


  1. “Ear Stretching (Ear Gauging)” – Association of Professional Piercers Source: https://www.safepiercing.org/learn/piercing/ear-stretching/
  2. “Ear Stretching Guide: How to Stretch Your Ears Safely” – Painful Pleasures Source: https://www.painfulpleasures.com/infopages/ear-stretching-guide
  3. “Body Piercing and Stretching: What You Should Know” – Mayo Clinic Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/body-piercing/faq-20078263
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 9, 2023

Recent Posts

Related Posts