Tag Archives: How To Stretch Your Ears

One of the main concerns people have about stretching their ears is how noticeable stretched ears can be and how to hide stretched ears for work. There are ways to hide stretched ears, but I think it is important to be realistic – it is impossible to make your stretchings completely invisible, especially at larger sizes. There are however plenty of ways to make your stretched ears more discrete and less “offensive” to employers and judgmental family members. The most basic – and least popular – option is to limit the size of your ears. The simple fact is that small stretchings are easier to hide than large ones. In the end it is a balancing act – the size you would like vs. the practicalities of your job etc. When it comes to hiding your existing stretchings, having long hair is always an advantage! Simply wearing long hair down can go a long way towards hiding stretched ears, especially if people don’t know that you have them in the first place. However the best way to hide your stretchings is with discrete jewellery, as detailed below.


How To Hide Stretched Ears with Hider Plugs

Kaos Silicone Hider Plug

Kaos Silicone Hider Plug

Hider plugs are flesh-coloured flesh plugs. They are designed to blend in with your ear lobes and make your stretchings more discrete. The most effective are Kaos Silicone Hider Plugs. They have a realistic skin colour and a tapering edge that helps them blend into the surrounding skin. Unfortunately they only come in one colour. If your skin tone is darker, your best bet is to look for other plugs that match your skin tone as closely as possible. Even if the hider plugs do not match your skin colour exactly, they can make your ears look much more discrete – especially from a distance.


How To Hide Stretched Ears with Flesh Plugs

How To Hide Stretched Ears

If your stretchings are under 10mm, you may find that you can hide them simply by wearing plugs that look like stud earrings. By choosing a style that could conceivably be a regular stud, you can hide your stretchings quite easily. Remember, they might be obvious to someone familiar with stretched ears, but people often see what they expect to and may not notice your stretchings. The example on the right would probably not get a second glance from most people! For best results I recommend one of the jewelled plugs below or any solid, opaque flesh plug.



Jewelled Flesh Plug

Jewelled Flesh Plug

Black Jewelled Flesh Plug

Black Jewelled Flesh Plug

Crystalline Flesh Plug

Crystalline Flesh Plug



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.


What-To-Stretch-Your-Ears-With

When it comes to stretching your ears, the tools that you choose can be just as important as the method that you use to stretch your ears. In this post I will outline the different types of ear stretchers available and their pros and cons. As with anything relating to ear stretching, everyone is different. These are simply my recommendations, based on my own experience and that of others. Whatever you decide to stretch your ears with, be sure to do your research and choose the stretching tools that you feel will work best for your ears and your needs.

What Taper Shape To Stretch Your Ears With

There are many different types of jewellery that you can stretch your ears with, but most people use either straight tapers or crescent-shaped tapers. A taper is idea for ear stretching because it increases in size gradually, allowing you to slide it through the piercing at a pace that suits you. I recommend using a straight stretching taper, as they tend to be less bulky than crescents and can be easier to handle. I do not recommend simply pushing a plug through your ear, as this is very forceful and likely to result in a tear or blow out. Once you have reached your desired gauge, remove the taper and insert an unflared flesh plug. You should not wear a taper as jewellery, as it can encourage one side of the stretching to become larger than the other. It can also catch on clothing and is not usually comfortable for sleeping.

What Material To Stretch Your Ears With

Stretching tapers are available in a huge range of materials, the most common being surgical steel, acrylic and plastic. I recommend using surgical steel, as it is the most biocompatible and least irritating of these materials. Steel tapers should have a very smooth surface. This means that they will slide smoothly through the ear without dragging on the skin or harbouring germs. This kind of smoothness is not possible with an acrylic taper and as a result many people find that acrylic tapers irritate their ears. Steel tapers are sometimes referred to as “stretching pins” or “stretching nails” – as long as they are straight and taper towards your desired gauge, they are the same as “stretching tapers”.

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


As with any body modification, it is important to know how permanent the changes you are making to your body will be. Many people wonder is their stretched ears will go back to normal, and it is an important question to answer before you begin ear stretching. Unfortunately the most honest answer is not particularly helpful: it varies from person to person and there is no guarantee that your stretched ears will go back to normal.

The truth is that most stretched ears will shrink at least a little if you remove your jewellery, but most will not go back to their unstretched gauge. 10mm is often cited as the point of no return, but the fact is that everyone is different. Some people stretch to 6mm and find that their ears will not go back to normal, while others go far beyond that and their ears still close back up. My advice is to think of stretching as a semi-permanent procedure and only stretch to a size that you would be willing to live with permanently.

How To Close Stretched Ears

If you want to close your stretched ears, there are a few things that you can do to encourage the shrinking process. Firstly, remove your jewellery and clean the ear thoroughly. Then massage daily with a natural oil such as jojoba oil, extra virgin olive oil or almond oil. This will soften the skin, increase blood flow to the area and encourage healing. Then it is just a case of waiting to see how much your stretched ears will close up on their own. While your ears will not close up completely, they may reach a smaller gauge that you are happier with. For example if your ears shrink to under 6mm and you wear solid plugs in them, they will be much less noticeable than your previous gauge.

If your ears do not close up on their own, surgery is the only guaranteed way to get them back to their former size and shape. Ear lobe reconstruction surgery can give good results but is usually expensive. I would always recommend giving your ears the chance to close naturally before going down that road.

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


Bear Belmares Bear Big Ears

When you start stretching your ears, one of the first things people want to know is “how big??” Some people start out with an idea of how big they want to go, while other just want to go as big as they can. The truth is that if you really want to, you can stretch your ears pretty damn big! The gentleman on the right is Bear Belmares, who is believed to hold the world record for the biggest stretched ears. As you can see, his lobes are massive! Obviously that’s extreme, but it goes to show that anything is possible.

How big you can stretch your ears depends on what your body is capable of. Some people are able to stretch to very large sizes, while others simply cannot. It is important to watch how your ears react to the stretching process: is it easy or is every millimetre a struggle? Rather than striving to get to a certain size, I suggest relaxing and focusing on a healthy stretching process. You will soon find out what gauge your ears are capable of stretching to. Everyone is different, but here are a few factors that will influence how big you can stretch your ears:


1. The Size and Shape of Your Lobes

Attached-Unattached-Ear-Lobes

Some people’s ears are bigger than others, but with ear stretching the important factor is your ear lobes, not the rest of the ear. There is a huge variation in the size and shape of people’s ear lobes, which can really affect the stretching process. Bigger ear lobes usually mean a potentially larger stretching capability. Also important is whether your ear lobes are attached or unattached. As the image shows, unattached – or “free” – lobes have a more pendulous shape. They make it easier to stretch as there is more flesh in the actual ear lobe itself. Attached ear lobes are still capable of stretching to large gauges, but it may take more time and effort.


2. The Elasticity of Your Skin

Our skin is naturally elastic and can stretch a great deal, but skin elasticity can vary and is largely down to genetics. If your skin is more elastic, you will find ear stretching easier and be able to stretch your ears to a larger gauge. This is the main reason why some people find ear stretching very easy, while others struggle. You won’t know how elastic your skin is until you begin to stretch your ears, so all you can do is stretch gradually and listen to your body.


3. Placement of Your Ear Piercing

Stretched-Second-Ear-Piercing

If you are planning to stretch your ears, the ideal piercing placement is in the absolute centre of your ear lobe. This is because it means that you have an equal amount of flesh on all sides of the piercing. Most people had their ears pierced before they knew they wanted to stretch, but if you did not I suggest telling your piercer so that they can give you the best placement for ear stretching. They may also suggest getting pierced at a slightly larger gauge than normal.

If you have two piercings in one lobe, you can also choose to stretch the second piercing. In this picture, both piercings have been stretched and the second is smaller. This is the most common arrangement. It is important to know that second piercings will not stretch as much, even if you do not stretch the first piercing.

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


Ear-Stretching-Guide-101

Welcome to the Body Jewellery Shop Ear Stretching Guide 101! This series of posts will discuss the different methods, jewellery, styles and risks of ear stretching, as well as showing you how to stretch your ears in a safe and healthy way.
Ear stretching is an ancient art practiced by many different cultures with a long history. It is a fascinating area of body modification and one that actually changes the shape of your body – it’s easy to see why it was and is so popular. It is relatively easy to do and can have a big impact on the way you look, but conversely there are plenty of ways to stretch your ears incorrectly, leading to some of the common risks of ear stretching. Fortunately most of the pitfalls can be remedied with a little information and simply taking care to work with your body.

Ear stretching is a huge subject and everyone has their own opinions about how it should be done, but I hope to give you all the information to make your own decisions about how to stretch your ears. We’ll be talking about some of the common questions and misconceptions that people have about ear stretching, how to deal with ear stretching risks and even how to hide your stretchings at work. I would love to hear your thoughts on ear stretching, so if you have a question about ear stretching or there is something that you want to know more about, let us know!

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