Stretching Your Ears
DO YOUR RESEARCH! If you’re going to stretch your piercing(s), then at least know what you’re doing and do it properly.
Stretching your piercings is a long process which can take up to a few years depending on how large you want to go. It should never be rushed. Always take your time, especially if you want to have thick beautiful lobes!
Before you begin the process of stretching, you’ll want to make sure that your piercing is fully healed and cleaned beforehand every time you stretch to a new size. You should wait at least 6 months after your piercing is healed before doing any stretching.
Below there are the different types of stretching methods listed. After you decide which method you’re going to use, always wash your hands, and make sure you lube the stretchers up (you can use vitamin e oil, jojoba oil, anti-microbial unscented mild soap, or KY Jelly). Stretching with tapers and the like should not hurt — if it does cause pain or bleeds, downsize immediately. There should be a waiting period of at least one month or more in between stretches to allow it to heal. The larger you go, the more time you should allow your piercing to heal in the waiting periods. Stretching too often and not waiting a month in between can cause some serious damage, such as blowouts, tears, and thinning.
For aftercare, you’ll want to do oil massages (vitamin e oil, jojoba oil, emu oil for 2-5 minutes per lobe) and saline soaks (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon sea-salt + 1 cup warm water 1-3x a day for 5-10 minutes). It’s also a good idea to take out your jewelry for a couple hours each day to allow them to breathe, that will promote circulation which helps maintain thick lobes.
Never skip sizes! Skipping sizes can cause tears and/or blowouts (which you may have to have surgery to repair), which also may lead to infection (which will also require you to go to the doctor if it becomes serious). It will save you money in the long run and will look much better if you don’t give yourself blowouts, so don’t rush it and don’t skip sizes.
Here are a few different methods of stretching:
- Tapering: The most common method of stretching. A taper is a long metal rod with one end having a slightly larger diameter than the other (shaped like a long spike). A pair of plugs, tunnels, or CBRs should be bought along with your tapers, as you will need them after using the tapers to stretch. These are meant to be used for expanding piercings in order to accommodate larger gauge ear rings or plugs. You should not wear tapers as jewelry, as that may cause an uneven stretch and “cat’s ass” ears. Put some lube (listed above) onto the taper and gently slide it into your ear lobe (this should not cause any pain or bleeding — if it does, take the taper back out and downsize) and then after you get it in all the way, take your jewelry and push it in after your taper (the jewelry should be the same size as the larger end of the taper), causing the taper to fall out the back. Note: Tapers have a higher chance of giving you blowouts. Click here to watch a video about tapers.
- Weights: Large, heavy jewelry or weighted objects used for stretching. This method is not widely used in modern-day, as it tends to cause piercings to migrate and can, especially in ears, lead to a thinning of tissue that is disfiguring or requires reconstructive surgery.
- Scalpelling: This method involves a professional only using a scalpel to cut the edge of the fistula, expanding its diameter.
- PTFE/Teflon/Plumber’s/Bondage tape: My personal favorite — The existing jewelry is removed and 1-2 layers of non-adhesive teflon/PTFE/bondage tape is wrapped around the jewelry and then replaced into the ear (repeat every 3-7+ days). This method takes longer, but is less likely to cause damage such as blowouts and is a good way of keeping your lobes thick. Note: Do NOT use electrical or scotch tape, the adhesive properties can be toxic to the body and may fuse to the skin. Click here to learn more.
- Dermal punch: Done by professionals only. A circular razor of the desired diameter is pressed against the skin of the area. The blade is then pushed down upon and twisted by the piercer to “punch” out a small disk of skin. The razor is then pulled out of the skin and the jewelry (usually a non- flared or single-flared Pyrex Glass plug) of the same size is inserted into the hole created by the razor. Click here to learn more.
Why does stretching take so long to do?
The reason why you should go slow and take your time is because if you rush it, you can cause damage, such as blow-outs, tears, infection, and not to mention if you mess your ears up, the more likely it is that they won’t shrink back down to a “regular” size if you ever decide to take them out. Click here to learn more.
- Never skip sizes
- Always use a lube
- It shouldn’t involve any pain
- If it does cause pain or bleeds, downsize immediately!
- Wait at least a couple of months in between each stretch, if not more
- The larger size you’re at, the longer the waiting periods should be
- Never rush it
- Do oil massages and saline soaks for aftercare
For more info, visit these websites/videos: