When a piercing is stretched too quickly (a rate which is different for everyone), the skin tunnel (fistula) can be forced out the back of the piercing by the pressure. The result is an unsightly "lip" around the edge. If stretching continues, this lip can grow dramatically. Two solutions are generally prescribed (although they don't always work):
- Downsizing the piercing (ie. putting in smaller jewelry) so that the deformed tissue can reabsorb into the body.
- Tying off the offending tissue and removing it. This is an effective but advanced procedure that can make things worse if attempted by someone without the necessary skills.
In addition to the visual unpleasantness, some people will find some discomfort in the form of tingling, or pins and needles. Minimize the chances of this happening by stretching slowly and listening to your body.
Whatever you do, do not stay at that size of jewelry! Immediately replace the jewelry with a smaller piece and allow the blowout to absorb back into the tissue. If you do not do this, the tissue will heal in its blown-out shape, and will become very difficult for you to repair in the future.
A reader asked us to add this method, which worked for them (but may not work for you),
- "I stretched my ears to 5/8", my right ear had a blowout. I left the plug in for a month or two. It didn't get any better, so I took the jewelry out. A month went by I still had a huge flap behind my ear.
- A plastic surgeon said he would inject my lobe with a steroid and it would soften it up. It cost $100.00 per injection and he said it might take two or three. If that didn't work, he would cut it off, either with a laser or a scalpel.
- I went home and thought about it, and the costs involved. Since I had two weeks before the treatment, I thought I'd try something else first. I'd heard extra virgin olive oil softens the tissues up, so I massaged it in really good, twice a day.
- I thought though, even with the tissues soft, how are they going to straighten out? I went to the hardware store, and bought a nylon 1/2" spacer (1/2" x 1" nylon tube) then I got two 1" nylon spacers (1" washers with 1/2" holes in the center about 1/4" thick) and two 1/2" o-rings. I used nylon because it wasn't heavy. I put the 1/2" tube through the hole in my earlobe, just like a plug, then a washer on each side of the ear lobe, and an o-ring on each side of that to hold it tightly together.
- The results were amazing: in less than a week, only wearing it 12 hours a day, my ear is almost completely healed no more flap. I'll be canceling my appointment too. The oil and the pressure really works, and only cost me a dollar or two. Please pass this on to others, it really works, I'm proof of it."