People stretch their ears for different reasons; some want the option of a variety of jewelry to wear, some like the designs on plugs, others may just want to have giant holes in their ears. I fit into the latter one. I’ve been stretching my ears over the past two years and I have learned a lot of tips and tricks along the way.
First, make sure you really want to stretch your ears. They may never close up all of the way, especially after a certain gauge, usually a 00g or 5/8”. After thinking about it, if you still want to stretch, make sure you do so properly.
Find out what gauge you’re already at. Then, go up one size, which is down an even number. For instance, if you’re at a 14g, then you’d move to a 12g. Don’t skip sizes as it will hurt and can cause tearing, blow outs, and formation of scar tissue.
You then decide on a way to stretch your lobe. Generally, there are three methods : the tapering method which involves using a taper or pincher, the taping method which involves using bondage or pvc tape to stretch gradually, or dead stretching which is taking the next size jewelry and working its way in. For smaller sizes, anywhere from 18g to 00g, I suggest using the tapering method. It is what I did and my ears are just fine.
For the tapering method, you get a taper, a set of plugs or tunnels, preferably steel but some like myself have no troubles with acrylic, and some kind of oil (vitamin e, ear butter, jojoba, etc.). You massage oil into your ear and put some on the taper then gently glide it into your ear. Once in, bring the plug up in front of it and push it through as you push the taper out. Then, put on the o rings and you’re done. You may want to clean your ear with a saline solution to soothe it.
Waiting time between stretches varies by person. For me, personally, I waited two weeks between each stretch up to 4g. After that, I waited about two months. The way you can tell if you’re ready to stretch is if your ear won’t let the taper through or if you feel stinging. If this happens, put the smaller size back in and wait a while longer.
Time variation also applies to when you can start wearing other materials in your lobes. Generally, a week or two is all it takes. Some may take more or less time.
Once you’ve started stretching your ears and stay at one size awhile, I suggest to start sleeping with no jewelry in. It gives the ear tissue time to grow and thicken up. Thicker lobes can be stretched more and are healthier for stretched lobes. Before going to sleep, take out your jewelry and massage oil into your lobes. The oil will help thicken your lobes and keep your holes in good shape.
Good luck with stretching your ears. There isn’t much to it once you learn the basics. Stretching your lobes can be a lot of fun and it’s interesting watching your hole size grow!