Welcome back to our instructions on how to stretch your ears! In Part 1 we discussed how to determine your current gauge and what materials you will need. Remember, ear stretching is safe but it is always important to take care. If you feel that something is not right, stop immediately and consult a professional piercer. Now we can move on to the actual stretching method and start stretching your ears!
Step 3: Start Stretching Your Ears
The best time to stretch your ears is after a hot shower, when the skin is soft and malleable. I recommend stretching no more than 2mm at a time. Your piercing should be fully healed – at least 4 to 6 months since it was pierced. Never stretch a piercing that feels or looks sore – wait for it to calm down before you stretch.
I recommend stretching one ear at a time. It is usually uncomfortable to sleep on a freshly-stretched piercing, so this allows you to sleep on the unstretched side. Plus, it means that you can focus on one side at a time and then bring the other ear up to the same gauge – don’t worry, you’ll only be lopsided for a short time!
- Wash your hands and gather your tools. As discussed in Part 1, you will need a stretching taper and unflared flesh plug in your desired gauge. You will also need a suitable lubricant, such as jojoba oil. Clean and dry your stretching taper and jewellery thoroughly.
- Remove current jewellery and massage your piercing with your chosen lubricant. This will help to soften the skin.
- Apply a little lubricant to the small end of the stretching taper and begin to push it slowly into your piercing.
- Pay attention to how it feels. Some soreness or discomfort is normal, but you should not feel sharp pain or strong resistance while stretching you ears. This is a sign that you are not ready to stretch to the next size yet – perhaps your ears are not fully healed? This can be frustrating, but try to be patient and never simply push through the pain. This can lead to skin tears and blowouts, which can leave permanent scars.
- Continue to push the taper through your ear. If you feel that you need to pause for a moment, take your time.
- Once the taper is pushed fully through your ear, align the end of the 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 – congratulations, you have just stretched your ear!
- Place an O-ring on either end of the flesh plug to keep it in place.
Step 4: Ear Stretching Aftercare
Freshly-stretched ears require little aftercare, but it is important to pay attention to how it feels. Your ear may feel hot and a little sore, but sharp pain or bleeding are not normal and indicate that you may have damaged your ear. If this happens, downsize to your previous jewellery, clean with saline and allow your ear to heal fully before stretching again.
Assuming you have stretched your ears successfully, the best aftercare is to leave your ears alone for a few days. Sleep on your other side and take care not to bump them when you get dressed. You should also keep your hair away from the stretching. You can use saline to clean around the jewellery if needed, but this is not often necessary.
Step 5: What Next?
After stretching, your ears may take up two months to heal fully. Always allow 1-2 months before stretching again – even if they feel fine. This allows the fistula (piercing hole) to stabilize and fully adjust to its new size. I also recommend waiting 1-2 months before wearing flared jewellery – doing this too early can irritate the fistula. After 1-2 months the piercing should no longer feel tight around the jewellery and you should be able to remove it easily. Massaging the piercing with oil can help increase softness and blood circulation to the stretching. Once your stretching is stable and no longer feels tight, you are ready to stretch up to the next size. Follow the same method and remember to stretch slowly to avoid damaging your ears – everyone’s ears are different but you should always err on the side of caution to avoid permanent damage. Happy ear stretching!
This post is part of our Ear Stretching Guide 101 series. Click on the link to see the whole series.