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Stretching an earlobe for a plug takes time and patience. The bigger the hole your are stretching, the longer it will take to be complete.

Piercing. It's not just for ears! Those into the practice of puncturing body parts to insert jewelry now call it body art rather than its more ancient nomenclature. Yes, piercing has been done for eons. The oldest earrings found date to about 2,500 B.C. And though the Kama Sutra mentions genital piercings, the most common pierced body parts throughout the centuries have been ears, belly buttons and noses. Even plugs, which involves stretching holes large enough to insert discs, have been done for centuries, especially amongst tribes in Africa and South America. Plugs have become popular in the United States in recent years, mostly in ear lobes. If you're thinking about getting something pierced or stretched, check out these six things you might not know about modern body art.

1. The standard piercing needle is probably the oldest and easiest ways to be pierced. The artist can use a variety of sizes, lengths and thicknesses to accomplish the goal or to suit the particular piece of jewelry. How that needle is stuck in varies, however, from guns to knives. 2. The cannula method uses a long piece of narrow tube with the jewelry piece inserted in one end of it. The artist pushes the tube — with the jewelry — through the opening.

3. Plugs require stretching, which takes time. After the initial piercing, the area is slowly stretched out, making the hole larger each time. Often, an insertion taper is used to stretch the skin to the desired size.

4. When considering a larger piece of jewelry, you might want to look into the scalpel method of piercing. Considered a minor surgical procedure, the scalpel method creates larger openings for ornaments much bigger than the common stud or earring.

5. After-care is essential for a successful body piercing. Always wash your hands before touching the piercing or pierced area. Avoid cleaning with alcohol, hydrogen peroxide or harsh soaps because these can eat away at the skin as it heals. Use antibacterial soap instead. During the healing process, avoid any kind of rough play or similar activities that could harm the area.

6. Don’t forget to tell your physician or dentist about your new body art. Before you have a medical or dental procedure such as an X-ray, MRI, CAT Scan or something similar, doctors need to be aware of any metal or wounds on your body. You'll be much safer (and not sorry) if you keep your health-care providers up to speed.

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