So, I stretched to a 4g two nights ago, using acrylic pinchers. Pinchers are all I have used since a 12 or 14, and I've never had any problems with them. 2 weeks prior was when I made my 6g stretch. It hurt like hell but I had no issues with the healing process. I understand 2 weeks is not a great gap between, but I looked at my ears and inspected them beforehand. This is the first stretch I ever did that wasn't in the car after purchasing new jewelry. I used a hot cloth to massage my lobes, then antibacterial soap, which I also lubed up the pinchers with. Starting with my left ear, I massaged my lobe while circularly working in the taper, and once I thought I had it I realized I didn't. I then repeated the cloth/soap process and tried again, this time working it in. I then repeated everything on my right ear, with the first attempt being a success. I experience the usual (for me) burning/stinging for the next hour or two, and went to bed. Since then, they haven't been sore except to the touch, but last night I remember discomfort when trying to sleep (I sleep on my left side, but am careful at least while conscious to elevate my new stretches) last night, and upon waking up this morning I found my left earlobe swollen, hard to the touch, and my piercing was crusty on the front and the back. I used a q-tip to remove the crusties, then put peroxide on the front (then read somewhere this is bad so I swabbed it off as best I could) and then I came downstairs and did a salt soak. It wasn't sea salt, but I saw table salt can be substituted so that's what I did.
Basically I'm really concerned, I've NEVER had a problem with my ears before and it's freaking me out. Note, I understand my fault with the 2 week waiting period, but my right ear has no issues so I don't think that's the main reason. I don't know what caused it completely, but I'm looking for some guidance as to what I should do. I plan to continue the salt soaks everyday, but is there anything else I should do? I really don't want to downsize yet, and also given that I can't move the jewelry because it's still trying to heal around it. If you've had a similar experience please share what you did about all this. Thanks!
*Symptoms- Swollen, hard earlobe, crust, noted some blood in the crust.