Accidents happen, and so do emergencies. What do we do when something is wrong with our piercing, at 3am, and there’s no piercers we can contact for help? How do we know what’s the best thing we can do for our piercing, and how to keep things safe? This is the Emergency Series, where I’m hoping to cover common accidents and piercing emergencies with some basic advice intended to help you make it till you can get in touch with your piercer.
Todays topic- Loosing a Plug
Sometimes this happens- despite our best efforts and our care, one of our plugs has fallen out of our ear and we can’t locate it. Somehow, this always seems to happen in the dead of night when there’s no piercer we could drive to or get to to help us out. We don’t want to loose size in our stretched lobes, and often many of us can’t get to a piercer for a day or two to get a replacement plug. What are we to do?
In these situations, it’s really easy to panic and become stressed, overwhelmed, and scared. Those are normal responses, but they also make it a lot harder for us to think rationally and make good choices. So please, take a few deep breaths. Sip some water. And try to calm down. It will be ok. This sort of thing happens to people all the time, and it is not the end of the world. In fact, I have lost more plugs than I care to admit over my 7 years of stretching my ears. You, and your lobes, will come out of this just fine!
Can you find the missing piece?
What to do in this situation highly depends on if you know where the missing piece of jewelry is. Often we can spot it in the area where we dropped it. Jewelry, particularly most plugs, is shiny, so using a flashlight or your phone flashlight to look around really helps. Take a peek under tables, shake out blankets, and look and listen for the missing piece.
If you are able to find it, you can pop it right back in. Some important tips for this-
Wash your hands before handling your piercing.
Clean the dropped piece with some warm water and mild soap. Dry it well, and use some lubrication to help reinsert it once you are able to.
I suggest massaging or gently oiling or lubricate your lobe, before reinserting the plug.
If you can’t find your plug
Unfortunately, the majority of the time this happens we are unable to find the plug. Maybe you lost it out on a walk, at work, or somewhere during your day and didn't realize it till now. Whatever the case, you are short one plug and there’s no chance of finding the missing one. How do we keep our ears from losing size until we can get a replacement piece?
Put in a size smaller
If you are currently stretching, it's likely you’ve been going up 1mm at a time over the course of many months (and if you aren’t, please consider learning about safe stretching here). This means you should have quite a few pairs in smaller sizes. If you do, go ahead and put in your last size down from your current one. I know it’s not ideal to be lopsided, but this will prevent you from losing any size till you can get a replacement pair. Since ideally, it would only be a plug 1mm down from your current set, you should be able to just pop a replacement in easily once you have it. This is also why I strongly encourage people to keep all of their smaller sizes. You never know if you may be faced with an emergency where you lose a plug or something breaks, and you need something to wear temporarily. Even if you’ve been at a goal size for years it’s not a bad idea to still keep pairs in your next few sizes down just in case of emergencies.
Alternate the Remaining Plug
Of course, as luck would have it many of us lose or break a plug while we are away from home, traveling, or for some reason don’t have access to our usual jewelry to put in a smaller size. If you don’t have another plug you can wear, taking the remaining one you have and swapping it between your ears every few hours should keep everything at size long enough for you to get a replacement. This is a temporary fix, and usually only works for 1-2 days. Beyond that, your lobes can become irritated from the constant change and friction, so if this is the case I would try to get to a studio for a replacement piece or see if you can order something and have it rushed to where you are. In a real pinch, most hot topics sell Kaos software, a safe brand of silicone, that you can purchase just to have something in until you get home to your piercer and your other jewelry.
If you do need to alternate between ears try to oil and massage the ears when you swap the plug to keep them loose and lubricated, and to allow the plug to slide in easier. I would pay attention to how long you go between swapping sizes. If you notice your ear feels tight or uncomfortable to get the plug in after a certain length of time, try swapping more often. Keeping your ears moisturized while doing this is important. Again this is just a short-term solution to prevent you from losing size until you can get a new set of plugs to wear. You should get to a piercer or get a new set of safe plugs ASAP.
I hope if you’ve found yourself in the not-so-great situation of losing your jewelry, this blog can help you keep calm and find a temporary solution to get you to a piercer and save your ears! Please after something like this occurs, even if you can get jewelry back in quickly, follow up with your piercer to ensure your lobe is still ok and healthy. The advice given in this blog does not replace one-on-one professional advice from your body piercer.