A Beginner’s Guide to Ear Stretching

A Beginner’s Stretching Taper
Ever thought about stretching your ears? Here’s The Krafty Lady’s guide to how to do it safely (almost!) painlessly… Don’t forget that these are just basic tips – if you’re seriously thinking about it you should go to your local piercing expert who can take a look and give you advice based on your specific requirements – some piercing experts also stretch ears, so it’s worth finding out how much it will be for a professional job. And it’s almost always best to go to an expert if you’re thinking of stretching anything other than your ear lobes!

  • Firstly, you’ll need to have a piercing in the first place. NEVER begin stretching your ears until the holes are completely healed up – it can be best to wait three times as long as it takes to heal before you even think about buying your first stretcher. It allows the skin to heal and strengthen before becoming traumatized by stretching, and will hurt a lot less!
  •  Okay, so you’ve had your piercings a while and you go out to get your new stretchers. A normal piercing hole is 1.6mm in width – this can vary slightly, and it’ll be worth finding out from whoever pierced you before you buy your first stretcher.
  • A taper is probably the easiest and most comfortable way to stretch your ears. You’ll need to know the measurements of the widest and narrowest part before you buy it, and as a beginner it’s best to go for stainless steel tapers as they do not absorb bacteria and infections. Most people tend to start stretching up to 2mm, so start with a taper that is 1.6mm at the narrowest end and 2mm at the widest point.
  • Don’t take it too quickly! Stretching should never be painful and it certainly shouldn’t bleed. Massaging your lobe or holding a warm damp cloth up to it before the process will help circulation and relax the tissue in the lobe. AND ALWAYS WASH YOUR HANDS WITH ANTIBACTERIAL SOAP IF YOU’RE STRETCHING A LOBE YOURSELF. 
  • Lubricant can be used on the taper – but it’s not recommended to put too much on, as it could slip out of your hands. Water itself can be used, or perhaps a mixture of tea tree oil and vitamin E. Push the taper into your ear as far as it will comfortably go, then push it in slightly further until you can feel your lobes warming up and tingling, but not painful – they may sting slightly. Then, use the rubber “o” rings provided to hold the taper into place. 
  • Well done! That’s the first step. Now it’s up to your body to decide how long it will be before you can stretch again. Everyone is different – it can take people a matter of weeks to stretch to 6mm, some people can take months. NEVER rush the process – you could end up damaging your ear for good. And never stretch too far too soon – it’ll hurt! You must always wait for your ear to heal properly before you begin stretching again.
  • Don’t forget that stretching to 8mm or over could mean risk of damage to your ears if it is not done properly, and 20mm or over and there’s no going back! So be sure it’s what you want to do before going ahead with a larger stretcher. But it IS different for everyone.
  • After stretching your ear will probably be slightly inflamed and may sting a little, but as I said before – THERE SHOULD BE NO BLOOD. If your ear does bleed, it means that you have done some tissue damage and it’s best to take the taper out and to let the ear heal completely before you begin stretching again.
  • It’s really important that you keep your ear clean. Dust and skin cells build up in the enlarged hole and create a cheesey discharge (lovely!), so clean your ear with a mild saline (salt water) solution or antibacterial soap – unfragranced soap is even better because it won’t cause any irritation. Do this once or twice a day. Turn your taper gently to prevent it sticking and to clean around the inside of the hole. And always wash your hands before doing so! 
Congratulations! You’ve done your first stretching – easily, cleanly and almost pain-free! Now you can go and have some fun choosing your first lot of funky stretchers – there are loads available on the market so have fun!
If you need any more information please don’t hesitate to drop us an email, but to ensure you get accurate advice go and see your local piercing specialist who’ll be happy to help out! And don’t forget we sell all kinds of stretchers, so check out www.thekraftylady.co.uk for some ideas of what you can wear once your stretchers are fully healed.



  1. Hi,
    Ive been stretching my ear for some time now and i was ona six but wanted to got o an eight so i went to my ususal place and bought and eight i pushesd it in and recieved my normal amount of pain i usually get but now its gone swollen and hurts quite a bit,I’ve started sterilising the plug everyday and washing my Hople out with cold salt water then washing it with hot water.
    I Really dont want to take it out as its atken me so long to get it to this size,I was going to go to a fiftenn but decided on just a ten Until i feel like changing it again.
    Do you have any advice?
    Thanks Molly x

  2. Hi Molly!
    Thanks for your message, I’ve replied via your email address! Hope it helps, and good luck! Let me know if you need any more advice at all. 🙂


    The Krafty Lady

  3. Heчч [:

    I’m onlч 13 and ive had a taper in since i was 12, but ive onlч been 13 for about 2 weeks. I started stretching mч ear on a 2mm taper, after about a week and a half i went to a 2.6mm wich didnt hurt at all. I tried to put a 3mm in but mч ear started to bleed. I immeadiatleч took it out, cleaned mч ear and put mч 2.6mm back in. I want an easier waч to stretch mч ear without making it bleed and damaging tissue. Ive heard чou can use celotape to wrap around чour taper so as not to hurt and stretch it slowlч. Will this work or will it cause infection or pain? Aswers please!!

    Adele x

  4. Hey Adele,
    I’ll forward this reply to your email address as well! 🙂 Okay, firstly, don’t use cellotape! You’ll damage your ears and you definitely could cause an infection. You can’t rush the process – it seems like you’re trying to stretch far too soon. Well done for taking the taper out when it started to bleed – that’s the right thing to do.
    If you are stretching your ears properly, they shouldn’t bleed AT ALL, but whichever way you do it, you can’t rush it! Leave the 2.6mm in for a couple of weeks, keep it very clean, and once the sweling has gone down and all signs of damage to your ear are healed, you can stretch to a 3mm again. If you try stretching too fast too soon (before the ear has had time to recover from the swelling), you will damage your ear and won’t be able to stretch them at all – you’ll also cause bleeding.
    It sounds like you’re doing all the right things, just have a bit of patience. And don’t forget when you’re going up to a 3mm taper you don’t have to push it in all the way straight away – that’s what the o-rings are for, to hold it in place until you get it where you want it. Your body needs time to heal between stretching – some people have to wait a few weeks before they can start stretching bigger, so just take it easy – there’s no rush – you’re young yet! 😉
    Hope that helps. If you need any more advice feel free to drop me an email: sales@thekraftylady.co.uk


  5. Hey!
    I recently streched my ears (tonight lol) and I have a 3mm in. I just have two questions, one is how long is it usually expected to sting? like its not agonising pain but just wondering when it will be gone completely.
    Also my back O ring wont go on, even when I put it right to the back of my ear its too small to hit on and if I push it through any more then the front O right wont fit on.
    Any suggestions?

  6. Howdy Hi,
    I have been stretching my ears for over 2 years now and I’m kind of at a stand still. I am currently at 3/4″(19mm) and my current goal for now in 1″(25mm). To get to the size i am at now I have used tapers to get to about 5/8″(15.8mm) then silicones to get to 3/4″.I tried using the silicones to go to a larger size but had a bad experience which led to a blow out (no fun!!!). I have been looking around for tapers for larger sizes but they seem hard to come by and when i do find them, they don’t come in a pair. I have talked to my local piercer and he suggested either using weighted jewelery (which I know could possibly thin out the lower part of my lobe) or use teflon tape and wrap it around my jewelry I have now and slowly work up to the size that I desire. I know reaching larger sizes takes time and I am willing to take the time to get to the size that I want. I was curious if you had any other methods on getting to the larger sizes?

    ~A Lo~

  7. Hi blueboxjared!
    Congrats on stretching your ears! 3mm is a good place to start.

    As for the pain side of things, it really varies from person to person – as long as you don’t push it in too far the slight burning/tingling should only last a couple of days – maybe up to a week. Again it depends on your own body’s ability to heal! Make sure you keep bathing it and keep it clean. Even though the pain stops it’s still best to wait a while longer until all the swelling has gone completely and your ear looks healthy before you stretch again (otherwise it will be more painful the next time you stretch). Sounds like you’re doing okay so far though!

    Did the o-rings come with the stretcher? You can go online (try eBay but I know they don’t do very much stretcher stuff on there at the mo), and I think you can buy packs of o-rings in different sizes so you’ll be able to find one that fits – it should really be fine if they came with the stretcher but just do a Google search for stretcher o-rings and hopefully you’ll have some joy!

    I hope that helped – let me know how you get on and good luck! If you need anymore advice I’ll be more than happy to help so just drop me an email 🙂

  8. Hi ~A Lo~,

    Apologies for the delay in responding to you – I’ve been doing a bit of research for you and talking to some of my friends who have large stretched ears!

    Firstly, absolute respect to you for going the whole way with it! Sounds like you’ve done a pretty good job so far…
    Tapers in larger sizes are hard to come by – we’re actually lucky at our shop because we have found a great body jewellery supplier and will be getting some of the larger sizes over the next couple of months. We sell them as individuals because there are lots of people who would rather buy one than the whole pair – don’t ask me why! 🙂

    The teflon tape really does sound like the best plan – my friend has used this method and now has a 28mm tunnel – pretty impressive! Using weighted jewellery could eventually stretch your lobe down rather than out, (and as you rightly said, thin it out, which means you may not be able to put anything in it!) – the best example of this is looking at the traditional tribes people who wear weighted bone spikes through their ears – after a while you seem to be left with an oval rather than a nice tunnel, and then it’s difficult to find jewellery to fit.

    There are a few places on the net which do proper traditional tribal jewellery – search “tribal jewellery” on Google and it should come up with a few places. These are the best people to go to – I have seen very lightweight wooden tapers made from antibacterial wood which go up to very large sizes, so should do the job for you! We haven’t managed to find any quite like this for our own shop yet, but I’m on the hunt! 🙂

    I hope this helps and sorry I can’t offer any more advice! If you think of anything else drop me a line and I’ll be happy to help when I can. Let me know how you get on and which method works best for you, and good luck!

  9. ummm i’ve been stretching my ear now for only 3 days and do i have to still tak it out to clean it at this stage ? and another question ….do i twist the traper to push it through or just leave it alone …..i really haven’t got a clue lol

  10. Hello! 🙂

    Congrats on your first stretching! Twisting it every so often is the right thing to do, otherwise it will stick and the ear will start to heal around it – not too much though, (3 or 4 times a day, or when it sticks), and try and make sure your hands are always clean beforehand otherwise you might get a nasty infection 😦

    It is worth pushing your taper out a little bit so you can fit a cotton bud or wash some antibacterial/saline (salt water) solution inside the stretched hole to clean out all the gunk every few days. Wait for the swelling to go down though otherwise it’ll hurt when you push it back in. Give the outside a good clean a few times a day – especially at this early stage. Dead skin cells build up leaving this nasty cheesey stuff otherwise, and eventually leads to infection and your tapers sticking to your ear. *Ouch*!

    Any more assistance just drop me an email!

    Good luck! 😀

  11. Heeeey.
    this information is really helpfull. Thanks heaps 🙂
    umm. i just bought a 2mm taper last night. and put it in this morning.
    i need your help :/ i think i did some thing wrong, it didnt hurt or bleed at all when i put it in but it is kind of sticking and i dont want to take it out because im afarid it will not go back in. i can twist it, but it just hurts untill i spin it all the way around once.
    is this normal? if not what could i do?
    please write back x

  12. Hi Natalie!
    I’m so glad you found the info helpful – and no, you haven’t done anything wrong so don’t panic! Your taper is just sticking because your ear is trying to heal up – make sure you give it a twist every time it sticks, and clean it a couple of times a day. This will also help loosen it up a bit. Stainless Steel tapers are the best to start with – they’ll stick a lot less so if you’re using an acrylic one you might want to change until your ear has healed up a bit (about 4-6 weeks). Make sure you always have clean hands when you twist it though, because you don’t want it to get infected! It sounds very healthy to me – no blood and minimal pain is the right way to do it, carry on as you are and you’ll be fine! Just don’t lose patience – accidents happen when you rush the process so take it slowly, keep it clean, twist it every so often and it’ll be perfectly done! ;-D

  13. Hey… so ive been stretching my ears for quite a while and i recently went from 2’s to 0’s i had a taper in for 2 days before I put the 0’s in and now my left ear is perfectly normal however my right ear is very swollen and hard and getting kinda gross under the rings. what should I do it is painful to clean and touch? Should i go back to a 2 for a while and let it heal or just keep cleaning it with warm water and sea salt and leave the 0 in?

  14. Hi there!
    I have a 6mm stretcher in my right ear at the moment, and I started off at a 2.5mm. I stretched from 2.5 to 3 in about a week, from 3 to 4 in 2 weeks, 4 to 5 in 3 weeks and 5 to 6 in 3 weeks. When I take out my stretcher, it looks like there’s a small circle of scar tissue round the hole, and I think it might be because I’m doing it too fast but I do wait for it to heal in between stretches, cleaning it too, and it’s never hurt before, and it still doesn’t, but I don’t know why there’s slight scarring. Advice on how to make the scarring go away?
    Also, I tried stretching my left ear lobe too today, but it’s really stubborn and I can’t get the taper even out the other side of my lobe. Is there an easier way?
    Thanks, and I found the info above very useful!

  15. Sorry for the delay in replying to you – we have been away on holiday! It’s really important that you keep it clean, so if it’s too painful to touch then you might be better going down a gauge until the swelling has gone down, and then try stretching again but take it slowly. I know it can be a pain to have to go back a stage, but it will be much better for your ear in the long run. Always always wait until the swelling and pain has gone from the first lot of stretching before you stretch again – rushing the process always causes more problems and pain! I would recommend at LEAST a week in between stretching; although it should really be more than that. Everyone is different and your body may heal faster than others but wait until the swelling and pain has gone before you stretch again! And when you stretch, remember you don’t have to push the taper all the way in the first time – push it through gradually over a period of time.

    It takes longer but it makes for a much more pain-free process, and should mean you get less fluid build-up in your lobe. Which means less swelling and a bit more comfortable experience! 🙂 Sounds like the other ear is doing fine though; just remember, keep it clean, don’t forget to twist it every so often so it doesn’t stick (with clean hands!), take it slow and you’ll have a perfect tunnel!

  16. Hi Ellie!

    Okay, first of all the scarring… as long as your ear isn’t hurting, leaking weird ooze or swollen then it should be fine, but try waiting slightly longer in between stretches. The bigger you stretch, the more stress you put on your ear – the first few are usually the easiest and will heal quicker in between stretches, but as you go bigger (and well done for getting to a 6!) it may take longer because your skin only has a certain amount of elasticity. It takes about 6 weeks for a piercing to heal, so for large stretch I’d recommend the same amount of time – about 6 weeks – between stretches – it seems like a long time but should stop your ear from being permanently scarred. Scar tissue is normal though, so don’t worry to much – you’re making your ear do something it normally wouldn’t so it reacts to that!

    As for your other ear, this is a common problem! Lots of people email me saying that one ear has done better than the other one, but there’s no way of speeding up the process. Using a taper (usually stainless steel is the best), is the easiest and safest way to stretch your ears. It may help to put a little lubrication (just plain old water, or a little Vitamin E & Tea Tree oil together also does a great job) onto the stretcher, but don’t use too much or it might slip and you’ll end up with a hole where you don’t want it! 🙂 And you don’t need to push it all the way through on the first go – push it in a little each day using the o-rings to secure it in place. Slowly does it, and you’ll end up with two even-looking ears instead of one that’s damaged because you may be pushing too far and too soon! It does take a while – lots of people ask me about quicker ways of doing it, but you could cause permanent damage to your ears – much better to be patient and have a great end result than have permanent weird ears! ;-D

    But it sounds like you’re doing all the right things, and well done for getting so far! If you need any more advice you know where I am – don’t forget local piercing experts will also be able to offer advice, plus they can see the ear and give you a better ‘diagnosis’ and advice tuned specifically to your needs.

  17. Thanks for all your help!

  18. Hello, well I only started stretching yesterday, I repeirced my ear after no having an earing in for about a year and a half, obviously that was a bit swollen from that, but then I put in my 3mm stretcher, It hurt quite a lot there was no blood and it hurts if i knock my ear, i don’t know if that’s a bad thing or not? But I was just wondering, how long should I wait before even attempting to put a plug in? I was wondering if it was right to do it in 3 weeks as I would like to have a plug in for my holiday?

  19. Firstly, did you re-pierce your ear yourself, and how long ago did you do it? It needs six weeks of healing after it has been pierced (or re-pierced – sometimes if you re-pierce an ear in the same place it was pierced it can weaken the skin, which is why you need to be extra careful when doing it yourself). After the six weeks of healing you should start with a stainless steel stretcher and only go to a 2mm to start with. It can take up to a week just to get the stretcher fully into your ear, after which time you should always wait for the swelling to go down before you even think about stretching again. Keep your ears clean by washing them at least twice a day with salt water solution or Dial antibacterial soap. Using salt water can sometimes dry your skin out so it’s a good idea to consider the soap as an alternative option or use them both together.

    I can’t stress enough that you really need to take time over this – don’t just rush it because you have a holiday coming up. Moving up to plugs in 3 weeks from your first stretch, especially if your ears haven’t healed from the piercing is not a great idea. Although acrylic plugs are perfectly safe, there is a lot more chance of getting infection in your ears than if you stick with a stainless steel stretcher until your ears are fully healed. I’d say you need to leave it about 6 weeks again before you start stretching again or using acylic plugs. Lots of people try to do it quicker and do a lot more harm than good and in the longterm, your ears will look much healthier if you stretch them slowly and carefully than if you rush them and injure yourself!

    Take care, be careful, take it slow and be sure to keep them clean! Give it a twist every so often as well to ensure that it doesn’t stick in the hole. If it continues to be painful in a week then pop in to your local piercing specialist who’ll be able to take a look and advise you on what course of action to take next.

    I hope this has helped – good luck and have a fab holiday!

  20. Howdy hi,

    i got a bit of a problem i think, i stretched from 6mm to 8mm after 3 weeks (Really dumb thing to do) there was no blood and it didnt hurt that much, but im pretty sure i heard a tear after putting the taper in, so i went back to 6mm and waited a month to stretch again. im on 8mm now but my right side has less elasticity, and also it looks lower and floppier than other side. the hole looks bigger and my lobe sags more compare to the left. the left ear/lobe sits at an angle which looks correct. im sure i damaged it. i just wanna know where i go from here? i would like to stretch eventurally to 18mm at most someday. do i need to take the ring out and let the hole close up completely then start all over again? or am i thinking that i have messed up my ear permanently and just have to deal with it, and if thats the case what would it look like at 18mm?

    thanks so much for help…..love your work!


  21. Hi, i have recently moved my left ear up to a size 6, and after accidently sleeping on it my ear is red and swollen, and small amounts of blood/puss is discharged, so obviously there is a small infection. There isn’t much pain, but I was just wondering the best methods for cleaning, as well as Can I leave the 6 in (which would be ideal) or should i move back down to an 8 or 10?

  22. Hey sammy09,

    It sounds like you have caused a bit of damage – a 6mm to 8mm in three weeks is fine if the ear has a chance to heal up properly beforehand, but you may have rushed the process a bit too quickly. Don’t panic! Lots of people email me with mishaps like this 🙂

    I would recommend taking the taper out and letting your ear rest for a bit – especially if you want to go upto to 18mm. Keep the wound clean with Dial soap or salt water solution (or both – but don’t let the salt water dry your skin out) and let the swelling go down – you’ll be able to assess the damage better once the ear is back to normal.

    If you have torn the ear, there may be tissue damage so I’d advise you to go to a piercing expert to get them to take a proper look at it before you continue stretching it. It’s hard for me to give good advise to someone who I haven’t seen but I’ll do my best 🙂 If the swelling goes down and the pain stops and you do feel it’s okay to stretch again just make sure you try it more slowly next time. Going upto 18mm is alot of stress for your ear and will need a longer amount of time between healing to ensure that by the time it has stretched the tissue in the ear, it is strong enough to maintain the hole without fear of it splitting or sagging.

    It’s often alot harder to stretch one lobe than it is the other, because no one’s body is symmetrical, but with a bit of patience and care you can get two even-looking lobes – even if one takes a bit longer than the other one!

    I hope I’ve helped ease your mind a bit – as I said, get it checked out by a piercing expert and see what they have to say; and happy stretching in the future!

  23. Hey jvan4 🙂

    I don’t think you have done any major damage – it sounds like you have been doing a good job of keeping them clean and stretching slowly. I don’t think you need to go down a taper size at the moment. I would recommend keeping your ears clean with Dial Antibacterial soap, a salt water solution (as I’ve said to others though; don’t let the salt water dry your skin out or it will become sore again), or TCP if you can stand the smell. Dial works wonders for piercing because it won’t sting when you put it on.

    Keep pushing the taper out, too so you can clean around the INSIDE of the lobe and the taper, as well as the outside – this may be a bit tricky whilst it’s swollen so take time over it, but it’s worth doing especially if you have a small infection there. It will also help to soak your ears with cold water throughout the day to help the swelling go down quickly. And twist the taper to stop it sticking – it will become a bit sticky with yukky infection so clean it and twist it regularly.

    If the infection and/or swelling isn’t gone within a week it might be worth visiting your doctor – they may need to prescribe antibiotics, although it sounds like you’ve only got a very small one so keeping it clean should do the job! This is a common problem for people stretching – you can’t help sleeping on it sometimes! 🙂 Make sure that the infection and swelling are FULLY healed if you decide to stretch again. And don’t forget the cleaning!

  24. I seariously need a answer from somebody who knows!
    I stretched my ears to 10 mm now.. One of the ears has been bleeding since it was on 4mm. The other is just fine. I had some old holes in my ears before, and I took new holes before I started to stretch, because the old ones was bad placed. The new hole in the ear that is bleeding was right under the old one, so when I stretcht that ear, the two holes have become one, is that why its bleeding? This problem ear, has been a little bit thick since I started, even though I clean it 3 times every day since the beginning! Have I done some tissue damage, and should take out the taper and start over, the same will happen again, because of the other hole. As for the “bad” ear, its very easy to stretch, and its not red and thick.. its just bloody inside… Dont hurt especally much either.. Hmm.. Sorry for my bad school English, I hope you know what I mean:)

  25. Hey svimehue 🙂

    I do think you should take them out. Quite often when you have your ears pierced more than once it does cause tissue damage – which will be why the holes have met up. It’s good that you were keeping them clean, but it sounds like you may have a small infection in there – especially if it’s bleeding. Don’t panic though – just take the tapers out and keep the ears clean, wait for the swelling to do down and the ears to heal completely – if the other ear is okay (ie, no blood or pain), then you could leave that one in. but please make sure you take out the one that is painful and bleeding – you could do more harm than good.

    I’d have to recommend that you go and see a piercing expert before you decide to stretch again though, because I can’t say for certain whether it would be wise to stretch again until I’ve seen the ear – at least if they take a look at it they can tell you if there has been permanent damage or how long to wait if you are able to stretch again.

    I hope this helps, and sorry I can’t help more! Good luck – I hope you get it sorted – email me if you need amore advice, or just to let me know how you got on!

  26. Hi Kraft Lady,

    I’ve been stretching my ears and am currently on 6mm. Yesterday I went to do the stretch from 6-8mm and faced the only difficulty I’ve had so far, they just didn’t want to budge on and I didn’t want to force them as I was afraid of tearing.

    I haven’t had any problems up till now and hardly any soreness even in my previous stretches. Any tips on getting up this 2mm stretch? I’m using surgical steel tapers as I’ve read they are the best, but a friend has suggested using paintbrush necks snipped off to ease up to 8mm would this be recommended? They would be porous like plastic tapers which is bad cause they can more easily breed bacteria.

  27. It’s good idea to take it slowly, so well done for not jamming it through your ear! 🙂 You’re right – it could cause a tear. I wouldn’t recommend using the end of a paintbrush either – this could breed bacteria and cause a nasty infection, besides being uncomfortable if you lay on it in your sleep. You’re right to use a steel taper – it has much better antibacterial qualities. Once the ear has FULLY healed you can go on to experiment with other materials – the fun bit! 🙂

    I would suggest using a warm, damp flannel and massaging your lobe before you stretch. This helps the blood to circulate and should make it alot easier to stretch. Spend a good ten minutes doing this, until you feel your ear heating up (don’t hurt yourself!). You could also try a little lubrication – but not too much or it may slip and you’ll have a hole somewhere it shouldn’t be! 🙂 Water can be used, or a mixture of Vitamin E and tea-tree oil is also a good lubricant. There are lots of variants; some people use a little baby oil but make sure you wash your ear throroughly after the stretch so there’s no residue left.

    Also, remember the taper doesn’t have to be pushed through fully on your first attempt – ease it in over a few days; the o-rings should hold it in place even if it’s not that far in your ear. Push it in a tiny bit each day, after massaging your lobes and you should find it slips through after about a week. Don’t rush it – you will do damage, but take it slowly (as you are!) and you’ll have a perfect stretch!

  28. Hi hi!
    I really found this interesting because I’m 13 and i want to stretch my ears (but not like, super huge) but heres the thing, when i turned 12, i got my ears pierced and all, but they got infected because it turns out im allergic to the 14k gold, and some of the skin got stuck in the hole, causing an infection.
    after a bigillion shots and surgury (yeah, they actually knocked me out to give me the surgury) the infection went away and healed up, but now, no earrings. ]]=

    i kinda dont want to get my ears pierced again because i dont want that to happen again (i got them pierced in jan. and the surgury was dec. 07. it really sucked).
    what should i do??

  29. Hey!

    So i have been stretching my ears for a while and i leave them 3/4 weeks before doing it again. Today i went from a 6mm to an 8mm, i relise that jumping was a very big mistake and learnt my lesson. It bled slightly and is now quite painfull, it burns (only 45 mins ago since i did it). Im worried about downsizing as if i take it out, it will bleed and i have a fear of bleeding (really weird how i like having piercings, but terrified of blood). Would it be ok to keep it in, even if its painfull? its very red and a bit swallon. Any advice would be great thank you.

  30. It’s me again, just popping in to say that since the last time i commented you i’ve got up to 10mm, i was just wondering if it’s worth attempting to put in my acrylic tunnel yet? it’s been two days since i did the idiotic jump of 6mm – 10mm, i know i was silly to do it but i bought the wrong taper and didn’t have any money left.
    Just wondered if it’s worth waiting a couple of days/months/weeks until i put it in?

  31. Hi peacedh!

    Apologies for not getting back to you sooner – my inbox has been over-flowing with ear stretching questions recently! 🙂 But it’s all good. I hope you are well.

    *Ouch* having your ears pierced sounded like a painful experience! To be honest, it’s probably not what you want to hear but after an operation on your ears I don’t think it would be a good idea for you to start stretching. If you don’t have your ears pierced and don’t want to get them done again, there’s no way that you can begin stretching your ears – it all starts with a fresh piercing. You should be smiling, though; at least your ears have gone back to normal after what sounds like a truly painful experience! you could really damage your ears if you start stretching them, and I think the experience would be very painful for you as well, so it’s probably best not to start stretching them.

    Besides, you’re very young – you’ve got plenty of time to decide what you want to do, and I would recommend waiting a few years and seeing how your ears are in the future before deciding to stretch. Stretching has always been around – ancient tribes used to stretch their ears and so on, so the concept will never go away – there will always be people who want to stretch their ears, but the craze WILL eventually end, so you need to be sure it’s something you want to do for you, not for the craze that’s sweeping the country! 🙂

  32. Hi taylor8bit

    Again apologies for the delay – it’s been so busy with queries around here lately! I hope you’re well and I’m sorry that this has taken so long to reach you, I hope it hasn’t caused more trouble with your ears.
    Right. Let’s do this! 🙂 Hmmm…. I can understand your fear of blood! You were right to do it slowly in the first place. I think that leaving it in, as long as you keep it really clean and keep twisting it (which will be painful but will be even more painful if it is left in and gets stuck!), then you should be okay. Three to four weeks is a good amount of time to leave the ear to heal, but I think you may need to wait a bit longer before you stretch again this time as the ear will need to give itself time to heal.
    If the ear is bleeding a lot then you should take it out – no doubt about it. Don’t use a stretcher to plug up the hole because it will cause a nasty infection and may get stuck in your ear. But if the bleeding has stopped and it is just a bit swollen then keep it clean, keep twisting it so it doesn’t stick and leave it a longer time before you stretch again and you should be fine! You could also try soaking the ear with cold water to get the swelling down a bit and make it a bit more comfortable.

  33. nuge123,
    Hello you again! LOL.

    6-10mm?! Crazy stuff! But at least you know it 🙂 How do they feel? I can’t see that they would have healed after just a couple of days, as that’s a pretty big stretch! But if there’s no bleeding then I’d say you could try an acrylic tunnel after a week or so – as long as the swelling has gone down, there’s no blood and there’s not so much of that gross cheesey stuff forming! 🙂 You’ve done well to do a big stretch quickly successfully, so don’t get too impatient and ruin it by putting an acrylic tunnel in too soon – it could cause an infection and you’re doing so well at the moment! Also don’t forget that they say about 8mm (although it varies from person to person), is the ‘no going back’ zone, so once you go bigger it’s very hard to get your ears back to how they were. This means it will take a bit longer for you ear to get used to the big stretch because your skin hasn’t been given the time to become more elastic, so take care when putting new stretchers in that it won’t tear your ear. A good week at least is what I’d give it! 🙂

    Other than that, great job, and very brave! 🙂
    I think I’ll start getting people to send some pictures in I’d love to see them!
    Have a fab day, and you know if there’s anything else I can help with, I’ll be here!

    Viki x

  34. Heya…
    So i went from 4mm-8mm yesterday, doesn’t hurt anymore when I’m not playing with it (wows, really did at the time xD), but there was a little bit of kinda brown watery blood stuff when i woke up… in and around it. So if i just take the plug out a couple of times every day and wash it out it with anti-septic should be fine right? (maybe have it out in the shower to get rid of all the dried stuff?)
    Nice site btw, kinda wish i had seen it BEFORE i went through all that fun haha…

  35. Hi Raven!
    Yup, just make sure you keep it very clean and keep twisting it so it doesn’t stick. The ear shouldn’t bleed when it’s stretched, but quite often can get a bit sticky over-night if you’ve been laying on it. Make sure you push the taper out and actually clean inside the ear lobe as well as around the outside, and a couple of times a day should do it.

    Don’t forget to wait until it’s FULLY healed before attempting your next stretch! And if you have any more problems feel free to drop me an email anytime 🙂
    Hope this helps!


  36. hey, im 13 and i got my left ear pieced bout 7ish weeks ago i think, when i got it done the lady ask me if i was gunna stretch it, i said yeh but only to about 10mm till im older, so she tolod em to wait 6 weeks b4 i do anything. so after about 4 weeks i was sick of waiting, and bought a 2mm expander and put that through in the shower, it didnt hurt, only a bit of burnign for a hour or 2. the next day i could just notice it was there but it didnt “hurt”, anyway after aout 2 weeks i put a 4mm in, thats hurt more then the 2mm but the next day it was perfect and didnt hurt a bit. then after i think 3 or 4 days it was monday (2 days ago) and i was at school hanging with friends at lunch and everything, and i had a 6mm for my next stretch, but seeing the size of a 6mm i just wanted it in then, so i took it out and licked it abit for lube, then took my 4mm out and pushed the 6mm in and when it was in it hurt (but no blood or anything) for about 5 minutes then i couldnt feel it and i could turn it without it hurting, and now (wednesday) it still hasnt hurnt a bit. So now i just gotta get a 8mm but this time im GOING to WAIT atleast 1 orr 2 WEEKS b4 i stretch me ear again. then after my left ear is 10mm, ill do tte other ear.

    thanks for reading

  37. hi..
    i need to know what could be the highest i can streach my ear to so that it will be able to go back 2 normal. i have a 3mm at the monent and all my friends tell me i can get up to an 8mm

  38. Hi clothsfreak,
    It’s always a tough call because everybody is completely different. I knew someone who went up to a 4mm for a couple of years and then took them out and they went back to normal in just a couple of months. Going up to an 8mm is usually the point of no return; if your body has been healing fairly quickly after stretches then it’s likely that it would go back to normal when you decide you want to take them out, but I can’t say for certain because everyone reacts differently.

    The best advice I can give you is not to stretch your ears for a fad; it does tend to be a more permanent feature so if you want to go up further then you have to be sure that’s where you want to go – even if the ear heals and the holes close over, you probably wouldn’t be able to ever stretch them again or get them pierced again due to the amount of scar tissue left behind, so just be sure that it’s something you want to explore further. And, if you do, don’t rush up to an 8mm – a 3mm to 8mm is a huge stretch and should be done gradually, preferably over a period of a few months for the ear to be able to heal properly in between stretches.

    I hope that helps! don’t be pressured into doing it for fashion – do it because you want to! 🙂 (And because it looks awesome! LOL)

    Have a fantastic weekend – let me know how you get on!

  39. Hi Brandon!

    Goodness. You have been stretching far too quickly and you will damage your ears if you’re not careful! Okay, firstly, waiting is really important. Your ear HAS to have a least 3-4 weeks between stretches like that because it needs time to fully heal before you start stretching again, otherwise you could split the ear or cause a blow out, and it will cause permanent damage. And hurt like hell, as well as giving you cauliflower ears for an indefinite amount of time. It may look healed from the outside but the tissue inside the ear needs to heal up properly.

    You also need to be in a clean environment to stretch – at school is not the best place! 🙂 You need to wash your hands properly and soak the ear with a warm cloth so it relaxes the tissue and it will be easier to stretch. When you push the taper through, it doesn’t have to go all the way – that is why there are o-rings to hold it in place where it is comfortable, and then you push it through slowly day-by-day until you have the full length of the stretcher in your ear. And you certainly shouldn’t be licking it to lube it! You could end up getting a really nasty infection in your ear – you can use just plain water to lubricate it a bit, or some Vitamin E oil… but never lick it!

    You’re doing the right thing by twisting it – but don’t push it in so far that it hurts to twist it, because it could get stuck and that’s a *really* painful and nasty experience. You’ve also got to make sure you clean it properly at least twice a day, and with CLEAN hands. You need to push the taper out slightly and clean around the inside of the hole with a cotton bud to remove all of the nasty gunk that accumulates under the taper.

    10mm is a long way to go – well done for gettting that far, but please don’t rush it because you will pay in the long-term. Also remember that your ears will probably never go back to their original form if you stretch up to a 10mm – 8mm is generally thought of as ‘the point of no return’ (although it does vary from person to person), so be sure you want to go that big because it will be with you forever.

    Good luck, and I hope you get on alright! Take it slowly, keep it clean and don’t lick it! LOL!
    Let me know how you get on,

  40. Hola ma’am! i just today had torn my ears and was kinda freaking about because even though ive been stretching for 2 years i stopped for about a year and kinda forgot all about what to do when stuff goes wrong and what not haha.
    but lets see, today is saturday and on wednesday i started the day with 1/2” plugs and i put some 5/8 plugs in my ears. at first all i felt was pressure nothing bad so i thought nothing of it but when i woke up thursday they hurt so bad. again i thought nothing of it, theyre bigger its normal. but they still hurt up until today. about an hour ago i decided they hurt too much so i took them out only to find that they started bleeding and thats never really happened to me before. it honestly didnt surprise me and i didnt freak out. so i cleaned my 1/2” plugs and put some emu oil and vasailine on my ears then put the smaller plugs back in. i know that this was probably the best thing i could have done but what do i do about eventually going to 5/8” again? its my goal size and i was so close! ahh haha. i also have a stubborn left ear especailly because i rushed about a year ago and developed a “push back” if you know what that is, i cant explain it all to well. what would you suggest i do as to stretching sometime again? thanks! :]

  41. Hello, I recently went from 10mm – 14mm after having a 10mm in for a month, i stretched it with my skin coloured plug which i had, the next day I put my Silicone Tunnel in, it was okay, stung a bit, but nothing too aweful, then i took it out today as i have school tomorrow and need to get the hider in, and it turned out it was bleeding, i have decided to keep my silicone hider plug in for the week, but is it worth doing anything else?
    Thank you.

  42. Hi hadanoma,

    Don’t panic 🙂 It sounds like you’ve been doing a fairly good job so far! It’s quite likely that you’ve stretched too quickly – especially if it is bleeding – the more you stretch the harder it can get because it’s a lot more stress on your skin. You did the right thing by taking them out. Did you say you were stretching with plugs? If you want to move up to a bigger size, you really should use a stainless steel taper. They’re great because they have excellent antibacterial properties (you shouldn’t really stretch with anything else – other materials can be worn once the ear has healed), and you can slide them in bit-by-bit, so you don’t have to go up a size in one go, but do it gradually. This is particularly important if you have a stubborn ear!
    On the stubborn ear, I recommend massaging the lobe before beginning the stretch, either with warm fingers or a warm damp cloth. You need to do this for 10-15 minutes until the lobe feels wamer and more ‘pliable’. This helps the blood to flow more easily in the ear and will make it easier to stretch. You could also use a lubricant such as plain old water or a little Vitamin E oil but not too much or it may slip out of your hands!
    Don’t forget to clean them at least twice a day, too – either with a salt water solution or an antibacterial soap of some kind. You need to push the taper out a little bit so you can clean right around the inside of the lobe. It sounds like you may have a small infection so keep the area really clean until it has healed – if it persists you might want to pop to a doctor to get some mild antibiotics which will clear it up in no time.
    Also, don’t start to stretch until your ear has fully healed from the last stretch – about 6-8 weeks is the ‘norm’ but it can take longer or less time dependant on the individual. It’s worth taking time over it because you get a better result in the long-term.
    You will be able to stretch again but wait for the ear to heal properly first – if you’ve caused too much tissue damage even letting it heal might not be enough and it could be prone to splitting in the future, so stretch it up slowly using the steel taper rather than a plug. It is especially important to let it heal since you have had problems with your ears before. If they have been damaged too much it might not be a good idea to stretch to a larger size.

  43. Hi nuge123!

    How’s it going? I think you really should be stretching with a steel taper rather than a silicon plug – an extra 4mm is a long stretch, and if you use a steel taper you can do this more gradually causing less stress to your ear. I realise that having a taper in must be difficult at school! (They have no appreciation of individuality…!), but it’s really important to do it right or you could permanently damage them and you won’t be able to stretch them again.

    If the bleeding has stopped then I would leave the silicon hider in for the moment, until it has healed up properly, but be sure to keep the lobe clean – it’s a tedious thing to remember but it is really important! Push the plug out and clean around the inside of the lobe as well – especially if it has been bleeding. If it’s still bleeding then you must take the plug out and let the ear heal before you start stretching again, otherwise you’ll end up with a painful nasty infection in there! If your ear is swollen you could use a cold damp cloth to take the swelling down and make it a bit more comfortable for yourself.

    Just don’t try and do it too quickly! – It’s the Christmas holidays soon so take some time out then to stretch it properly with a taper (as long as it is fully healed from the last stretch by then), and then you can be wearing a plug in time for school again ;-D

  44. hey there.

    at the moment i have my left ear as 2mm and my right at 4mm.
    the highest i want to go is 8mm because i will be taking them out next year for modelling.
    i was just wondering if my ear will go back to normal after stretching to 8mm?
    thanks, (:

  45. This information was really helpful but I have a few questions. I’m at an 8g or 3.3mm and everything is going fine except I have metal ones in that for what they are are heavy and was wondering if they will stretch my ears to an oval rather than a circle? Also I stretched my ears a year or two ago but used plastic ones and they got infected. Is there a wrong or right type of plastic? Or should I just stick to metal?

  46. Hey staceyyyyk!

    It’s always hard to say what the maximum you can go to before it won’t go back to normal is – everyone’s body is different. The general (and I mean general!) rule of thumb is that 8mm (0g) is the point of no return, but it can also depend on how long you’ve had it stretched for. If it’s been at 8mm for a while, completely healed and you wear a stretcher all the time then it’s likely it won’t close up, but if you’ve only done it for a couple of weeks then it should go back to normal, but it won’t be a fast process.
    Ear stretching is something you need to take seriously before committing to large sizes, so make sure it’s what you really want before you go any bigger. 🙂
    And good luck with the modelling!!! If you need any more help feel free to drop me an email. Have a fab Christmas!

  47. Hey truthbehindtheblonde!

    Cool name, by the way 🙂

    You are absolutely right to use steel tapers – metal has the best antibacterial properties for stretching ears. Acrylic/plastic plugs and stretchers are fantastic for healed ears, but you shouldn’t do your stretching with them because they can cause infections as they’re slightly porous to bacteria (gross! 😀 ). They shouldn’t stretch your ear to an oval unless you can really feel them pulling down on your ear. You can get different weight tapers so it might be worth having a look out for some lighter ones if the weight is making them uncomfortable for you. 🙂

  48. Alright, I have a little scenario and I was wondering if you might know what it could be. About 5 years ago, I started stretching my ears. When I first started I stretched slowly going from a 20g down to about a 12 before I made a drastic jump. From there I went to 2 within maybe two weeks. It bled a little (which I know is bad) but eventually healed without a blowout or any real damage. After about a year I took them out. Then about a year and a half ago I stretched them again, without any problems. This time I was at about a 1/2″. (I wasn’t 18 yet, and my parents didn’t like the idea) So I took them out, again. Now I’m trying to re-stretch them, the right ear, everything is fine. Its going through smoothly, no unusual pain, nothing. But the right ear hurts horribly, and It takes so much effort to get even the tiniest taper through (about an 8g, while the other ear it slides through like butter) It’s not too big, I know that. The hole is about a 10g, so going to an 8 shouldn’t hurt like hell. And the left ear lobe doesn’t seem as fat? as the right one, if that makes any sense. I was just wondering if you know what it could be, maybe it healed weird from the previous time I stretched it (and the very last time I did it slowly and didn’t jump or anything crazy)

    Thank you. (=

  49. hi there krafty lady, ive recently started to stretch my ears and im havin some trouble stretching to 6mm so far every other stretch has been tougher than the other 2mm alittle 3mm no probs 4mm ever so slight bleeding 5mm straight in with no feel as if it streched and now my 6mm taper just wont go in, and i dont wanna push too hard cuz of it bleeding again. ive got it in as far as it’ll go and put a o ring on any advise would be gr8 cheers av a guden. coo!

  50. uncledanielle: Hello!

    I’m SO sorry for the delay in responding to you – I have been bombarded with questions over the festive season – I think people had put stretchers on their crimbo lists! 🙂 I hope you’re well and your ears are ok. How are you getting on with the stretching?

    I think you’re spot on with your own diagnosis – your ear has probably healed a bit weird because of the previous times you have stretched it. In this case I wouldn’t recommend stretching at all – once damage is done it can be hard to repair, and if you carry on stretching it could lead to surgery in an extreme case. If you do want to continue and the ear hasn’t caused you any pain, isn’t bleeding or weeping and heals fine after the first few stretches then you should be okay to continue.

    You’ll need to stretch a lot slower than the first time, (it sounds like you have been ; that’s great!) – if your ear has been previously stretched and healed you’re more likely to get a blowout stretching again, so take it really slowly! Try some lubrication on the stretcher to help it slide in a bit easier, and massage your lobes to get the blood flowing to them before you put the stretcher in. This will also make the stretch a bit easier. Some ears are more stubbourn than others because your body is never symmetrical. If it takes more time to stretch one then take the time to do it – the result will be worth it! You might end up with odd ears to begin with, but once you have worked up to a size you’re happy with then you will be able to even them up.
    If the ear is painful it sounds like you need to spend a bit more time on it, also try soaking it with ice AFTER you have stretched the ear to get the swelling down a bit and make it a bit more comfortable. Sleeping on it can also cause some discomfort so try not to role on it too much in the night if you can help it!

    Please really think about stretching again before you do it, though – be very careful, especially if there is scar-tissue damage. A body piercing expert would never re-pierce somewhere that has been previously pierced as the skin is not as strong due to the scar tissue inside, so you need to consider this before stretching your ears again.

    I hope this helps – please drop me an email and let me know how you get on and if you need any more advice 🙂

  51. keithycoo:

    Don’t panic, I think you’ve just been stretching a little too quickly, which is a very, very common problem! 🙂 The stretcher doesn’t have to go all the way in the first time – the idea is to push it in gradually every day over a few days, and use the o-ring to hold it in where it’s comfortable.

    You could try several things to make it a bit easier to stretch – and ALWAYS make sure the previous stretch has healed first otherwise it WILL hurt and you could risk bleeding, an infection, or even a blowout if you stretch too fast. Nasty :-S !
    Use a warm damp cloth to massage the lobe before starting to stretch – this will increase the bloodflow and should relax the ear a little, making it easier to push the taper in. Also, make sure YOU are relaxed. Too often people want to spend five minutes stretching and get on with other things, but you need to put a decent amount of time by, stick some groovy music on to get you relaxed and give your ear some love! 🙂 You being tense makes your body tense, and this doesn’t making stretching any easier!

    Also you could try a bit of lube on the taper (it all gets a bit erotic!). You could use water, but an oil such as Vitamin E oil, Emu oil or even extra virgin olive oil are all good. DON’T use Vaseline or any other petrolium based lubricants or creams. And don’t use too much otherwise you’ll make the taper really slippery, which also isn’t good for stretching! (Unless you want two holes in one ear! ;-D )

    Time is the most important thing – take the time and the end result will be worth waiting for, rush it and you could find the only thing you’re waiting for is surgery to get it all fixed! 😀 But I think you’ll be fine. Have fun, stay safe, take it slow and let me know how you get on! Email me if you need anymore help at all 🙂

  52. hi kraftylady,
    All sorted now, thanks for the advise, its all about not rushing like you said!!!! i put the original back in and waited a couple more weeks then tried it again and it slipped in no probs just the tight feeling i have bought some jojoba oil which was recomended for lube and regular massages, so thanks again. tc COO!

  53. hi,
    I just decided to stretch my ears, i had it pierced about 5 weeks ago and bought a 2mm, 3mm and a 4mm taper, i tried the 2mm but could only get it half way through, is this normal should i leave it half way through and wait longer, if so how long should i wait before i try to push it some more.


  54. I hope everything is cool with your ears 🙂

    2mm is a great size to start at, so well done on that choice! Pierced ears normally take about 6 weeks to heal up, but 5 weeks should be okay as long as you’re using steel tapers. They don’t always go all the way through when you first start, so don’t panic. always push it in only as far as it will COMFORTABLY go and use the o-rings to hold it in place. As soon as the burning sensation stops and the ear has healed a bit (a few days to a couple of weeks dependant on how quickly your body heals) you can push the taper the rest of the way through.

    Sometimes it helps to massage the lobe before inserting the taper, to increase the bloodflow and make the ear more ‘pliable’ to stretch. It can also help to soak it with some warm water, and a little bit of lubrication on the taper (non-petrolium based lubricants like vitamin E oil are great) can also help it slide in a bit better. Don’t use too much or it might slip out of your hand.

    Most importantly, RELAX! When you’re doing your own body mods, it can get a little tense – as soon as you find you’re struggling and your face starts burning, stop, relax, and try again a bit later. Being tense doesn’t help when you’re trying to push something through your ear! Don’t rush it, and it’ll find it’s way in eventually 🙂 You need to make sure it’s healed properly (a few weeks) before you start on the next stretch.

    I hope this helps! If you need any more info please feel free to drop me an email.
    Have a fab week!

  55. Hi. My Names Connor. I have a 16-18mm strecher in atm. Has been in for about 3-4 months. I was wondering how far my next strech can be without damaging?. Thanks

  56. Hi Connor!

    Hope you’re well 🙂 Well done for getting so far on your stretching, you’ve obviously been doing it properly and I bet they look awesome!

    It’s hard to say how far you can go without damaging your ears – lobes come in all shapes and sizes, and it is different for everyone. The best advice I can offer without seeing your ears, is to check the lobes – if they are still very thick and fleshy around the edge of your tapers/plugs then it is likely you will be able to get a few more millimeters out of them. If the lobe appears to be thinning and sagging then it’s best to stop stretching. When you’ve stretched this far, you should only stretch a couple of millimeters at most to avoid splitting the ear, and ensure you wait a few weeks before stretching again so that you can safely judge wether the lobe can be stretched some more.

    For some people, 8mm is the most they can stretch – yet I’ve seen plenty of others with huge lobes, 80mm! It’s down to you as an individual to judge and be sensible 🙂 If you’re really unsure, see a body piercing expert who can take a proper look and advise you on seeing your ears.

    Let me know how you get on and please feel free to drop me an email should you need any more advice!
    Have a fab day, and great stretching – well done!

  57. Hey,
    Ive had my ears pierced for a couple years now, i’ve been at 8mm for over 3 months. I Just tried to go to 10mm and it really hurt, more than it normally does so I stopped, and put my 8 back in. Should I just suck it up and push harder? I don’t want a blowout but I also dont have a high pain tolerance. Advice?

  58. Definitely don’t push harder if it’s already really painful. It can be difficult to stretch sometimes, the best advice I can offer is to relax completely before you start. Take an hour or so out of your day so you don’t have to feel rushed! Massage the lobe for 10 minutes or so beforehand to get the blood-flowing to the area before you start, and you could also try rubbing it with a warm damp cloth. This will make the lobe more pliable – cold lobes are harder to stretch! You should be using a steel taper, in which case if you can’t push it all the way in stop at a point which is comfortable and use the o-rings to hold it in place where it is. In a few days when the swelling has subsided you should be able to push it in a bit further until you reach the end of the taper and the 10mm mark!
    Sometimes it helps to apply a bit of Vitamin E oil or other NON-Petroleum based lubrication (ie: don’t use vaseline). You just need a small amount on the taper – not too much or it will be too slippy to hold! It shouldn’t be too painful – you should get a tingling throbbing burning sensation, but it shouldn’t be too much for you to bear – if it is you’ve pushed it in too far and need to slide it out a bit and hold the taper in place where it is 🙂

    I hope this helps – you’ve done well to get as far as you have. Take it slowly from now on – your lobes will be thinner than they were before so you need to take care, but hopefully following the advice above will help a bit 🙂 Any more questions then please feel free to drop me another email!

  59. Hi thekraftylady,
    I just recently got my right ear pierced so I could start gauging my ears. I waited the recommended 7-8 weeks for it to heal and then bought 14g’s. (Tapers to be exact) the place that I got them just recommended that I go from a 14 to a 10 so I disregarded the 12’s and bought those. I decided to put them in in the shower. I did so.. The left one slid in no problem but I had a little trouble getting the right one in. It stung a little bit but eventually after massaging and running it under the water, it went it. It throbbed for maybe ten mins and then it was fine. Just a little sore. I waited about a week and decided to put the 10g’s in the same way I did the 14’s. They went in part way in both ears but as I started to push it as far into the right ear as I did the left it started to hurt really bad. I tried a few more times and then decided that it wasn’t going to go through so I just put the 10’s back in. I noticed that there was a little blood (very little) when I again took the right gauge out. So I cleaned it and the bleeding stopped. So I put it back in and it seems fine now. Please, what should I do? Should I buy the 12g’s and gradually upsize instead of skipping?

    Sorry so long. I just want to make sure I’m doing everything right.

  60. Hi jedbynature,

    It sounds like you’re doing fine, but maybe trying to stretch a bit too quickly. You need to leave the ear to heal completely before stretching it again to a larger size. Even though the ear can appear healed after a week on the outside, the tissue inside is still knitting together, so you need to leave it up to a month or more before you start the next stretch. There shouldn’t be any blood at all – if you find that one stretcher is being a bit stubborn then as well as massaging the lobe you should make sure you only push the taper through as far as it will go COMFORTABLY, then use the rubber o-rings to hold it in place. You can then push it through a bit more each day until it is the size of the taper, then you need to leave it to heal before starting on a bigger stretcher.
    It’s a good idea to upsize gradually, rather than skipping sizes – especially if you’ve experienced discomfort throughout the process. Just remember that the longer it takes, the healthier the ear will be and will produce a much better stretch, without the risk of a blowout or anything nasty! And if you’re having problems pushing it in try not to get too stressed out – stress can cause the body to tense up and make it harder (and more painful!) to stretch your ears. Put the time aside to stretch them, as well as the time to heal.

  61. Hello,

    Probably a silly question but are you meant to leave the taper in your ear when you sleep? Because I’ve started stretching using a 2mm acrylic taper but been taking it out before bed after leaving it in my ear for the whole day with a couple of cleaning breaks and then reinserting it when I wake up, but I feel that during the night the hole shrinks after having expanded quite a bit throughout the day, so the whole process seems rather slow!?

    Thankssss! x

  62. Hello Lai,

    When you first start to stretch your ears you should be using a steel or pyrex taper – acrylic tapers are fine for completely healed ears, but acrylic is not antibacterial and could cause an infection, so I’d advise changing as soon as you can if possible.

    When you first put the taper in the ear you should really be leaving it in all night – constantly taking it out and putting it back in right at the beginning of a stretch could cause damage because the ear can’t heal up properly. If it gets in the way try using a bit of medical tape to tape it safely behind your ear whilst you sleep. They can be a bit uncomfortable, and you need to make sure that as soon as you wake up you twist it so it doesn’t stick and clean the taper – pop it out so you can clean the inside of the lobe but push the taper back in afterwards.

    After a few weeks when the ear has fully healed you should be able to leave the taper out for longer periods of time and eventually overnight. In fact, leaving it out overnight once it’s healed is the right way to care for your ear, as it gives it a bit of a break and allows the tissue to strengthen back up overnight.

    The process IS slow, regardless of whether or not you have been taking the taper out at night – don’t rush it. Even if you ears look healed on the outside they could still be healing on the inside so stretching too soon can cause nasty things like blowouts (*bleugh*!). Take it easy, keep them really clean and you’ll have fantastic looking lobes! 😉

  63. hi ,
    i’ve started to stretch my ear yesterday what i think are acrylic tapers. i say singular ear and plural tapers because i’m stretching both piercings in my right lobe (i’ve started with 2mm), it has swollen as expected. now i’m writting because i’ve noticed when twisting, that there i some blood and a tiny bit of gunk. i took it straight out cleaned with salt water and cleaned the tapers (and left them in salt water). i left it alone for about half hour cleaned it again and put them back in. what do you advise? i really don’t know what to do, all i know is i don’t want to take it out. as i don’t want to leave it to heal up because i know that having your ear re-peirced in the same place isn’t a good idea, plus the time scale for it to heal,re-pierce, heal again, to be ready to stretch again. also i’m a keen skater and have been skating all day therefore sweating alot, is getting sweat into them a bad thing? do you think i’ll be ok to leave them in and give them time to heal them selves? shall i do one at a time? or do you think i need to take them out? please help!!!

  64. hi kraft lady i recently gauged my ear to a 10g and i feel stick on the inside how can i make this stop.

  65. erm hey i just stretched up to a 4mm from a 2mm i had the 2mm in for about a month i changed from a taper to a cresent i stretched to 4mm last night there was no blood but it was a little stiff ..so i got it all the way throught after a few hours of leaving the hole for a while and i took it out today to clean it and no blood came out but there was some when i touched my ear is this ok ? my ear stings a little bit when i touch it but is that because i just stretched it ? Thanks 🙂

  66. You really need to start stretching your ears with stainless steel or pyrex tapers, (although steel is the cheaper of the two and easier to work with). Acrylic tapers are not antibacterial and could cause an infection in the ear until it is fully healed; then you’ll be able to put pretty much whatever you like in there! A bit of gunk is usual when you stretch, and it’s really important to take the taper out at least twice a day to clean the taper AND the inside of the ear lobe; you’re absolutely right to keep the tapers clean but you need to keep the inside of the lobe clean as well. Salt water is great for that 🙂 It is particularly important to keep them clean if you sweat a lot – it’s not bad for the sweat to get in there so long as you clean it regularly.

    As for stretching two piercings in the same ear, I’d advise to take the stretching very slowly. You really should change to using steel tapers, and give them the proper amount of time (about 6 weeks) in between stretches. I would highly recommend doing one at a time if you’re stretching two in the same ear – this will give you a chance to see how strong the first hole is before committing to a second. If you rush the process – especially with two stretched holes in one ear you could risk a blowout or splitting the ear. Unfortunately once ear tissue has been damaged you can’t get it re-pierced so it’s worth taking the time and doing it properly in the first place. The fact that you have a bit of blood could mean that it is too much of a strain on your ear. I’d really advise going to see a piercing specialist so they can take a look and advise you on what they can see 🙂

  67. I am not quite sure what you mean by “feel a stick on the inside”… If the taper is sticking in your ear, then you are probably not cleaning it and twisting it enough. When you first start stretching it is essential that you twist the taper (with CLEAN HANDS!) every so often to prevent it from sticking. You also need to clean it at least twice a day with a salt water solution or unfragranced soap. When you clean it you should be taking the taper out and cleaning the taper, as well as cleaning around the INSIDE and outside of the ear lobe to get rid of the gunk and cheesey discharge that builds up in there. Keeping your ears (and hands when touching them) clean is really important when you’re stretching, and regularly twisting the taper should all stop so much stickiness and the ear will heal much faster.

  68. Okay, firstly, you shouldn’t really have any blood, but I think you’ve just stretched a bit too quickly: When your ear has healed properly after a stretch (this takes about 6 weeks – like a piercing) you can change your taper for something else, but it’s always advisable to go back to straight expanders when you’re stretching again. So when you’re stretching from a 2mm to a 4mm, you need to use a steel straight taper (steel has excellent antibacterial properties…) and push it in ONLY AS FAR AS IT WILL COMFORTABLY GO, then use the o-rings to hold it in place. You may need to buy smaller o-rings whilst you are still on the smaller end of the taper. When the ear feels comfortable again, (the next day or in the next couple of days), push the taper in a bit more, again only as far as it will comfortably go. It may take a few days before you can get the taper in your ear fully.

    It’s a common misconception that you have to push the taper in fully when you are stretching – the reason they are tapered is so they can be pushed through slowly and comfortably over a period of a few days, and the o-rings are there for that too! Once you have it in fully then you need to leave it a month or so to heal properly (as you did with your first stretch, well done!) and then you can continue to stretch again if you want to.

    In the meantime leave your ear to settle down – keep removing the taper and washing it, not forgetting to wash the inside of the lobe and keep it clean. If you can’t get the taper back in fully, hold it in place with the o-rings and wait for the swelling to do down before pushing it in a bit more. Don’t force it, there’s no rush!

  69. Today i stretched my ear to 2mm and its stinging a bit but i gather thats ok.
    Foolishly i allowed my friend jst to push it threw so dont really know much about it.
    But how exactly should i be cleaning it?
    And how long should i roughly wait until i stretch to 4mm?

  70. Stinging is absolutely fine, but it shouldn’t be too painful to bear; it sounds like it’s doing okay 🙂 Next time though, don’t let your friend push it through! 😉 I say it time and time again; stretchers don’t have to be forced through in one go – they are tapered for a reason; so that you can push it through gradually over a couple of days. If it doesn’t go right in the first time you want to stretch, use the o-rings on it to hold it in place as far as it will COMFORTABLY go, and then wait until the next day or a couple of days after before you piush it in a little bit more. It can take up to a week to get a stretcher fully in your ear, but it’s worth taking the time over it.

    Once the stretcher is in your ear fully you will then need to leave it for up to 6 weeks before it has healed enough to be able to move on to a bigger stretcher, (when you do, use the same process of pushing it in slowly over a few days). It is always worth waiting because even though the ear looks healed on the outside the tissue inside could still be healing; if you stretch too much too quickly you’ll risk splitting the ear or a blowout. Which are pretty nasty!

    Cleaning-wise you need to be looking at giving it a good clean at least twice a day. You’ll need to slide it out so you can clean inside the hole and around the lobe. You’ll also need to give the taper a good clean. Dry it properly before you put it back in your ear. Use a salt water solution or unfragranced soap and water to clean the ear and the taper. You also need to remember to twist the taper, (with clean hands!), every so often to stop it from sticking in the ear. Gunk does build up – this is normal, but you need to make sure that it’s cleaned off throroughly.

    It sounds like you’re more clued up than you think you are; just take more time over stretching next time and don’t get your friend to do it, unless they are experienced and have clean hands!

  71. hey
    im 14 and i began stretching my ear last night with with my friend,with 2mm, i took it very slowly puting it in and it nipped and burned slightly, which i suspect and read is normal, and it was fine then i took it out to go to bed and when i woke up this morning i had a tiny bit of blood on my pillow and i had some blood on my ear, its kinda sore when i squeez it but other than that it looks fine after i had cleaned it up a bit. i washed it with a hot salt water solution and im wondering if i should slowly stick it back in… what should i do from here i dont know much about this thing and i only really want to go up to 6-8mm max so any hints comments advice would be greatful.

    also the same sorta thing happend to him when he put his back in this morning, his ear began bleeding so is this normal?

  72. Okay, 2mm is a good place to start stretching your ears, but it should never bleed. Basically, when you stretch, you are literally just stretching the skin – you shouldn’t be piercing it. Okay, wait until the ear has healed back up – keep cleaning it with the salt water solution; at least twice a day, and don’t play with it too much!
    In a couple of weeks it should be healed enough to begin stretching again. Only push the 2mm taper in as far as it will comfortably go – you don’t have to push it all the way through in one go, which is why the o-rings are there. Push it in gradually over 3-4 days, holding it in place with the o-rings, and when it is fully in you need to leave it for up to 6 weeks so it can heal properly. Clean it at least twice a day – you’ll need to twist the taper to stop it from sticking (with clean fingers!), and slide it our every night so you can clean the inside of the lobe.
    After sleeping on it you may find a small amount of blood or discharge on your pillow because you may have caught it in the night. Just be sure to clean the lobe thoroughly as soon as you wake up. You might also want to consider getting some medical taper to put around the tapers to stop them moving and stabbing into you at night!
    You shouldn’t take the taper out for a long period of time until it has healed, either, so your friend may have taken it out for too long which is why it bled when he put it back in. If you can leave it in all day and all night – after it is healed you should be able to leave it out all night to let your lobes relax but if you keep pushing it in and taking it out before you’ve completed a stretch you could do some damage.
    Once the ear is fully healed you can begin the process again with a larger stretcher – if you always remember the rule that you should push it in over 3-4 days then you should have some healthy stretched lobes! And if it’s too much or won’t go in stop and try again when you’re more relaxed. Always put the time aside to stretch your ears – never do it in a rush!

  73. Hello,
    Great article! Thanks for the advice!
    I’m just writing because I’ve been having some problems with my newly stretched ears. I had my ears pierced about nine years ago and they were probably a U.S. size 20 or 18, but then last week, I bought a pair of what were probably U.S. size 16 earrings and put them in my ear with a little trouble, but not too much pain, although I think I irritated my ears.
    Then, three days ago, I went to a piercing shop and had size 12 tapers put in, and it hurt a lot as the woman at the shop was putting them in. She lubed them first, and then pushed them in all the way in one go. My ears throbbed a lot the whole first day, and less the second day (although they were still throbbing a bit). The throbbing mostly went away today although my ears around the piercings hurt to touch and my lobes are looking a bit red and swollen. Then, today, as I was cleaning my ear, I noticed there was what looks like some blood and discharge and I took out my tapers to check and the inside of my lobes were looking quite red, so I was wondering what I should do to clean it out.
    I have antiseptic skin cleanser and ear care antiseptic as well as neosporin available to me at the moment, and i was wondering how I should use these. I’m guessing I should wash out my piercings with warm water and some antispetic, but should I take out the tapers or what?
    Sorry for the wordiness, and thanks!

  74. Hey, what’s up?

    So this is what happened:

    Last September I got my ears pierced at a body modification place with all the good surgical steel stuff and no gun. They started me off with a 16g and they had no problems. Just a few months ago I decided to put in some organic (coconut) earrings. No specific gauge or anything but they were the tiniest bit bigger than my 16g piercings and they went in fine. I decided just recently that I would stretch my ears so this month I wanted to start with a 10g.
    I bought the tapers (acrylic), did the hot shower and lubed it up with baby oil but they didn’t want to go in so I decided to stop and put in 12g tapers instead. The 12g tapers went in fine. Here’s the kicker – my right ear is fine but the left ear ran into some problems. It was feeling really uncomfortable (not really hurting but just sore) so I decided to investigate it this morning. It turns out that the back “O”-ring on the left ear taper somehow weaseled its way into the ear lobe piercing! So after a few minutes of fiddling around, I managed to get the “O”-ring out of the lobe now it feels fine but it does feel a little tender. I washed it out with a saline solution and I loosened up the rings on both ears just to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I can twist them around a lot easier now and its more comfortable. I guess the “O”-rings on the tapers I bought were just too small.
    Anyways, I want to go to a 10g. How long should I wait before I start stretching again?

  75. Hi I’m really sorry about the delay – I am trying to respond to everyone as quickly as possible but everyone seems to be stretching their ears this year! 😉
    It is common for the ears to bleed a little after you have been sleeping – often laying on the taper can irritate the ear causing it to bleed. If this is the case use some medical tape on the end of the taper to hold it in place at night, and to stop it stabbing you when you move! Ensure that you use your ear antiseptic to clean them thoroughly in the morning, including inside the lobe and the taper itself. Also don’t forget to twist it so that it doesn’t stick.
    Make sure you are cleaning them AT LEAST twice a day, and always wash you hands before touching the taper. Use the specific ear care antiseptic, and ensure that you take the taper out so you can clean properly inside the ear lobe and the taper itself. If your ear is still hurting now then you should remove the taper completely and allow it to heal for at least six weeks before attempting stretching again.

    If you’re having problems and you had the ear stretched professionally visit the lady that did it – she should be able to take a look and advise you on the best course of action to take. I can only advise you on what you tell me, not what I can see! 🙂
    Please let me know how it goes, stretch safely and have a fab day!


  76. Hello!
    Firstly when you’re stretching to a larger size you must use either surgical steel, pyrex or titanium tapers as these are antibacterial and will prevent infection. Acrylic tapers should only be worn once the ear has healed, (after about 4-6 weeks), and even then they should never be a permanent substitute for antibacterial materials.
    If the o-ring has ended up in your ear then you have pushed the taper in far too hard, and I would advise using o-rings that fit – they should never slide in your ear. You should push the taper as far as it will comfortably go, then use the o-rings to hold it in place there. Over the next few days you should be able to slide it in further until the entire taper is in your ear. At this point, you’ll need to clean it at least twice a day and keep twisting it with clean hands for 4-6 weeks. After this time you can choose to either change your jewellery or stretch to a larger size. The lobe may look like it has healed on the outside but the tissue inside will still be healing, and if not given the correct amount of time you could risk a blowout, and at the very least extremely painful ears!

    Take it slowly; remember everyone is different so it could take as little as 4 weeks for your ears to heal properly, but it may take up to 6. It is always best to err on the side of caution and leave it slightly longer than you think necessary. Stretching is a body mod and will potentially be with you for life so don’t rush the process – you’ve got plenty of time to get to a larger size. 🙂

  77. Eyyyy

    I’ve recently started stretching my ears and I went from a 10 g to a 6 g in about 3 weeks
    Today I stretched from a 8 to a 6 and I’ve got this tingly sort of burning sensation in my ears
    I was just wondering if this is normal and if the feeling would go away anytime soon

    Thanks so much!

  78. Hi Maya!
    Thanks for your email 🙂 It is perfectly normal to get a tingling, almost burning sensation in your ears when you have stretched. It will take your ears some time to adjust to their new size, but the initial pain should only last from a few days to a week – if the pain continues after this time and you experience discomfort, bleeding or discharge then you should think about taking out your stretchers until the ears have healed, but it sounds like they are doing fine at the moment.
    Make sure you keep them clean and this will help with the healing process. Don’t forget to twist them at least twice a day with clean hands to ensure they don’t stick, and make sure that when you clean them you take the taper out so you can clean out the gunk inside the lobe 🙂 This is all perfectly normal, but it is the more unpleasant side to stretching! 🙂
    Carry on as you are doing and remember to wait at least 4-6 weeks in between stretches to let your ear heal up. This will mean much less pain when you come to stretch again! 🙂
    If you need anymore advice at all then please feel free to drop me an email 🙂 Have a fab day!
    Viki x

  79. I have recently went up in both ears to a 7/16’s. My left ear has always been a problem ear for me, and I have had trouble stretching it. It’s been two days since I have stretched it and it is still swollen and has discharge coming out of it-it’s white, and I clean it twice a day. I’m just wondering if the white discharge is normal, because it happens all the time to the same ear when I stretch it and if using saltwater is a proper way of cleaning it. Thank you very much.

  80. Hi Meredith!

    Firstly don’t panic – it’s normal for a bit of gunk to appear in the ear and you need to make sure you clean this out really well! White gunk is common after a piercing – it’s usually a sign that it’s healing, but can be a number of things so it’s hard to tell without seeing it myself. If the ear is very painful and swollen for a few more days then you may have a small infection. A quick trip to the doctor and some antibiotics can clear that up in no time, but you must bite the bullet and take out the stretcher – leaving it in when it’s hurting so much is not a good idea!
    In the meantime you should definitely treat this as an infection to be on the safe side. Clean your lobes with a sea salt soak. Add 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt to 8oz of boiled water. Let your lobes soak for about a minute or so each. Rotate each stretcher 180 degrees and soak them again. Do this for about two weeks. Use clean kitchen roll to dry each ear because if it is infected then you could spread it to the healthy lobe, so keep all cleaning bits separate for each ear. It may also be an idea to downsize your taper in the ear which is painful, or even take it out completely and start again when it has healed. It may look a bit odd to begin with but lots of people find they have to take a bit longer over one ear than the other – they will even out eventually with more stretching.
    Again if it hasn’t healed in a couple of weeks after the cleaning then get your doctor to take a look – antibiotics clear up an infection in no time and you could be well on your way to stretching again. If you leave it and it is still painful you could do long-term damage to your ears, but don’t panic – keep up the cleaning and it should be well on its way to healing within a couple of weeks. 🙂
    I hope this helps! Good luck with the stretching 🙂

  81. hey, ive been stretching my ears and my left ear has been some trouble. Ive been taping them with teflon tape and my right ear is stretching very easily. the other day i put 6gs in and my right ear was fine but my left ear was very sore and there was a little bleeding. Ive been using the h20xygen cleaning solution and put an 8g back in my left ear. Do you think that it will heal up in maybe a month or two and ill be ready to stretch? i also heard about using olive oil to help heal the tissue is this true? also your guide is very helpful. Thanks alot

  82. Hi Shawn,

    It’s common for one ear to be more stubborn than the other, so don’t worry 🙂 You were absolutely right to downsize too, as too much stress on the ear could cause a blow out and be very painful! A month or two is a really good amount of time to let the ear heal – it should heal up within that time, as long as you continue to keep it clean. I’ve never heard of the cleaning solution that you mentioned and Googled it but didn’t find any results! If you’re unsure whether or not you’re using the right cleaning fluid then you may want to use a salt water solution (1/4 teaspoon of sea salt to 8oz of boiled water). Dial antibacterial soap is excellent for piercings but it can dry out your skin, as can the salt water solution. Olive oil would counteract this and you’re right there too; it has been known to help tissue heal faster. Be sure to massage it into the ear and then dry the excess off thoroughly before putting your stretcher back in, and never use it as a substitue for cleaning solution!
    As for the stubborn ear, when you come to stretch it again in a couple of months (I would leave it at least 6 weeks before attempting to stretch again), make sure that you’re really relaxed as tension in the body can make it harder to stretch your ear! Put some ‘you-time’ aside so that you aren’t rushing the process and massage your ear lobe with a warm cloth before you start as this will make the ear more pliable and easier to stretch. Only ever insert the taper as far as it will comfortably go and then hold it in place with the o-rings. You can push it fully in your ear over the next few days and when it is fully inserted leave for 4-6 weeks to heal before either stretching again or changing your jewellery 🙂

    I hope this helps, good luck!

  83. Hey, i just streached from a 16 to a 12 taper, it hurt quite a bit but there is no bleeding, i turn it every once in a while but it feels kinda stuck. did i do something wrong? my lobes are red but no blood or tears or anything

  84. Not at all 🙂 Stinging and burning is fine, and as you said there’s no blood you’ve obviously done a perfect stretch! You need to twist the taper with clean hands at least twice a day. Unfortunately, sticky gunk is one of the things that comes with ear stretching – especially when attempting it for the first time, so this is perfectly normal and you shouldn’t worry! You do, however, need to make sure that you keep the lobes clean -wash them with a salt soak, or antibacterial soap like Dial AT LEAST twice a day, and you’ll need to remove the taper to clean the inside of the lobe and remove all of that sticky gunk. If your ear is leaking a lot then you need to clean it more regularly and twist it more regularly to stop the taper from sticking. This fluid is usually a sign that the ear is healing and shouldn’t last long, but you do still need to make sure you clean inside the lobes and the taper, even when the gunk has gone! 🙂
    I hope this answers your question 🙂 If you need anymore advice then please feel free to email me!
    Viki x

  85. Heyy krafty lady.

    i need some help iv been searching for weeks on my problem..

    iv got the smallest taper, and iv attempted to out it in about 3 times in the last month..
    it will only go half way and will not move anymore, when i try taking it out it gets stuck..
    is this normal to happen?

    any advice you can give me, i really want my hole! lol

    thank you

  86. Hey! So a short while ago i started to stretch my ears but i firstly tried a 14g and it slipped right through my ear so i tried a 12g and that did the same, so i then put a 10g into my ear. It wasn’t painful and it took about 3 days to fully get the piercing in but now my left ear is absolutely huge and red its also rock hard around the piercing hole and the piercing will not come out, i’ve tried. It’s been like this for a couple of days now and originally the piercing wouldn’t twist at all, it was completely stuck, but now it will twist but remains unable to remove. ive been keeping my ears extremely clean by using saline solution. What do you think is going on?! HELP!!!!!!!!

  87. Hey, how’s it going? 🙂

    It’s quite normal for one, or both of your ears to be a bit stubborn when you’re inserting a taper – especially the first time! The trick is not to rush it – getting stressed out because it won’t go in your ear doesn’t help as your muscles will be tense and this will make it harder for the taper to go in.
    You need to set aside half an hour to an hour when you won’t be disturbed. Put on some of your favourite music and treat your earlobe to a 10-15 minute massage with warm hands or a warm cloth. Spend longer on the stubborn ear. This relaxes the tissue and helps bloodflow to the ear, so should make it easier to insert a taper.
    You might want to try a small amount of lubrication, such as vitamin e oil or olive oil – you can also use water, but oil is best. And NEVER use petroleum based lubricants like Vaseline! Once you have a small amount of lubrication on the taper, push it into your ear as far as it will comfortably go – you should feel a burning sensation and some tingling, but it shouldn’t bleed. If you can’t get the taper all the way in, hold it in place with the o-rings, and go through the same process over the next few days, pushing it in a bit further each time. This should be easier when you’re a bit more relaxed!
    Once the taper is fully inserted, you need to make sure that you clean it at least twice a day with a salt water solution, or antibacterial soap such as Dial, and you need to twist the taper (with clean hands!) every so often as this will stop it from sticking as it’s healing up. You should also massage a bit of vitamin e oil or olive oil into the ear on a daily basis as this will help it to heal quicker and make the taper easier to twist. Don’t forget that you must still clean them at least twice a day, and this includes removing the taper to clean inside the lobe.
    You should leave a taper in for up to 6 weeks to heal properly before you decide whether to stretch again or change the taper to a tunnel or plug. 🙂

    Good luck, I hope it’s all okay! If you need any more advice feel free to email me 🙂
    Have a fab day!
    Viki x

  88. Hey 🙂

    Had you been wearing fairly large earrings before you started stretching? This could explain the hole being larger than a normal piercing. When you went to 10g you did the right thing by pushing it in over a few days, but it’s still possible you stretched them a bit too quickly. When you clean them you should take them out and clean inside of the lobe, and you also need to make sure that you keep rotating them every so often with clean hands when they are in, to prevent them from sticking in your ear.
    If it’s still stuck and you can’t move it, you need to hold some ice over your ear for 30 minutes or more to make the swelling go down. Relax! Being tense will not help you get it out 🙂 Try massaging some olive oil into the lobe, but not too much or the stretcher will slip out of your hand when you’re trying to take it out. The bottom line at the moment is that you need to downsize or remove the stretcher completely to give your ear some time to heal up. It sounds like you’ve caused a bit of stress and you need to give it time to chill! You should not try stretching again for up to 6 weeks whilst the tissues inside the ear are healing, and during that time you need to keep it really clean, as you have been. If you decide to downsize rather than take it out completely make sure you keep rotating it so it doesn’t stick, and you take it out to clean it.
    Try keeping your 12g taper in with bigger o-rings for a while until you’re ready to stretch again. If you have problems with stretching you could try getting it done professionally – lots of piercing studios now offer ear stretching as a body mod, alternatively tattoo places often do too! 🙂

    Feel free to email me if you need any more advice, hope this has helped 🙂
    Viki x

  89. hi. l have been having some problems with my ear and need some help i am at 6mm and trying to get to 10mm but was doing fine until on holiday came out of the shower and the Os had fell off the back of my tunel and it fell out the hole started to close really fast and i had no taper with me so i went to push my tunel back in it was very tight and i struggle it went but i think i nicked the back as there was a very small amount of blood after that i started sea salt soaks again but it was swollen and tender to touch and i started to get a browny kind of gunk on my back O ring the front is fine so i have got my self a course of antibiotics the swelling has gone and my ear feels a bit better still a little tender to touch and small amount of gunk very itchy that was 2 weeks ago do you think if i persivere it will heal its self up and be fine to strech up again dont realy want to jump back the way thanks

  90. i just want to ask you that when you stretch your ears do your ears get fat because mine did with a 00mm taper so i just took them out

  91. Hello! Apologies for the delay in responding we have just got back in the UK! I know I am probably too late to help now but wanted to respond to you anyway – I normally get back to people in 48 hours!

    I hope your ears are feeling a bit better now, and I’m glad you have had antibiotics as it sounds like you had a bit of an infection in there 😦 I can’t say if your ear will definitely heal, but in my experience if you look after it well during the healing process then it almost certainly will! Make sure that you keep cleaning it well, and don’t even think about stretching again until the ear has completely healed. It’s usually safe to say about 6-8 weeks is a good amount of time to leave it if the ear has been damaged.

    When you’re cleaning use a salt soak or antibacterial soap such as Dial, which is recommended by most piercers. Don’t forget to take the taper out to clean all that brown gunk out – you’ll need to do this at least twice a day. It may also help to massage olive oil or vitamin E oil into the lobe, as these are well known for their skin re-generating properties and should help the ear to heal a lot faster without drying it out.

    If, once it’s all healed completely and you’re ready to stretch again, your stretcher falls out then make sure you push it back in slowly! 🙂 If you have problems getting a stretcher in, try not to get stressed as this will cause you to tense up and actually make it harder to stretch the ear. Try massaging the lobe for ten-twenty minutes before starting to stretch, as this increases the bloodflow and relaxes the lobe making it easier to stretch. You can also use olive oil and vitamin E oil, (or just plain old water!) as a lubricant on the taper to help it slide in easier. Don’t forget you don’t have to push it all the wai in one go – push it as far as it will comfortably go, then hold it in place with the o-rings and continue pushing it through over the next few days until it is fully in 🙂

    I hope this helps! Again huge apologies for the delay; feel free to email me with anymore queries and I promise I’ll be able to respond a bit quicker next time! 🙂

    Happy stretching! 😀

  92. Hello! Apologies for the delay in responding we have just got back in the UK! I know I am probably too late to help now but wanted to respond to you anyway – I normally get back to people in 48 hours!

    They don’t ‘get fat’ as such, but they will swell up a bit – this is completely normal, and the swelling usually subsides within a couple of days. As long as you make sure that you don’t over-stretch or push the taper in further than it is comfortable you should be able to minimise the amount of swelling.

    Hope this helps!

  93. thanks you for getting back to me my ear is a lot better and cleared up very well my lobe is not tender to touch any more and i can massage it when i shower but the back of my peircing can feal a little uncomfortavle if i put presure on it even after all this time is it going to be a problem to stretch up as i was going to try on friday but a bit worried what do you think cheers d

  94. Hey. Thanks for the info.

    I streched my ears from a 16g to 3mm 2 days ago and the ear feels fine. It hurts when i move it around about but otherwise it’s good. I’ve been twisinging it abit and taking it our to clean off all the sebum everyday. Firstly, the taper went straight in… i don’t know if that’s a bad thing or if i did it too fast or what, but, i put it in about halfway, waited for about a minute, put some lube on it and pched and it went in without a great deal of pain. is that ok?

    also, i’m thinking of moving to a 4mm or 5mm. would a 5mm be ok? and how long should i wait before i do this.

    Thanks, jack.

  95. Hello again!
    If you’re still experiencing tenderness then you really should wait before stretching again. The lobe needs to be completely healed otherwise you’ll be back to where you started and could risk even more damage. 6-8 weeks is the best amount of time to leave it, and if you’re still experiencing problems after that then you may need to see your doctor or a piercing specialist as there may be a small infection and you may even need antibiotics.

    Keep smiling, as long as you don’t rush the healing process it should be fine to stretch in the future 🙂

  96. Hey Jack,

    Sometimes the taper does go all the way in – if it’s comfortable like this, (there will be stinging!), then it’s absolutely fine to keep it in there. Make sure you clean it at least twice a day and don’t forget to twist the taper, (with clean hands!), every so often so that it doesn’t stick whilst it’s healing.
    I can’t tell you how big is ‘okay’ – you need to judge that yourself! 5mm should be fine but you need to make sure you absolutely want to stretch that far before starting to do it. You should wait about 6 weeks for your initial stretch to heal, and then it will be safe to stretch again. Often the ear may look healed after a couple of weeks but the tissue inside will still be healing – this is why you need to leave it a bit longer than you think before attempting to stretch again! Each time you stretch it’s recommended to leave it at least 6 weeks, (more if you can wait that long!), before stretching to a larger size, or changing from a taper to another type of jewellery like tunnels.
    I hope this helps! Happy stretching! 🙂

  97. Hi,

    My boyfriend and i had our ears to a size 14g and instead of taking it slow we bought a 6g hollow needle, we got that through our ears and it’s been about 3 weeks. our ears are looking great and feel like they are healed, but i was wondering when you think we should finally start actually stretching our ears? Thank you!


  98. Hey,
    I began stretching my ears a few months ago & it was all going good until now…
    I had 3.2mm tapers in and left them in for just under 2 weeks as i did with my smaller stretchers… i washed them twice a day with salt water and i they seemed pretty much healed to me.
    I put in my 4mm tapers yesterday and they hurt alot more than normal… they carried on stinging and they still do now & my ears were swollen (they’ve gone down abit now) i just took out my tapers to clean them & when i removed them they started bleedin :/
    I cleaned them & put my 4mm tapers back in.
    Should i keep in my 4mm and see how it goes ? or what other options do i have? please reply asap as they really hurrttt 😦

  99. Hey,

    my one ear is at 1/2 inch with tape around it, while my other is at 9/16 with a taper. My friend only had one. im tryin move the 9/16 up to a 3/4 inch so i can use the 9/16 in the other ear. When i try to insert the 3/4 inch it just binds up, no pain no tingling, it just wont budge that final bit. Maybe its cause ive only had the 9/16 in for a week iunno. Any ideas?

  100. Hey,

    I have both ears stretched. I’ve been stretching for a few months now. I’ve been at an 8g for like two months now and just got my 6g in two nights ago. Of course, they were sore overnight and in the morning. Last night, I decided to take them out and clean them with rubbing alcohol, used carmex as lube, and slid it back in. My right ear has had an infection before. When I took that taper out, it started gushing blood. I cleaned it all up and waited a few minutes to put the taper back in. Today after school, I noticed a little crustiness around the taper and some oozing. Not a lot of blood though. Just puss. I also have swollen lymph nodes down by my jaw. I read online that it was normal during the stretching process. Last night, I got no sleep because the pain was intense. I also started feeling sick to my stomach.


  101. Hi again I need some help I stretched to 10mm a month ago and it was fine but last week my ear got unplesant so I poped out my tunnel and cleand it up and when I went to push it back in I cut the bottom and did not notice at first but there is a very small lip of skin at the bottom I have seen a few peircers and the tell me not to worry it’s not a blow out just a small rim of skin I have scraped out and not to worry it will go back

  102. hey i just started stretching my earlobe last night and i started with a 12ga. i was cleaning them a while ago, but i didnt take them out.. just the o-rings and noticed a tiny scab in one of them.. its not like it bled profusely when i put it in initially, but i want to know if this is normal? also, how long should i wait to put the next size in, and what size should i go for? your response would be much appreciated! thanks in advance!

  103. Hey!

    About 2 hours ago I put in my first stretcher… (I’m 14), and it wasn’t painful (much) and it didn’t bleed or anything. I went to 2mm, which I heard was a good place to start, plastic taper. But then I totally freaked out!! I wasn’t in pain, the stretcher was really comfortable and everything was fine, but I started panicking because I want to go to Medical School and work as a doctor in a hospital… and I thought, even though its only 2mm (And I want it to stay 2mm, because you can still get some pretty funky jewelry!) that it might harm my chances in an interview or whatever? I know it seems stupid but if I took the 2mm out say after, 5 years, 10 years, even 20 years or above, would it shrink back to normal? Or would I always have the 2mm hole in my ear? Ive had so many different opinions =S
    Thanks x

  104. Hey i recently decided to stretch one of my ears, i started off with a 2 mill and my friend did it very early in november, today i decided that i would go up to 4 mil. while i was doing it i decided to do it slowly as it was hurting, i got half way through and i took it out and it started to bleed a little, i thought it was just from me taking out the stretcher as i’ve been told if you stretch your ears and then take it out it will bleed so i cleaned the blood with a tissue but my taper back in and continued to stretch it. While stretching it i could feel something like a little tearing but i just thought that it would be from stretching it. Ive only just done it and its not bleeding anymore from what i can see but i was just wondering if the blood was from me taking it out cause when my friend did my 2 mil it didnt bleed?

  105. Hey!
    I recently decided to stretch to a bigger size after 2 weeks. I was going from an 8G to a 6G. I did my setup before I started. After that was done, I started with my left ear and it started hurting so much once it started reaching the barrel/end of the taper. I got it through though. I decided to lubricate my right ear since I thought it would be easier. So I began and it started to hurt again once it started to go through the end. I push and I push and it just stayed in place, So I had a taper stuck in my ear. So I waited for about 2 hours and took out the taper and lubed it up again. It was starting to do the same thing as before so I just grabbed the skinnier end of the taper and pull it. It was a painful experience, My ear was so red and hard. After, They both began to throb right after I finished and they still throb now. It when it throbs. But the redness has gone back to normal. Should I be worried that I damaged my ear?? Did I develop anything?? Please tell me what I did wrong? Do I take out the taper tomorrow and do the usual cleaning?? How do I thicken my lobes without downsizing?? Because I tried oil massages for about a week, and I haven’t really seen a change yet. :/

    Please Answer Back, I would appreciate it so much.
    Thanks. =D

  106. hey,

    i am, well was in the process of stretching my ears, i got up to a sz 6 with my tapers…had those in for about a week and went to a size 4…it hurt alot putting them in but they cute so i figured who cares? Unfortunatley i had to take them out because they were killing me…once i took them out i started bleeding, apparently there infected because they still hurt and there crusty…how long should i wait before trying again and what size should i start off with?..

  107. Hello 🙂
    I have been stretching my ears and reached 8mm, I was at that size for about a month and decided that I’d prefur to have 12mm instead. So I ordered 10mm and 12mm Acrylic stretchers, I put the 10mm one in last week and after a 2-3 days my ear felt enflamed so I took the stretcher out and my ear looked as if it was going to bleed, I left the stretcher out and went back to bed. Then I looked in the mirror, the morning after and my hole had healed, it had swollen and there was a sort of scab covering my hole. As gross as this sounds, I managed to dig it out and put my 8mm back in, it currently still hurts to put in however it is not swollen anymore I’m worried that I may have an ulcer there and don’t know know what to do if I have. My current plan was to just leave it, because something similar happened to my other ear at about 5mm so I took it out and now it’s shrunk right down to a normal ear piercing and hurts when I try to put my 3mm taper in. Do you have any advise for stretching my 8mm further or stretching my other to 3mm?

    Thanks You 🙂

  108. Hey, I’m stretching my ears and yesterday I went from 3.2mm to 4mm. It’s been stinging since then, there was no blood or anything and the first time I stretched it did sting a little but only for a couple of hours.

    It’s also really stiff, and it stings more when I twist it around but I don’t want it healng around my ear, so what can I do to make that less painful?

    Also I don’t want to take the stretcher out because I don’t think I’ll be able to get it in again without stinging, I can live with the stinging but it’s more annoying than it is hurting.

  109. Hi viki
    thank you for your advice it has been really helpful
    have started with a 2mm taper and didn’t know when it was the right time to increase the size. My ears are also loving the saline solution… Makes it feel so much better
    thank you

  110. hello,

    i was just wondering,by any chance if your lobes were to bleed after a stretching process,it is normal right?cause i have a bunch of piercer friends who told me that it’s normal if they bleed a little.i dunno wether thats right or not.but since you said that its not,i’m slightly worried.mine bled the first time i stretch my ears but i clean it everyday and wear antiseptic cream.so what do you think?

  111. Hey.
    I’ve just begun stretching my ears.
    Yesterday I went from normal sized to 2mm.
    It didn’t hurt at all or anything and I’ve washed it with salt & water.
    My friend has her ears stretched her ears and she stretches exactly a week after the day she stretches it. So if she does it on a tuesday she’ll do it the next tuesday & so on. Sometimes she waits 2 weeks. I was planning on doing the same but read online that I had to wait like a month or something before going up.. Does this apply to all or just the bigger ones? ‘Cause it didn’t hurt at all and just went striaght in and I don’t wanna rush it but at the same time I dont want to have to wait 10 months to get to my desired size of 10mm.
    I’m aware that everyone is different so different ears take a different amount of time to heal but.. Is a whole month really necessary?
    Tee. x

  112. hiyaa..:) i have a 4mm stretcher in my ear and bought a rubber tunnell (4mm) but it wont go in?? why is this??

  113. i completely disagree with the idea of not pushin the taper all the way through and using the ‘O’ Ring to hold it. this doesn’t allow you to adequately clean your freashly stretched ear properly and can cause infection. This also doesn’t allow the wound to breath and the healing prosess takes longer. Im all for the taking time as you go up, taking it to fast between sizes causes many problems including excess scar tissue growing at the back of the ear lobe called ‘blow outs’ this is unsitely and unhygienic as they become infected easily and regularly. if you go up sizes I recomend you go from a fully healed piercing straight to a 3mm then 6mm and go up 2mm every size after that and a minimum of 6weeks between each size preferably taking upto 6months between each size as having the jewellery in ther loosens the tissue arond and makes further stretching a whole lot easier. Always leave the ‘O’ Rings clear of the front and back of the lobe faces and wash with antibacterial soap daily drying them with fresh paper towel and using a saline solution on a cotton bud atleast once if not twice daily and allow to dry naturally, remembering to thoroughly wash your hands with antibacterial soap before doing this. never under any circumstances touch the lobe or jewellery with un washed hands. Keep hair away at all times in the healing process and make sure not to get any makeup on your lobe or jewellery as this contains oils that can harbour bacteria. The pain of going up the whole 2-3mm is at most for only a few days and should be expected as it is a body modification, dont do it if your not prepared for this. Would you get a tattoo with out expecting sum sort of pain? I hope you understand all of this.

    I have been piercing and stretching my own body for 20yrs and others for a living for over 10 years. Always take good care of your piercing. Im not a sadist as I have nearly pass out from small amounts of pain from piercings myself before. And a small tip: if the pain when stretching is uncomfortable when doing it simple bite your nuckle as this takes the focus away from your ears more than anything.

    Thank you for reading and I hope this has been helpful

  114. there is quite a lot of information i did not include but the post was getting far to long. i am happy to offer any information on this subject to anyone that is interested. i say good on anyone that is interested in this as it should not be something that is frowned upon as it is an expression of art

  115. Hey,

    I stretched my ears to 5mm last night, and followed the taper through with some stainless steel tunnels. The whole process wasn’t that painful, just with a slight sting after. However, my lobes feel a bit swollen and painful to touch. I salt water bathed about two or so hours after the stretch, which made them feel nicer. Then today I salt water bathed them, but still the ear feels a bit ‘hard’. Is this expected? Or should I take the jewelery out?



  116. I’m currently stretching 14 mm -16 mm in size but however when I sleep my ear is hurting ( however if i take my expander out it seems to hurt putting it back trough my ear ) this has been happening for the last to weeks – do you have any advice on what to wear when sleeping etc ? Thanks x

  117. hey i started stretching my right ear a while back now i pierced it myself and let it heal for 3 months then i stretched straight to 4mm with lube which didn’t bleed or nothing then exactly a week later i stretched to 6mm with lube which also didn’t bleed or anything then a week from that i went to 8mm bout without lube because i didn’t have any and when i took it out later to clean i realized that it had bled was this a bad move i’m hoping to go to 10mm soon. oh and i cleaned/ sterilized and used antiseptic lotion on both the ear and taper every day.

  118. hehey, i’ve been stretching my right ear for about 2 years now, i got it the size i wanted witch is 10mm, but resently i’ve just put a 6mm frm a 4mm (the girl didnt listen to me and said its better to stretch in 2’s -.-) and its really hurting, more than i usel, my friends done the same and it ripped, im pretty scared my will aswell :/
    Thanks Georgiee

  119. i got my ear streched today with a 2mm spike. i bought it and my friend whose got a 24mm pushed it in for me. i am experiencing a fair bit of pain it’s quite swollen but there’s no bleeding.
    should i be worried? and how should i reduce the swelling?
    thankyou!!! xxx

  120. Hey if anyone still needs help on some ear stretching check out this forum http://www.earstretching.net.

  121. hiya
    one of my ears is at 20mm and the others 18. everytime i try to stretch the other up to match ( 20mm ) my ear swells and pusses. i usually take it out, clean it and have to start again at something small like 6mm or 8mm. this time im leaveing it in, and cleaning it, its a silcon tunnel so i just bend it down and clean the inside without taking it out. is there any reason why one ear will stretch this size and not the other? the only thing i can think of is that previously in the ear tht wont stretch i had an 8mm second but that healed up a long time ago, any reasons why? 20mm’s my aim, once i get there, ill be happy enough to stop (: x

  122. hey 🙂
    im just wondering if its alright if you put a 2.5mm in for the first time of stretching your ear or is it too big?
    tashara x

  123. Hello,
    I just started to stretch my ear i went from my normal piercing stright to a 4.1mm, it hurt but i suspect thats normal, i took it out after a while and there was a tiny bit of blood, it is swelled up a little, Is this normal ? it hurts a little but not to much, when i take it out and put it back in it stings, is that normal


  124. Hello,
    I just started to stretch my ear i went from my normal piercing straight to a 4.1mm, it hurt but i suspect thats normal, i took it out after a while and there was a tiny bit of blood, it is swelled up a little, Is this normal ? it hurts a little but not to much, when i take it out and put it back in it stings, is that normal


  125. hey, i have 46mm lobes and have had for the last year or so, i want to eventually get to 51mm (2″) but the next size up is 48mm and my ears just wont go that big (dead stretching as tapers are no longer available in this size) i was just wondering if you have any advice for ‘softening’ my lobes or something to get the couple of mm i need. i have solid polymer plugs in so they are quite weighty but just cant get the 48mm in. i was thinking maybe emu oil (jojoba oil, etc) might help. if not i may have to get custom 47mm tunnels/plugs made. if you could offer any advice for me it would be appreciated (preferably by email)
    i have been stretching over the last 5 years or so, so i do have a good idea of what to do and not to do, I’m just stuck at the moment

  126. hey, i am thinking about stretching my ear and i was wondering if i stretch my ear to a 2mm will it go back to normal ??

  127. Hi

    I have read that you shouldn’t keep tapers in any longer than a few hours after stretching, as they distribute weight unevenly on your ears. Apparently you should get a plug (i know steel is best) straight in – is this true?

    Any reply would be great.


  128. Ok so i have a question for TheKraftyLady since i can’t seem to find a Contact Us link..

    I started stretching my ears and i got to about an 8g.. I couldn’t get the taper in my ear past the lip. I went to Price Attack (beauty/peircing salon here in Aus).. I asked the peircer what i could use to help get the taper in my ear over the lip, the silly B*tch (excuse my language) told me to use Vaseline. BIG MISTAKE!!! So… My lobe first got really really itchy, then it went bright red and i felt a really bad burning sensation, then the clear s*it started to ooze out of my lobe which turned to a crusty pus looking stuff.. Is there anything i can do at home to fix my ears without taking out my stretchers? I’ve tried the salt soak.. I’ve tried washing them with Anit-bacterial soap.. I even tried swapping the taper from Acrylic to Surgical Steel.. Nothing seems to be working. I’d go to my doctor but i’m afraid he will tell me to take them out and that really isn’t an option.

    Please help ='(

  129. Hi,

    I recently had my ears stretched at a well known body piercing shop. I didnt have holes to begin with so i pierced and stretched straight to a 3.2mm. The piercer said that i should wait a month for the ear to heal properly, then i can start to take the tunnel out and clean it properly. It will be one month since i got the tunnels on the 1st of June 2010. I would like to know how long after that can i stretch to a 4mm? I would also like to know if i can stretch it myself with an ordinary stainless steel tunnel? And what would be the best way to clean the new tunnel before i push it through?

    Any advice would be mOst helpful.

    Thanx alot,


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