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:
- 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.
- 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 â€˜safe zoneâ€™, 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 skinâ€™s elasticity.
Now that you are ready to stretchâ€¦
Tools you will need
- Body Jewellery (such as Ball Closure Rings, Crescents, Flesh Plugs or Flesh Tapers) in every consecutive size you wish to stretch up to.
- 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.
- 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).
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!