Category Archives: Stretched Piercings

We all want to keep our stretchings at a certain size, but downsizing your stretched ears is often a great way to keep them healthy. You can downsize your stretchings permanently or temporarily. Downsizing allows your stretched ears to heal and recover from a variety of problems, from minor irritation to serious problems such as ear thinning. If the problem is serious you may have to stay at a smaller gauge, but in many cases you will be able to re-stretch your ears after they have recovered sufficiently.

I recommend downsizing stretched ears (at least temporarily) as a possible solution for: sudden soreness that will not go away despite a salt soak; tearing; uneven stretching; ear thinning and any injury to your earlobe. Downsizing your ears allows your ears to heal. The resulting lobe is usually more resistant to minor issues but remains easy to re-stretch. However if your problem recurs despite downsizing, you may have to downsize permanently.

How To Downsize Your Ears

The method for downsizing stretched ears is very simple: remove your jewellery and allow your ears to shrink at least 2mm. I recommend cleaning your ears thoroughly with a salt soak and massaging with jojoba oil – provided the skin is unbroken, You can then either leave your ears without jewellery or insert smaller jewellery to prevent too much shrinking. Give your ears a while to heal and keep a close eye on them. I recommend leaving your ears alone for at least a month before re-stretching. Re-stretching downsized ears is usually fairly simple – just go slowly and listen to your body at every step.

This post is part of our Ear Stretching Guide 101 series. Click on the link to see the whole series.


Stretching crescents are ear stretching tools that have a crescent shape. They have tapered ends that allow you to slide them gradually into your piercing, thereby stretching it to your desired size. Stretching crescents work in exactly the same way as a stretching taper, the only difference being their shape. Crescents are a great way to stretch your ears because they allow you to do so gradually and reduce the risk of tearing or blowouts. As with any ear stretching tool, it is important to use stretching crescents carefully and to do you research before you start. If you are unsure about the stretching process you can check out my post How To Stretch Your Ears, which covers most of the basic points. I would also recommend speaking to a professional piercer, as they will be able to give you specific advice based on your piercings.

How To Stretch Your Ears with Stretching Crescents

The method for stretching with crescents is very straightforward. However it is important to remember that stretching is a gradual process that requires more dedication and patience than simply getting a piercing. Make sure that you know what you are doing and that you listen to your body to avoid the common risks. Here is the basic method for how to use a stretching crescent:

  1. Before you start, ensure that your piercing is clean and fully healed. Remove your jewellery and massage the piercing with your chosen lubricant – I recommend jojoba or Vitamin E oil. This will increase blood supply and soften the skin.
  2. Clean your stretching crescent and add some lubricant to it. The widest point of the crescent should be your desired gauge, no more than 2mm larger than your current gauge.
  3. Insert the end of the stretching crescent into the piercing and start sliding it through the piercing. There may be a stinging sensation but it should not be painful.
  4. Continue until the widest part of the crescent is fully in your piercing.

You can now either replace the stretching crescent with an unflared flesh plug, or do so once the stretching has healed. If you are going to replace it with a flesh plug, it is best to do so immediately, while the piercing is soft. It will tighten as it heals, before relaxing when healed.

Steel Ear Stretching Crescent

Steel Ear Stretching Crescent

Steel Taper Stretching Crescent

Steel Taper Stretching Crescent

Darkside Acrylic Stretching Crescent

Darkside Acrylic Stretching Crescent



This post is part of our Ear Stretching Guide 101 series. Click on the link to see the whole series.


How-To-Stretch-Your-Ears-After-Downsizing

Downsizing is a great way to deal with a variety of common ear stretching problems, from irritation to tears. But can you stretch your ears after downsizing? And can you go back to your previous gauge? The answer is a resounding yes in both cases: most people can stretch back to their previous gauge and beyond. The exception would be if the problem was a serious one, such as extreme ear thinning – in some cases the downsizing may have to be permanent. Every case is different, so it is important to make the right decision. If you are unsure or simply need a little advice, I always recommend consulting an experienced professional piercer.


How To Stretch Your Ears After Downsizing

It is important to ensure that your ears are fully healed before you begin to stretch again. For this reason I recommend waiting 2-4 weeks after downsizing. Your ears should feel fully healed, with no pain or discomfort. You can then stretch your ears in the same way that you did initially. I’m sure that you are already knowledgeable about ear stretching, but for good measure, here is my basic method for re-stretching your ears:>/p>

  1. Clean your stretching taper and lubricate both the taper and your piercing with a skin-friendly oil e.g. olive, hemp or jojoba oil. Massage the piercing with the oil.
  2. Push the taper gradually through your piercing. Take your time and pause if needed.
  3. Once the taper is pushed fully through your ear, align the end of a flesh plug with the end of the taper. The plug should be the same gauge. Then push both the taper and plug through your ear until the flesh plug is fully in your piercing.

As with any time you stretch your ears, I recommend stretching no more than 2mm at a time and allowing 2-4 weeks before stretching again. If you find it difficult to stretch back to your original gauge, it is likely that your ear is not yet fully healed. In most cases, you will simply need to wait a little longer before re-stretching your piercing.

This post is part of our Ear Stretching Guide 101 series. Click on the link to see the whole series.


Stretching tapers are an excellent way to stretch your ears and a real essential for your ear stretching kit. But what are stretching tapers? As you can see below, a stretching taper is a piece of jewellery that tapers at one end. The large end will be the size that you wish to stretch to. This allows you to slide the stretching taper through your piercing, gradually stretching the piercing. Once you have passed the taper through your piercing, you can remove it and insert an appropriately sized piece of jewellery, e.g. a flesh tunnel. Using a stretching taper is one of the easiest and safest way to increase your gauge, as well as one of the most comfortable.

How To Use A Stretching Taper

Using a stretching taper is safe and straightforward. However like all forms of body modification, it must be done carefully and safely to avoid damage to your piercing. I recommend that you ready my previous post How To Stretch Your Ears before you begin, because it outlines the best way to safely stretch your ears and avoid some of the most common problems.

Whenever you stretch your ears, it is important to do so gradually and listen to your body. Stretching should not be painful, merely uncomfortable. If you experience sharp pain or bleeding, stop immediately. You may be stretching too quickly, or perhaps your piercing is not fully healed. Listen to your body and start again when you feel comfortable. That said, here is my method for using stretching tapers.

  1. Start with a clean taper and clean, healthy, fully healed piercing. The taper should be no more than 2mm larger than you current gauge.
  2. Lubricate both the piercing and taper with a natural oil e.g. olive, jojoba or vitamin E oil.
  3. Insert the end of the taper into the piercing and start sliding it through the piercing. There may be a stinging sensation but it should not be painful.
  4. Once the taper is pushed fully through your ear, align the end of a flesh plug with the big end of the taper, as if it were part of the taper. Then push both the taper and jewellery through your ear until the flesh plug is fully in your piercing.
  5. Our Favourite Stretching Tapers

    We have hundreds of different stretching tapers available but you can see my favourite stretching tapers below. I recommend using steel tapers, as they are non-porous, non-irritating and easy to clean. They are also cheap, which is important if you will need multiple sizes.

    Steel Stretching Taper Pin

    Steel Stretching Taper Pin

    Darkside Stretching Taper

    Darkside Stretching Taper

    Glow In The Dark Stretching Taper

    Glow In The Dark Stretching Taper

    Steel Crescent Stretching Taper

    Steel Crescent Stretching Taper



    This post is part of our Ear Stretching Guide 101 series. Click on the link to see the whole series.


If you are researching ways to stretch your ears, you may have heard of the “taping method” of ear stretching. But what is the taping method? And crucially, is it a safe or effective way to stretch your ears? Now obviously I wouldn’t have posed those questions if I weren’t prepared to answer them, so in this post I will explain just what the taping method of ear stretching is! Put simply, the taping method involves wrapping tape around your stretching jewellery and then using it to stretch your ears. This allows you to increase your gauge by small amounts and stretch gradually to your desired gauge.

Benefits of Stretching Your Ears With Tape

The benefits of the taping method include allowing you to stretch your ears in small increments, which is ideal if you wish to stretch more slowly. It also means that you can get multiple stretching gauges from one piece of stretching jewellery, saving you money. You can also create in-between gauges that may be hard to find or expensive larger sizes.

How To Stretch Your Ears Using The Taping Method

As with any ear stretching method, it is important to do your research, using high quality materials and listen to your body. I recommend reading our general guide to How To Stretch Your Ears before attempting the taping method, as it will tell you all you need to know about stretching speeds and how to avoid common ear stretching risks.

I recommend using high quality PTFE tape, also known as plumber’s tape or Teflon tape. PTFE tape is made from a biocompatible plastic that is also used to make body jewellery. It is non-toxic and will not irritate your skin. It is very thin, which allows you to build up the diameter gradually. Do not use electrical tape, because the adhesive on the tape may contain carcinogens and other harmful chemicals.

You Will Need:

  • A stretching taper in a non-porous material e.g. steel, titanium or glass
  • PTFE tape
  • Lubricant – we recommend jojoba oil, olive oil or Vitamin E oil

The Taping Method

  1. Begin by wrapping a couple of layers of tape around your stretching taper. I do not recommend stretching more than 2mm at a time.
  2. Smooth out any wrinkles in the tape.
  3. Lubricate with plenty of your chosen oil.
  4. Insert slowly into your piercing. This should merely be uncomfortable and you should never have to force the jewellery through. If the taper will not go in or you experience sharp pain, stop. You may have added too much tape or not enough lubricant. Remove a layer of tape and try again.
  5. Once the taper is in your ear, you can either slide it all the way through and insert appropriately sized jewellery, or allow it to heal for a few days before adding more tape. I always recommend inserting jewellery, but you know your body best.

For full information on ear stretching aftercare, please see my post How To Stretch Your Ears, Part 2.

This post is part of our Ear Stretching Guide 101 series. Click on the link to see the whole series.


Ear Weights For Stretched Ears

Of all the jewellery that you can wear in your stretched ears, ear weights are one of the most eye-catching. Ear weights are essentially heavy pieces of jewellery that you can wear in stretched ears. Unlike flesh plugs or tunnels, ear weights are not designed to fill your piercings. Instead they hang from your stretched piercings, leaving most of the hole visible. The image on the right shows a typical ear weight, with a spiral shape that simply hooks into your ear. Like most ear weights, it has decoration at the bottom of the weight and is inspired by elegant tribal style. Ear weights are also one of the most ancient forms of stretched ear jewellery, with examples being found dating back thousands of years, particularly in Africa and South America.

You can find a huge variety of ear weights for stretched ears. They can be made in lots of different materials but the most popular are brass, wood and stone. It is worth remembering that ear weights are worn for decoration, not to actually stretch your ears. They are suitable for healed, established stretchings only and should be removed at night.


Why You Shouldn’t Stretch Your Ears with Ear Weights

Ear weights make beautiful jewellery but they are not suitable for stretching your ears with. This is because ear weights focus all their weight on one part of your piercing. The result is that they only stretch the bottom part of your piercing; leading to uneven stretching, ear thinning and even ear splitting. A healthy stretched ear should be equally stretched all around the piercing, and the flesh should be of equal thickness all the way around.

Stretching tapers are the safest way to stretch your ears and you should wait until your piercings are fully healed before wearing ear weights. This often takes at least two months. Once your stretchings are fully healed you can wear ear weights, although they should not be worn for extended periods and always removed at night. With proper care and healing time, ear weights are completely safe to wear and a wonderful way to show off your stretched ears.

This post is part of our Ear Stretching Guide 101 series. Click on the link to see the whole series.


When researching how to stretch your ears or reading others’ stretching experiences, you may hear the term “dead stretch” or “dead stretching”. But what exactly is dead stretching? Put simply, dead stretching means going up a gauge by simply pushing a larger piece of jewellery into your piercing, without using a taper. So to dead stretch from 6mm to 8mm, you would simply force a 8mm plug into the piercing. I do not recommend dead stretching as a healthy way to stretching your ears. It puts unnecessary pressure on the piercing and can lead to all sorts of issues. Using a taper is safer and more comfortable, even if you think that you could easily get larger gauge jewellery into your stretching.

Risks Associated With Dead Stretching

Dead stretching your ears greatly increases the risk of blow-outs, earlobe tearing and uneven stretching. It is usually more painful than stretching with a taper – even if you can force the jewellery through pain-free, you are likely to experience pain and/or other issues soon after. The risks are even worse if you do not use lubrication when you dead stretch. To force larger jewellery through your stretching, you may have to use quite a lot of force. This puts a lot of pressure on the stretching and can distort it, leading to the aforementioned risks. Stretching is healthiest when the pressure on and trauma to the earlobe is minimised – by using lubricated, tapered jewellery and stretching gradually.

This post is part of our Ear Stretching Guide 101 series. Click on the link to see the whole series.


Salt-Soaks-For-Ear-Stretching

Salt soaks are an easy and effective way to treat a sore or irritated ear stretching. A salt soak essentially consists of submerging your ear stretching in a warm salt solution. This cleanses the piercing and draws out any infection or pus, giving it the best possible chance of healing. Ear stretchings are easily irritated e.g. by stretching too quickly, by cheap jewellery or a grain of dirt getting between your skin and the jewellery. In most cases, a few salt soaks will calm the irritation and leave your ear feeling much better. If the irritation is serious I recommend downsizing temporarily, continuing salt soaks and consulting a professional piercer if it does not improve.

How To Do A Salt Soak

Performing a salt soak on your ear stretching is both quick and easy. Ideally, try to use non-iodised sea salt and distilled water, as they have fewer impurities. You buy both from health food shops, but regular table salt and (ideally filtered) tap water will do. To perform your salt soak:

  1. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of salt with 250ml boiling water in a clean heat-resistant container such as a ceramic mug.
  2. Stir with a clean metal spoon until all the salt has dissolved.
  3. Allow to cool to a bearable temperature i.e. similar to a drinkable cup of tea.
  4. Fill a clean shot glass (or similar container) to the brim with the salt solution.
  5. Submerge your ear stretching in the solution for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it cools.
  6. Rinse with cold water to remove any residue. If there is a lot of lymph etc. use a clean cotton bud, taking care not to leave any fibres behind.

Step four is optional, but personally I find it easier to submerge my whole stretching in a small, full container like a shot glass as opposed to a mug. Salt soaks are great for any sore piercing, but you may have to get creative in order to submerge your piercing in the salt solution!

This post is part of our Ear Stretching Guide 101 series. Click on the link to see the whole series.


When you stretch your ears, the most important things that you can do are a) stretch slowly and b) use high quality ear stretching kit. High quality stretching tools give you the best chance of a healthy stretching process and a good end result. This is because good quality tools will be made of biocompatible, lightweight materials that do not cause irritation or put undue pressure on the piercing. In this post I will outline the ear stretching kit that is not only my personal favourite, but is recommend by the majority of piercers and experienced stretchers.

For Stretching Your Ears

For actually stretching your ears, I highly recommend surgical steel stretching tapers. Here at Body Jewellery Shop you can buy these tapers individually or as a kit, as you can see below. High quality steel stretching tapers such as ours are finely machined with a perfectly smooth surface and will not irritate your ears. If you choose cheaper acrylic tapers, you may find that they irritate your ears and drag on the skin. Lubricant is also essential – either jojoba, Vitamin E, olive, hemp or almond oil. These natural oils reduce drag and pain during stretching. They also condition the skin and should be used to massage the earlobe both before stretching and during the healing process.

For After You Have Stretched Your Ears

After you have stretched your ear, remove the taper and insert an unflared flesh tunnel. My favourites are the steel flesh tunnels below. You should never leave the taper in, as this leads to uneven stretching and puts pressure on the new stretching. You should always use non-porous materials for your first post-stretching jewellery to encourage clean healing: either surgical steel or titanium.

For Healed Ear Stretchings

Once your ear stretching has healed completely and you have reached your desired gauge, I recommend wearing wooden flesh tunnels or plugs. Wooden jewellery is completely non-irritating, lightweight and very comfortable to wear. It reduces odour and stays the same temperature as your body. My own wooden tunnels have kept my ears happy for years and I find that they require less cleaning compared to metal jewellery. So there you have it, my favourite ear stretching kit!

Steel Stretching Taper

Steel Stretching Taper

Steel Stretching Taper Kit

Steel Stretching Taper Kit

Unflared Steel Flesh Tunnel

Unflared Steel Flesh Tunnel

Wooden Plugs and Tunnels

Wooden Plugs and Tunnels



This post is part of our Ear Stretching Guide 101 series. Click on the link to see the whole series.


Stretching your ears can be done safely if you know how, but as with any body modification, there are risks involved. Some ear stretching risks are reversible but they can lead to scarring and permanent damage to your earlobes. Thankfully, most of these risks can be avoided through careful stretching and doing you research before you start stretching your ears. In this post I will explain three of the most common ear stretching risks, how to avoid them and what to do if they happen to you. As with any piercing problem, consult a professional piercer if you are at all unsure or experience other problems while stretching your ears.

Ear Stretching Blow-Out

Ear Stretching Blow-Out

Ear Stretching Blow-Out

A blow-out occurs when you stretch a piercing too quickly. This puts too much pressure on the fistula (the hole formed by the piercing) and force part of the fistula out the back of the piercing. This creates a lip or flap of skin at the back of the piercing. The image on the right shows a mild blow-out, but they can be much larger. Ear stretching blow-outs look terrible and larger ones can be uncomfortable or even painful. The best way to avoid a blow-out is to listen to your body, massage with jojoba oil before stretching and allow at least two weeks healing time in between stretching. If you get a blow-out, downsize your jewellery immediately – this can prevent the ear healing in its blown-out shape. I also recommend massaging the earlobe with jojoba oil daily to soften the tissue. Do not stretch further until it is completely healed. Some people find that their blow-outs reabsorb, but in some cases they will never fully disappear.


Uneven Stretching & Thinning

Uneven Stretching

Uneven Stretching

Uneven stretching means that the outside of your stretching becomes thinner in one area. It is caused by stretching too quickly or by stretching with weights. As well as looking odd, extreme thinning can lead to a split earlobe. A split earlobe can only be repaired through surgery, but if you catch the thinning early enough it is reversible.

If you notice any unevenness or thinning, downsize by at least 2mm and massage daily with jojoba or Vitamin E oil. It is important to use lightweight jewellery, so that no weight is put on the thin areas. Allow the stretching to shrink and heal for at least 2 weeks before restretching gradually with lightweight jewellery. This process should thicken the tissue and help to even it out.


Earlobe Tearing

Earlobe Tearing

Earlobe Tearing

Stretching too quickly or without lubrication can lead to tears around the circumference of the piercing, as shown here. Tears are painful and can lead to thick scar tissue that makes it harder to stretch further. They can be avoided by stretching slowly with a lubricant such as jojoba oil. It is also important to use high quality steel tapers and stop stretching if you feel a sharp pain.

If your earlobe tears while stretching, immediately downsize to significantly smaller, lightweight jewellery. This removes pressure on the wound and prevents a subsequent blow-out. Allow it to heal completely before stretching again.

This post is part of our Ear Stretching Guide 101 series. Click on the link to see the whole series.