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Woman with Stretched Lobes
By Meghan O'Neal 08/10/2021

We all have these moments. We’ve rocked a style for years—bangs, colored hair, certain clothes—and one day, we look in the mirror and decide it’s time for a change.

In most cases, this change is easy. You grow your hair out. You take out your earrings. You go on a shopping trip. In other cases, like getting rid of your stretched lobes, it’s going to be a process.

Just like losing weight, shrinking your stretched lobes takes some time and patience. Remember how long it took you to stretch your lobes in the first place? Be prepared for a similar process.

Here’s a quick guide to shrinking your stretched lobes.

Can you shrink your stretched lobes?

In most cases, you can shrink your stretched lobes close to their original shape. Most piercers agree that you can stretch your lobes as large as 00G (a little over 0.3 inches or 9mm) and still be able to easily shrink them. Lobes are incredibly elastic, and the properties that make them easy to stretch also make them easy to shrink.

Woman with Smaller Gauge Stretched Lobes

If you stretched your lobes to a smaller size, like pictured, you can likely shrink them close to their original size.

If you’ve stretched beyond 00G, you might be able to shrink your lobes a bit, but they probably won’t ever get close to their original size. Additionally, if you stretched your lobes too quickly and experienced tears or blowout (when the inside of the lobe pushes itself to the outside, forming a ring), then there’s a chance that your lobes won’t significantly shrink, either.

If you can’t shrink your lobes close to their original size, then you can have surgery to close the lobes.

How to shrink your stretched lobes step by step

To being the shrinking process, follow similar steps to stretching. 

  1. Insert a plug or tunnel that’s one gauge size smaller (if 1G difference is too big, and the jewelry keeps falling out, try diminishing the jewelry size by a half gauge). 
  2. Once the skin feels as though it has tightened around the smaller jewelry, continue to diminish the jewelry size. (Most people end up wearing each size between 3 – 7 days, but this will depend upong your anatomy.)
  3. Continue until you’re at your preferred size.

Some tips to help the process:

  • Massage your lobes with vitamin E oil every day. This will help encourage earlobe shrinkage. 
  • To further encourage shrinkage, apply hemorrhoid cream.
  • Continue to massage your lobes even after they’ve shrunk to your preferred size. This will help break down any scar tissue and aid in healing. 

Important considerations for shrinking stretched lobes

Shrinking your lobes is a fairly simple process, but it varies based on the individual. Your ability to shrink your lobes depends upon how far you stretched your lobes, how quickly you stretched your lobes, and your body’s ability to shrink the lobes.

man with large gauge lobe piercing

If you stretch your lobes to a larger size, you will likely need surgery to bring them back to their original size.

In most stretched lobe cases, your lobe won’t go back to what it looked like originally. You will likely be left with a slightly larger gauge than a standard lobe piercing (whch can be fine, since there are many gorgeous earring styles in a larger gauge). In extreme stretching cases or cases where the lobe was damaged during stretching, it might not shrink at all.

Even if you stretched your lobe to a gauge below 00G, it’s possible that your lobes won’t shrink much. It really depends on the person.

If you can’t shrink your lobes naturally, then you can have surgery to fix them. This type of surgery isn’t super uncommon, and it’s a fairly simple process. It just might be a bit expensive.

How to shrink unintentionally stretched lobes

A fairly common issue is unintentionally stretched lobes. This occurs when your jewelry is a bit too heavy, and it tugs on the lobe over time causing stretching.

In this case, simply take the jewelry out to give your lobe a break. In many cases, this is enough, and piercees see improvement within a few days to a week. Once your lobes have shrunk, opt for lighter earrings for a while.

If your lobes do not shrink, talk to a doctor. There are a few treatment options that they can recommend based upon your individual needs.

Shrinking your stretched lobes isn’t as difficult as you might think; it’s simply a matter of reversing the process that you took part in to stretch them in the first place. When in doubt, talk to your doctor, and they will be able to provide treatment options.

Shop larger gauge earrings

Once you’ve gotten your lobes down to a smaller size, you’ll still want to wear stellar jewelry. Here are some of our faves.

Meghan O'Neal

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