Category Archives: How To Stretch Piercings

Acrylic ear stretchers are a cheap, comfortable and easy way to stretch your ears. Acrylic is a high quality plastic that is very light, durable and affordable. I have found acrylic ear stretchers to be very comfortable to use and you can even wear them as jewellery after you have stretched your ears. The main advantage of acrylic ear stretchers is how lightweight they are. Heavy stretchers can pull on your piercings but with acrylic, you’ll hardly feel them at all. This puts less stress on the piercing and gives it a better chance of healing quickly. It also makes them comfortable to wear while your ear is healing – even at night.

There are 3 main shapes of ear stretchers: spiral, crescent and straight. They are all used in the same way but some people find different shapes more comfortable. You can also choose the one you think looks best. At Body Jewellery Shop we have a great choice of acrylic ear stretchers in different colours, sizes and shapes.

Darkside Spiral Ear Stretcher

Darkside Spiral Ear Stretcher

Darkside Crescent Ear Stretcher

Darkside Crescent Ear Stretcher

Straight Purple Ear Stretcher

Straight Purple Ear Stretcher




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Green UV Stretching Taper

If you want to make a statement while you stretching your ears, take a look at out range of UV stretching tapers. UV tapers glow brightly under UV light or black light, so they are a great option for clubbers or any one who loves bright colours. Most UV stretching tapers are made from UV-reactive acrylic. Not all acrylic is UV reactive, so it is worth checking before you purchase your tapers. UV-reactive acrylic is a lightweight, cheap and comfortable material for stretching. Most people find it very comfortable and some even continue wearing their tapers after they are done stretching.



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Stretching your body piercing can be done in many different ways, but the most common approach is with the use of body piercing tapers. Piercing tapers are used to make the process of stretching piercings very easy, quick and accurate. 

What is a Body Piercing Taper?

Body piercing tapers are also known as insertion pins, stretching tapers, piercing expanders, stretching nails and stretching needles. The reason for the name is the construction of the taper; usually a straight or slightly curved bar that tapers from one end to the other, allowing a body piercing to be enlarged smoothly and progressively. 

UV Body Piercing Taper

UV Body Piercing Taper

Advantages of a Piercing Taper 

The greatest advantage of a body piercing taper is the practical and functional use of the taper, both as a stretching tool and stretching jewellery! Once you have used the taper to stretch your body piercing, the taper can be left in your piercing for day-to-day wear. Continue reading

The key to stretching your septum piercing is time and patience. Your body tissues need time between each stretching stage to adjust, heal and grow new cells. For large gauge septum piercings, many choose to wear flesh tunnels and flesh plugs as they don’t weigh the tissue down, which is helpful in the healing process. This also allows for the piercing to not be damaged by the sudden movement of the body jewellery, whilst being hidden discreetly for everyday wear.

 

Stretching your septum piercing will be the same stretching process that is involved for any other piercing, taking care to stretch only as far as it is comfortable without tearing or damaging your septum tissue.

Steel Stretching Crescent Kit 1.6mm - 5mm

This piercing stretching crescent kit consists of 6 stretching crescents, from 1.6mm to 5mm. This is one of our most popular piercing stretching kits as it contains everything you need to get you started up to 5mm. The crescents can be used to ease your septum piercing up to a higher gauge and can then be left in as jewellery until you are ready to make your next stretch! Continue reading

How do I care for my healing stretched piercing?

A fresh stretch will be tender and may swell for the first few days, so you may decide to use a cold compress if this makes you feel more comfortable.

You can follow a daily salt solution soak while your stretch is healing, to keep the area clean and free of any debris (dead skin cells will build up if you do not clean your piercings regularly). If you are making your own salt solution, it is recommended you use Sea Salt and (either bottled, still water or) boiled water (cooled down) with about ¼ teaspoon of salt to 8oz (250ml or 1 cup) of water. Too much salt will dry your piercing out and cause irritation. A good reference to go by is to keep the salt solution no stronger than the taste of your tears!

We highly recommend our very own Body Jewellery Shop Saline Solution for quick and easy use, anywhere and anytime! Only £2.99!

What materials are best for stretching my piercings?

The best materials to use for a fresh stretch are Surgical Steel, Titanium (including Blackline and Zircon Gold) or Glass. These materials are non-porous (such as acrylic and wood). Porous materials are not recommended for use until your stretch is fully healed to prevent any skin reactions with your bodily fluids throughout the healing process.

How do I take care of a fully healed stretched piercing?

Once you have reached a stage at which you are happy to stop at, you will have the opportunity to shop around for a wonderful selection of Flesh Plugs and Tunnels to wear in your new modification! You will also be able to choose from a variety of double-flared jewellery (where the outer lip is larger than the size of your stretch, keeping the jewellery securely in place without any o-rings or screw-tops). To wear double flared jewellery, your stretch must have the chance to heal for several months whilst your skin will settle and gradually loosen up to allow for the larger flare to slide through without causing damage.

Visit the BodyJewelleryShop Gallery to view more piercing photos!

You will notice that over a longer period of time, you will be able to comfortably take your jewellery out for several hours each day without the hole reducing in size. There are many benefits to this, as your piercing will be given the chance to breathe and relax (encouraging good blood flow, oxygen, nutrients and removing any stress from the jewellery you wear each day). Some people are eventually able to remove their jewellery for a day or night, usually at larger gauges (over 12mm) as the skin has lost enough elasticity not to close up within this period of time.

If you have trouble getting your jewellery back into your stretch after leaving it out, there is no need to worry! Just use a hot compress for 5-10 minutes and use some lubrication to insert the jewellery back in again. Your stretch should ease up again in no time.

Make sure to clean your jewellery and piercings regularly, at least once a day (more so in hotter conditions and summer months). This will prevent any build up of dead skin cells, which eventually begin to smell if left to linger!

Try to moisturize your stretched piercing regularly, having a good routine (such as after every shower) will keep your piercings healthy and supple. Vitamin-E oil is a popular choice, as well as Savlon, E45 and Nivea (do not use scented oils and moisturizers as they could cause irritation).

How do I stretch my piercing?

Piercing stretching is a very individual process that differs from person to person. It is also very common for one earlobe piercing to be easier to stretch than the other! For this reason, it is of utmost importance that you listen to your own body, make sensible judgement and stretch as works for you. The main factor to consider is the speed at which you stretch your piercing as well as how long to wait in between each step. This will ultimately have an effect on the health of your piercing and also prevents any damage or blowouts throughout the whole process.

Only ever begin stretching a new piercing 3-4 weeks after it has fully healed. Your tissues must be given a few weeks to settle down and loosen up naturally before the very first stretch is made.
Before starting the stretching process, have a read through the following tips and precautions to help you along the way:

Tips

  • Stretching your piercing after a hot shower with the use of a lubricant will make the process easier as your skin will soften up in the heat and moisture.
  • Each stretch must be a gradual process in itself; waiting at least 3-4 weeks in between each stretch is recommended. This will vary from person to person depending on your anatomy.
  • The larger the stretched piercing, the longer you should wait before taking the next step. Your skin will get thinner with each stretch, so giving it more time to heal and toughen up will ultimately result in a much stronger, healthier earlobe.
  • Use stretching jewellery and tapers designed for body piercings only, as the materials are specifically designed for the purpose. Homemade materials are not recommended as they may be porous, harbour bacteria and could ultimately cause infection or allergic reaction.
  • Gently tugging on and playing with your jewellery will help to loosen your stretched piercing quicker. Using a heavier material to wear in your new stretch will also have this effect, such as Surgical Steel or Glass, both are heavier than Titanium.
  • If you are using Saline Solution to clean your stretched piercing, ensure you do not use too much salt (BodyJewelleryShop Saline Solution is highly recommended) as the incorrect ratio of salt to water could dry the skin and cause irritation or cracking.

Precautions

  • Stretching your piercing too fast may cause damage. Skipping sizes may result in tearing of the skin, which will require immediate downsizing and a regular aftercare routine as you would a new piercing. Change the jewellery to a smaller size and clean twice daily with saline solution until fully healed before commencing the stretching process.
  • Blowouts are caused by forcing a stretch too fast, or stretching prematurely. A blowout is caused when the inner layer of skin you are stretching (fistula) is torn and forced through the back of the piercing. If you do not downsize immediately, this layer of skin may produce scar tissue that will permanently grow on the outside of your stretched piercing.

Can I downsize my stretched piercing?

If you wish to downsize your stretched piercing at a later date, pay attention to how your body stretches and your skin elasticity to have a good idea of the size you should stop stretching at. This will be different for each person; some will prefer to stay in the ‘safe zone’, stretching no larger than 6-8mm. Others have reported stretching up to and down from much larger sizes, such as 14mm-20mm! Stretching slowly, having a good diet and a healthy, sensible stretching method will help to retain your skin’s elasticity.

Now that you are ready to stretch…
Tools you will need

  1. Body Jewellery (such as Ball Closure Rings, Crescents, Flesh Plugs or Flesh Tapers) in every consecutive size you wish to stretch up to.
  2. Stretching Tapers in every consecutive size you wish to stretch up to, unless you wish to use flesh tapers designed as wearable jewellery, such as UV Stretching Tapers.
  3. Lubricant, such as Vitamin E Oil, Emu Oil, Jojoba Oil, Savlon Cream or KY Jelly.

These Surgical Steel Tapered Insertion Pins are amongst the most popular stretching tools on the market today!

The order of sizes which you will need to stretch (from 1mm – 10mm) each time are as follows:

1mm (18 gauge)
1.2mm (16 gauge)
1.6mm (14 gauge)
2mm (12 gauge)
2.4mm (10 gauge)
3.2mm (8 gauge)
4mm (6 gauge)
5mm (4 gauge)
6mm (2 gauge)
(7mm normally recommended, if possible, before the next gauge)
8mm (0 gauge)
10mm (00 gauge)

Larger gauges above 10mm will be slightly easier to stretch as your skin will gradually lose elasticity (although this is nothing to worry about, but it does mean that larger gauges past 8mm will be harder to ‘downsize’ in the future).

The best option to stretch your piercing is to do this with a Surgical Steel Tapered Insertion Pin, along with matching size jewellery (such as a Ball Closure Ring).

Once you have decided on the jewellery you will be using, use some lubrication on the tapered insertion pin and slide it into your piercing. Massage the area with your free hand to ease the taper through if necessary. When the taper has reached the end, rest your jewellery into the groove of the pin and push it through in one fluid motion.

This process will cause slight discomfort from the pressure; however, it should not bleed or cause a lot of pain.

If using jewellery to stretch your piercing, such as Stretching Crescents or Claws, Crescents and Spirals, the same process will be used with lubrication and insertion of the jewellery gradually. Once the jewellery is in place, you will need to secure it in place with o-rings to keep the jewellery from sliding out of the fresh stretch.

This Surgical Steel Crescent Kit is one of our most popular stretching to start your stretching experience!

What is a stretched piercing?

Piercing Stretching (often incorrectly referred to as ‘gauging’) is the process of enlarging body piercings to fit larger sizes (or gauges) of jewellery. The most commonly stretched piercing is the earlobe, closely followed by genital (male or female), septum, tongue, nipple, labret and lip piercings. All piercings can be stretched, although some are more limited than others, such as cartilage (inner and outer Conch, Pinna, Daith, Snug, Rook, Nostril and Tragus) piercings. Cartilage tissue does not have a very good blood supply compared to other piercings, therefore stretching is a much longer process and may risk forming hypertrophic scarring and keloids.

What is the history of piercing stretching and why do people stretch their piercings?

The process of body piercing stretching is considered to be as old as body piercing itself. Body modification is certainly unique to humans and, in one form or another, has been practised for as long as 30,000 years by our species’ earliest ancestors.
The discovery of jewellery dating back to the bronze ages in Europe and the British Isles shows that the peoples of that time probably pierced and stretched their lobes with heavy bronze jewellery.

The women of Borneo (and central Africa) practised piercing and stretching of the labia in an effort to attract a suitable husband. Tribes of Mali and Ethiopia often stretched piercings to embrace religious principles. Aztec and Mayan ancients used labret piercings to signify wealth with gold serpent-shaped discs often decorated with stones, jade or obsidian. The Asmat tribe of the Jaya pierce the septum up to 25mm using leg bones from a pig or a tibia bone from a slain enemy for ornamentation and status.

The nose and septum piercings in Northern Indian nomadic tribes are the largest known nose-rings, sometimes decorated with stones and large enough to cover most of the mouth and cheek and must be lifted while eating.

Some of the most extreme examples of ritual lip piercing and stretching can be seen on the Djinja women of the Central African Republic and Chad. Tribesmen stretch the lips of their future wives as part of a marriage ritual whereby the young woman’s lip is stretched up to 24cm by adulthood.