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Beginner's Guide to Stretching Earlobes

Updated on December 27, 2009

If you are considering stretching (or gauging) your ears, there are a couple things to know so you don't damage your ears, and more importantly don't sound stupid. I went around asking for 2g plugs before wising up and realized it was notation for 2 gauge.

First, choose what size you're going to stretch until.
Earrings, plugs, and tapers are expensive. You don't want to buy a $50 pair of earrings only to decide you're going to stretch your ears more. Most conventional piercings are 18-20g. From there, the numbers decrease. The bigger the hole/earring, the smaller the number. The sizes jump from even numbers, so after 18g, it's 16g, 14g, 12g, 10g...0g, 00g. After 00g, most sellers tend to measure in inches, but it really varies for each seller. There are dozens of plug size converters online, so don't stress over it too much.

Familiarize yourself with the earrings.
You use tapers to stretch your ears, and they either come in a cylindrical shape, or a round "U" shape where it's thickest at the bottom of the U. They call these "pincers".  This is so you can stretch your ears a little at a time. Of course, some people stretch their ears with the help of professionals at piercing shops, but that can get pricey. DO NOT try to stretch your ears with wooden earrings. They are porous, and are harsher on the ears when they are trying to heal. Believe me, I've done it! It's 100% possible, but if you can spare the extra dollar, go for either glass or acrylic tapers. After you've reached your goal size, wear any material earring you like! Earrings for stretched ears come in all shapes, sizes and materials. Metal, glass, acrylic, wood, bone, horn, you name it, someone's probably got it!

Stretch your ears!
When it comes time to stretch them, the main principle is patience. Don't skip a size, and don't feel the need to reach the end of the taper each time you stretch. Buddha himself was said to have stretched ears, to practice patience. Many say to allow three weeks between each stretching, but go at your own pace as long as you know your ears are healed completely each time. Everyone has different methods. If you have ear solution from claire's, use it! If you don't, some recommend cleaning your ears with dial soap, but I just used a little bit of neosporin. It cleans the ears as well as lubricating them for easy earring insertion. However, when I tried stretching my ears with wooden earrings, neosporin was not my friend. It left a residue because it absorbed into the wood rather than into my ears. Just like a fresh piercing, twist the earrings around in your ears so your earlobes don't heal around the earring and attach to them. (gross, I know!) This hurts more, but if you have a taper in, pull it out a little, and then push it back in. This just reassures that your earlobes won't grow around the earring.

Buying earrings
As mentioned earlier, earrings are very spendy. If you want to save money, don't be hesitant to look for tapers on eBay! eBay sellers conveniently package together sets of tapers so you don't have to spend $12-16 on each pair at Hot Topic, Spencer's or piercing shops. In fact, you can get from a 16g to a 0g with all of the increments in between for slightly more than $20! Most of the sellers sell new earrings, but its never bad to double check. Best of wishes to you, and remember, stretching your ears is a test of patience. Not a race.

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