How to Stretch Your Piercing
(Without having terrible things happen)
You are about to embark on an incredible journey. Stretching a piercing is a practice that goes back thousands of years. The oldest mummified remains ever found, “Otzi” the caveman, had stretched lobes. Jewelry has been found in graves from the very first civilizations. It’s a practice that goes back so far that it may be as old as we are.
And since the Neanderthals were known to wear jewelry as well, we might not even be the first humans to do it. Just think about that for a moment. Stretching lobes might be older than us.
That having been said, this is a guide on how to stretch your ears, not the history of it (That’s another blog). So step one is to make sure you have pierced ears. You do have pierced ears, yes? Also, you’ll want your ears to be healed, at least five months old (The piercing, not you. If you are five months old, you are too young to stretch).
All set? Good.
Right, so we want to be careful and always listen to our body and above all, be patient. Stretching is a process, it takes time. You might feel some discomfort, a bit of a burning sensation, but you shouldn’t feel much pain, and definitely shouldn’t bleed. If that kind of thing happens, stop.
Step three is to get the right jewelry and tools. In the old days, folks used pens, paintbrush handles, whatever was handy. But these aren’t the old days anymore and you shouldn’t use those things. The best thing to use is something like this along with something like this (Or this). For an economy option, try something like this.
Note that the plugs have no flare, and they’re made of steel. Titanium or glass will work as well, and if you want to you can use a single flare plug, but not a double flare. The flare will basically stretch you farther than the taper and can lead to problems (See step two).
So you have your taper (the pointy thing) and you have your jewelry (steel, titanium or glass) and we are ready for Step Four:
Get wet. Take a shower. Or take a warm wet cloth and soak the piercing for a few minutes to ease up the tissue and help with the stretch. You should wash your hands, have some jojoba oil or vitamin e handy for lubricant.
Step Five. Apply some of your lube to the taper, particularly the pointy end, and go about halfway up. Don’t use so much oil that the taper is hard to hang on to. Place the pointy end of the taper into your piercing and begin to insert it. Give it a little twist before you get too far to spread the lubricant around a bit. Push the taper in until you feel resistance and check yourself.
Is the taper more than halfway through? If so, you’re probably all set. Continue to slowly push until you’re at the level end of the taper. Line up your jewelry with the end of the taper (The gauge should be the exact same) and slide the rest of the way. You should now have a plug in your ear and the taper out the back.
Congratulations! Your stretch is done. Unless it started to hurt too bad, you felt a lot of resistance and had to stop, with a taper only partway in. In which case go ahead and take the taper out and put your old jewelry back in. You’ll have to wait a few weeks and give it another shot.
If you stretched one lobe already, that’s okay too. Lots of people have one lobe that’s tighter than the other. Remember, we’re being patient (See Step Two)
Step Six. A stretched piercing is a new piercing. You should treat it exactly like you would a new piercing until it is fully healed. If you’re wanting to go up to a larger gauge, you’ll need to wait a bit.
Step Seven. So, you want to get bigger? Here’s a handy dandy chart on how long you should wait between stretches at different gauges. It’s a guideline. If this chart and your lobes disagree, side with your lobes and give them some more rest.
Before your first stretch: Approximately 5 to 6 months
16g to 14g – 1 month
14g to 12g – 1 month
12g to 10g – 1.5 months
10g to 8g – 2 months
8g to 6g – 3 months
6g to 4g – 3 month
4g to 2g – 3 months
2g to 0g – 4 months
0g to 00g – 4 months
Another method that can be used for stretching, particularly into larger gauges (Say, larger than 4g) is called Taping, and you can order bondage tape here. Wrapping a layer of tape around a plug can slightly and slowly increase the size of a piercing. Add another layer of tape every few days for a while and before you know it you’re bigger.
The Point of No Return
Oh, yeah. We need to talk about this. If you want to shrink your lobes back down to normal someday, you’ll have to take your plugs out and let them shrink up. You can do this just to go down a size as well. The common consensus is that 2g is the largest you can go and still shrink back to normal. Everyone is different, but that’s as close as you’ll get to a hard and fast number.
Bigger than 2g and you’ll likely need a plastic surgeon to sew your ears up. So remember, you’re making a pretty permanent choice.
Questions about this blog? Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This blog entry owes a huge debt to the original OG article on ear stretching by Bodyartforms founder Amanda Bunch. You can read the original on our awesome forums right here.