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How to Stretch Your Ears

Updated on February 8, 2011
A healthy stretch
A healthy stretch

Stretching Your Ears- The First Steps

Stretching your ears is a body modification that should be researched completely before even attempting. You should make sure you know the proper and safe way to achieve a healthy stretched lobe. In this article I will cover how to stretch your ears, and the consequences of not stretching properly.

Step One: Getting Started.

If you haven't pierced your ears already you should visit your local piercing shop and get normal, 20g to 18g, piercings. If you have already pierced your ears, you need to figure out what size gauge you currently have. You never want to skip a size! Below you will see a table of gauge sizes with their nearest size in inches and millimeters.

(Note: If you are just getting your ears pierced you should wait until your ears are fully healed before you begin stretching. This could take anywhere from 4 - 6 months.)

Step Two: What you will need.

Assuming you have figured out what gauge you are currently at you are ready to purchase the next gauge size up. When you arrive at the store you will see lots of different gauges made out of numerous materials, be sure to stay away from silicone and wood. You want to use non-porous materials when stretching to ensure that ( in case you get a blow-out ) your skin and jewelry will not fuse together. When you first start stretching the most common method ( and what I would advise) is tapering. Buy a taper in the same size as your jewelry -- long, steel tapers are preferred, but any taper is better than none. You only need one taper to stretch multiple piercings, and you shouldn't wear your taper as jewelry.

Step Three: Begin Stretching!

So you've gone to the store to purchase your jewelry and tapers, now you are ready to start stretching. The best time to stretch is right after a hot shower. This is when your skin is the most elastic. When you get out of the shower you should massage your ear with a non- oil based lubricant. Take your taper (small end first) and begin to push through one ear. There should be no pain, if you are experiencing pain you should stop and give your ears more time to heal. You will experience some discomfort and resistance.

Stretching after a 00 gauge:

After you have stretched up to a 00 gauge it is time to start the next method of stretching. Using a taper bigger than a 00 gauge is not something I would recommend, the reason being that it will not give you an even stretch. Another method of stretching is, taping. Always use PTFE tape as it is the safest kind. You should wrap the plug you are currently using with one layer of tape every 2-3 weeks. It is a slow process but it is definitely worth it if you plan to stretch to a large size. You should continue to wrap the plug until you are able to put in the next size plug.

Step Four: Aftercare

Aftercare after a fresh stretch should be minimal. If you stretch properly, there should be no tears or damage to your skin, so there is no need to treat your stretches as if they were fresh piercings. Regular oil massages can be helpful to stimulate blood flow in the earlobes and promote healing. Leave your ears mostly alone for the first few days after a stretch, and resume oil massaging after jewelry can be removed easily and doesn't feel overly tight. You shouldn't perform any oil massages on broken skin this will only irritate your skin.




Fresh Blow-Out
Fresh Blow-Out
Healed Blow-Out
Healed Blow-Out
A Teared Lobe
A Teared Lobe

Problems you may run into

Below I have explained some complications you need to be aware of, and try at all costs to avoid to have healthy stretched lobes.

Blow-Outs: You need to be sure when you are stretching that your ear has fully healed before you try to go to the next size up. Stretching to quickly can cause a lot of damage to your ear such as, a blow-out. A blow out is when your skin gets pushed out through the back of the piercing causing an extra "lip". ( see image below) If this happens to you be sure to remove the jewelry and down size. Hopefully the tissue is re-absorbed.

Tearing: This can also happen when you stretch to quickly or unevenly. This is one thing you do not want to run into because this will not heal on it's own. If you want to repair your ear you will have to see a Plastic Surgeon and have them surgically fix your damaged lobe.

Infections:

Can result from an uncleaned piercing. Be sure to take care of your ears properly.





Consider This:


Will They Shrink Back?

It is said that after going past a 0 gauge there is no turning back, but everyone is different. Before you begin stretching you should know that there may be the chance that you will never see your normal ear lobe again. Be sure that this is something you want to do.

Work Environments:

You should consider the type of career you want to pursue. In some cases people who have stretched ears have had a harder time landing a job than people without stretched ears.



TIPS:

  • Moisturize!
  • Give your ears time to "breathe" This means removing the plug for an extended period of time. I usually sleep without mine in ( this is of course if you have been at the same gauge size for quite some time).
  • Acrylics, silicone, and double flared plugs are not appropriate for fresh stretches.
  • Be sure to give your ears enough time to heal before stretching to the next size. Remember the pictures of teared/ blown-out lobes, you do not want your ears to look like that!

Comments

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    • profile image

      vadervalentine 14 months ago

      Tapers should not be left in your ear for prolonged amounts of time. You should line the taper up with the plug. Don't skip sizes going from a 6 to a 0 in one stretch is not smart and will most likely cause a blow out.

    • profile image

      Vince rea 3 years ago

      The healing and even the stretching process depends completely on the stretcher. Last year, I stretched my ears to 3/4" in about three months, after letting them heal back to about an 8g, I started re-stretching again, after about two or three months work I have fairly healthy one inch lobes, and in actuality, I stretched from 5/8" to an inch in two weeks. The biggest message I can give is just go by what your body tells you. If you see something that looks like pus on your plugs right after you stretch, you probably overdid yourself, and stay stretched everybody \m/

    • profile image

      Joe 3 years ago

      Damn,Iv been using tapers since iv started. all the way from 6g to a 1inch. Maybe tape was the way to go.

    • profile image

      Tay 3 years ago

      I just put my 00 in I am not sure if I'll size up, and thanks a lot this really helps :)

    • profile image

      damage 3 years ago

      what is the next size after 00?

    • profile image

      Wen 3 years ago

      I took me a year to get to a 7/8. I used silicone to stretch and usually skipped a size now and then. Just remember everyone is different and it should never hurt!

    • stylegal profile image

      stylegal 4 years ago

      It scares the breath outta me but on some people it rocks. I can't wait for 50 years from now when we see older people with it. I reckon that'll be the point when it gets easier for younger people doing this who find job interviews tough. Fingers crossed. Just because they have a different way of expressing themselves, I don't think it's detrimental to their ability.

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      Negab Rehab 5 years ago

      Hey. my friends don't consider this as they have failed many times. at school my friendsear started bleeding all over the table. kind of freaked me out. but if you do it right. it'll be ok....i think

    • profile image

      Timothyy 5 years ago

      Sharebearz, I usually keep my tapers in for like a week or two at the most. Then I put my plugs in. (: It should heal up fast doing it that way, beings if you keep it clean and all.

    • profile image

      sharebearz 5 years ago

      my friend wants me to help her stretch her ears but she isn't sure of how long she needs to keep the tapers in for... and how long to let her ears breathe... any advice?

    • profile image

      Moses 5 years ago

      I meant i pierced my right on 4/24***....Thanks*

    • profile image

      Moses 5 years ago

      Some peoples lobs can take it...I have a 00 in my left and pierced my left on 4/24 with a regular 20,On 4/26 i went from a 20 to a 6 using an acrylic taper...There was some blood,Some pain but its doing well so far,Its 4/30. I read this because im thinking about going from a 6 to a 0 using an acrylic taper...Its not healed yet but i want to get it to my left. The biggest gauge i have ever seen in actual person is 2 3/4. My brother was at 1 inch and he took them out...They look like a 0 hole. That's for posting this.

    • profile image

      Romeo 5 years ago

      Hey,

      Thanks for writing this article - its a nice fyi/read. I wanted to ask about stretching with a taper that over 00. You mentioned that, and advise it as well using tapers over that size can cause an uneven stretch. Have u had any experiences with it, I mean is there actual proof that this could really happen? I am really interested as i saw a taper that's 7/8 and wanted to stretch my ears as tape is just getting boring! Also, using a taper normally would be front to back but I've heard a lot of back to front evening out some blowouts. I don't know if that is possible at all, but maybe you would know. Thank you for any help or suggestions you may have regarding this. Thanks!

    • profile image

      pimp_with a limp 5 years ago

      im just putting this out there that i think its superfical to dicriminate aginst people who have strecthed ear when it comes to getting a job, i understand there point of view but i honstley don't see how it affects anything, it dosent make them any less productive or incompatable for the job, personaly i think gauges should be incourraged , but that's just one pimps oppinion

    • profile image

      heyo 6 years ago

      heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyoooooooooooooooo

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      fashion 6 years ago

      Dreadful Hub...It looks painful and a lot scarier.I cant do such horrible things.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      This has become so popular with young guys here in NYC - usually the art college students! You have covered this so very well - and a reminder not to rush!

      Rated up.

    • sweetie1 profile image

      sweetie1 6 years ago from India

      hi stey true,

      i didn't know you can strech ears so big..looks nice though not for me.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      That would be a great idea. It reminds me of that culture where the women stretch their neck by adding rings. There are so many ways to adorn the human body!

    • stey_true profile image
      Author

      stey_true 6 years ago from Maine

      I think I need to add some pictures of a healthy stretched lobe, haha. It is a very long process it took my boyfriend 3 years to get to an 1"5/8's.

      I think I showed the scary side of stretching your ears, but if you do it correctly there is no pain and it's not so scary. Thank you for the comment! I need to add more to this Hub!

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Looks painful and a lot scarier than regular ear piercing. I would hate to have my lob torn. I also did not know this was a process and that you had to stretch the ear.