April 20th, 2023
Flare Size Matters
Our skin is really pretty cool. The uniqueness of it can be charming but also super frustrating. When it comes to wearing plugs and tunnels, your skin has the potential to limit what you can comfortably wear.
But first, lets go over basic plug anatomy...
The size of your plug is the diameter of the part that is worn in the piercing.
The flare(s) are larger than the size to keep your plugs in place. The flares are not worn "in" your ears and stick out the front/back. Usually the flare is between 1-2mm larger than your size. A double flare plug has flares on the front and back of the plugs. A single flare plug (as pictured above) has only 1 flare in the front and an o-ring sits on the back to hold it in place. A no flare plug has no flares at all and requires o-rings on the front and back.
Single and no flare plugs can have a small groove indention to help keep the o-rings in place. Double flare plugs do not have a groove.
The wearable area is the space between the flares/o-rings. Some people have thick lobes and need a larger wearable size and some people don't.
So why does this matter?
If you are lucky enough to have stretchy, flexible skin, it doesn't. You likely won't have any trouble stretching over the flares when putting in your plugs. Some of us have tight skin that is constantly trying to repair the stretch. Even with a well established stretched size, the ears can start shrinking within a couple days of not wearing plugs. This type of skin can really struggle to allow any "extra stretch" to get over a flare when putting in or taking out jewelry. This is where single flare plugs come in. There is no "extra stretch". Remove the back o-ring and the plug will perfectly slide in with no discomfort. Replace the o-ring and you're good to go. No flare plugs are essentially the same. The only reason to have 2 o-rings is for aesthetics. Some people just prefer the look.
Once you know how stretchy your skin is, you can look for the style that works for you. If putting in double flare plugs is only mildly uncomfortable, try using GaugeGear stretching balm to reduce friction.
If you're actively stretching up to the next size, we recommend our stretching glass or steel plugs as they are single flare without the o-ring groove for ultimate comfort. They also have larger wearable areas to accomodate any swelling you may have.