Hi all! So I think some of my favorite posts to do on this blog are the ones involving my piercings. I’m really passionate about piercings, and anyone who knows me in real life know that I am more than ready to jump into a full on conversation about my piercings, what it was like getting them and healing them and any other questions anyone might have! But my favorite piercings to talk about are definitely my lobes-my stretched lobes!
So today I’m gonna talk about my journey from never wearing earrings in my lobes, to have 2G (6mm) stretched lobes and what I’ve learned about stretching and properly taking care of your ears!
I had my ears pierced when I was nine, and it was a pretty traumatic ordeal for my ears. I had them pierced with a gun, which I do not recommend (I’ll get into my personal reasons later), and for some reason, they refused to heal for the longest time, and while at the time I didn’t know much about piercings and healing processes, I’m pretty sure my ears began to grow into the jewelry, causing tearing whenever I tried to change my earrings.It took over a year for me to actually begin to feel no pain whenever I changed my jewelry, but I was still scared of how much it might hurt, so I hardly touched them. And after a few years, once they were completely healed, I stopped wearing earrings altogether.
So about the time I started college, I got really interested in not only tattoos, but body modifications in general. I loved the way plugs looked, but I was scared to stretch.
After years of debating it and deciding that small earrings just didn’t look right in my lobes, and only larger earrings did, I figured I would begin to stretch, so I ordered a set of tapers 14G through 8G and two pairs of plugs, 10G and 8G. And here is where I will teach you how to stretch from my own trial and error.
Don’t skip sizes. I hadn’t been wearing earrings for years, so I really should have started stretching at a 16G or even an 18G, but I started with the 14G. My first attempt to stretch was the night I got my tapers in the mail, but before I could get any sort of lubrication for them. But let’s slow down, and back up a little bit before lubes.
How to clean and disinfect your jewelry before you stretch and what types of jewelry are safe to stretch with:
There are all sorts of different jewelry out there for stretched ears. You have various metals, glass, acrylic, wood, bone, horn, sylicone, etc. Of all the types there are, I am going to tell you two that are ok to stretch with. You can go against my word, I am no expert and stretching is about you and YOUR body, but this is my advice from MY OWN experience.
Stainless Steel Tapers with O-rings
Stainless steel. And glass. These two are your safest bet for stretching your ears and while they are not necessarily the cheapest, they will prevent any complications that could arise when you stretch. And if you are looking to save money on them, there are tons of places you can go online to buy taper sets made of these materials, for CHEAP. I spent maybe $20 total on stainless steel tapers and plugs for sizes 14G through 0G (I’ll link to some kits at the end of the post).
Here’s why you should choose steel or glass to stretch: Stainless steel and glass are both non-porous materials. In simpler terms, there are NO microscopic holes in the jewelry. You’re thinking, ok, why is this important? When you stretch your ears, you are creating tiny micro tears in your skin, these tears are opens wounds. Now you probably know that when you have a wound on your body, your body heals over it and makes NEW skin. Well if your body starts creating new skin and you have a plug in your ear with microscopic holes in it, your skin will start to grow into those holes. This can be bad! Very bad! There are horror stories of people whose ears have grown into their jewelry and have to have their jewelry surgically removed, which is not only painful, but expensive. Now does the extra few dollars for non porous plugs seems worth it?
[Also, a lot of stores in the mall and such will sell acrylic tapers individually, but they are actually more expensive this way, and will cost you hundreds of dollars if you choose to stretch this way]
Glass Spiral Tapers
Now onto cleaning your jewelry. Your first inclination is to probably grab a bottle of rubbing alcohol to wipe down your new jewelry with. Don’t. This will probably be your inclination for any cleaning regarding your ears, but avoid that. To properly clean your jewelry, and your ears, grab a cup full of warm (about the temperature of a nice hot shower) and add 1/8 teaspoon sea salt to it and mix. Make sure your sea salt is NOT iodized. You can get a big container of sea salt from your grocer for a few dollars and it will last you FOREVER. I’ve started using mine for cooking, cleaning all my piercings as well as my stretches and I’ve yet to make a real dent in it.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN TOUCHING YOUR JEWELRY OR EARS MAKE SURE YOUR HANDS ARE SUPER CLEAN!
Let your jewelry soak in your warm salt water for a few minutes while you begin to prep your ears to stretch.
A lot of people suggest taking a hot shower beforehand to help soften up your lobes, but I find if my ears are ready for the stretch then this step is unnecessary. Take a qtip or a cotton ball and dip it into your same salt water and clean around your lobes with it, letting the warm water soften them up a bit.
Now on to lubes. Don’t go grab a bottle of lotion, or a tube of antibiotic cream. These are just greasy and nasty for your ears and will cause complications. You want a natural oil which has a similar composition to the oils in your body. Don’t just grab olive oil from the pantry. That will mess your ears up as well! I’m talking Jojoba oil or Vitamin E oil. Jojoba is pretty expensive and is not available at your drugstore for the most part, but Vitamin E oil is easy to come by and not too expensive. I spent $8 on a bottle, which at the time I thought was super expensive, but like my salt, I’ve hardly made a dent in it. It’s going to last me years.
Take just a drop of whatever oil you choose to use and spread it between your index finger and thumb and begin to massage it into your ear lobes. Once you think your ears are sufficiently lubed up, take your tapers out of the water solution and rub a drop or two of oil and run it along the taper, making sure the smaller end is nicely covered. Gently and slowly begin to insert the taper into your lobe (make sure your piercing has healed completely, wait at least 6 months to a year after getting them pierced to actually stretch them). I like to put two fingers on the back side of my ear to support it during the stretch. Slowly push the taper through. If it hurts, you’re not ready to stretch or you need to start at a smaller size. You should feel a slight stinging/burning sensation, and that will subside after a few minutes or so. It should not hurt though.
If you have a plug in the corresponding size, line it up with your taper and push to follow it through into your ear. Do not wear tapers as jewelry. The heavy weight on the one end will cause your ear to stretch unevenly. I wore tapers as jewelry at 14G and 12G but switched to wearing plugs only at 10G. The tapers at the first two sizes are pretty light, so it’s ok then, but they start weighing too much at 10G.
Pop your O-rings onto your jewelry and you’re good to go. FOR NOW. In four days, the newly stretched skin will start to relax and adjust to its new size and you should take your jewelry out, soak it in the sea water solution to clean it, using a qtip, cottom balls or clean fingers to scrub away your newly acquired ear cheese (yup, that gross looking, smelly stuff on your plug is called ear cheese, it’s a mixture of dead skin cells and sebum!) and then once again, clean your lobes with the salt solution. Put a drop of oil on your fingers and massage it into your ears, and until your ears have fully adjusted to your new size, I’d suggest putting a drop of oil on your plugs as well to help get them back in. Clean your ears and jewelry like this once or twice daily, and do not touch your ears during the day otherwise. They are still open wounds and touching them can get bacteria in them and cause infection.
So now I’ve got you started on your stretching journey! Part Two will go into detail on the process of healing after stretches and how to know when you’re ready to stretch to the next size as well as what to do in case of infection or tears, etc!
Links to jewelry:
Stainless Steel 316L Ear Taper Stretching Kit 16pc 14G-0G
Stainless Steel Taper and Surgical Steel Plugs Kit 28pc 14G-0G
Full Steel Taper Kit 14G-0G