Ear Stretchers are designed to be worn in stretched piercings, most commonly earlobes. For more information about ear stretchers, see below.
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What are ear stretchers?
Ear stretchers are used to stretch ear lobe piercings to a higher gauge. Ear stretching takes a standard healed lobe piercing and increases the thickness of the ear gauge using an ear taper or other form of ear stretching jewellery.
How long do you leave ear stretchers in?
You leave ear stretchers in for approximately 1 month in between each gauge. If in any doubt, leave your ear stretchers for at least 6 weeks before attempting to increase the gauge. You may find that the higher the taper gauges the longer you need to wait before gauging up to the next size. Before stretching your ear lobes, your ear piercing must have been healed for at least 4-6 months. It may seem like a long time but this will give you the best chance of success.
Be patient when stretching your ears because any damage that can occur from improper ear stretching has the potential to be permanent. Most importantly, listen to your body; if your ear lobe is still sore or you notice any issues with the skin around the jewellery then give your body extra time to heal before continuing to increase the gauge of your jewellery. It can be beneficial to massage the skin around the taper piercing in order to prevent scar tissue for building up.
Do ear stretchers hurt?
Ear stretchers may feel uncomfortable but they should not hurt. If you are experiencing excessive pain then you may have tried to stretch your ears too quickly. Consult a piercer as to the best course of action. When initially moving on to the next piercing gauge you may experience a stinging or itching sensation and a little bit of throbbing or swelling. Remember to regularly clean your ear stretcher piercing, just like you would with any fresh piercing.
What size should I stretch my ears to?
Some people prefer to stretch their ears to a gauge between 6mm – 10mm because at this size the ear lobe is more likely to return to normal if you take your ear stretcher out. If you are aiming for a more extreme stretch then you can continue increasing the size of your ear lobes until you reach a higher gauge.
The size to which you can stretch your ear lobes will vary depending on your anatomy and skin elasticity. If you have a detached lobe you are more likely to be able to stretch your ear lobe to a larger size as there is more flexibility to accommodate the piercing jewellery. The best way to determine if your ear can take more stretching is the flesh around the piercing jewellery. If you still have plenty of thick healthy flesh around your ear plug then the chances are you can keep going with earlobe stretchers. If you are unsure whether to continue stretching your ears then you can always talk to a piercer for advice.
What are tapers?
A taper describes an object which decreases in thickness from one end to the other. In this context, a piercing taper is a long cone shaped piece of piercing jewellery that can be used to stretcher ear piercings. It works by pushing the thicker end further into the piercing each time you want to stretch your lobe. This must be done with care and over time so as not to damage the earlobe.
Often tapers come as part of an ear stretching kit which will include every size you need to take you from a standard ear lobe piercing up to a 00g. Make sure to never skip a size when stretching your ears in order to help your stretched piercing heal efficiently.
How to use ear tapers?
Ear tapers are used to stretch piercings and often come in an ear taper kit which will include a range of sizes. They are most commonly used in ear lobes. Start by using the smallest gauge of taper (usually 16g) to begin increasing the size of your ear lobes and move to the next gauge every 6 weeks. Simply slide the taper slowly through your piercing, smallest end first, and then fasten it in place using the rubber ‘O’ rings once you have reached the larger end. Many people like to use a lubricant to help insert the ear tapers. Make sure to use skin and piercing-friendly lubricants such as Jojoba oil or vitamin E oil.
How long should you wear tapers?
Tapers are usually worn for 1-2 days at a time. You can wear them for longer but definitely no more than 4 days. This is because tapers are prone to getting caught and can also make your piercing hole uneven due to the uneven weight distribution. If you are using tapers to increase the gauge of your piercing then always wait at least 6 weeks in between each size before using the next taper.
Can I leave tapers in overnight?
It is possible to leave tapers in overnight. In fact, many people like to stretch their ears once they have had a warm shower in the evening and leave their ears to get used to the larger gauge taper overnight. Some people then prefer to switch the tapers to a tunnel or ear stretcher plugs as these are less likely to get knocked for the remaining 6 weeks of healing, before using a taper again to stretch the earlobe to the next size.
It is generally advised not to leave tapers in for extended periods of time. Usually, 1-2 days is enough to then switch to a plug of the same gauge. This is because the taper is likely to tilt in your ear due to one end being smaller and therefore lighter than the other which can cause the piercing holes to become uneven.
If you want to shop ear stretchers UK then Blue Banana stocks an extensive range of styles for stretched ears, including spiral ear stretchers, ear tunnels and plugs and tapers.
Picking Out Ear Stretchers
It is important to choose the right material for your piercing jewellery as your body may react differently to different materials. Getting the right material of ear stretcher is important for the health of your piercing.
- Size: Ear Stretchers are suitable to use in standard lobe piercings but take care not to gauge up too quickly. It is important to make sure your lobe piercing is fully healed before starting to stretch your piercing.
- Material: Most commonly a taper or ear stretcher will be made from acrylic but ear plugs are also available in silicone, surgical steel and glass.
Inserting/Removing Ear Stretchers
Before handling your piercing, always make sure to wash your hands with antibacterial soap.
You can stretch your piercing at home but we always recommend visiting a piercer before beginning, especially if this is your first time attempting to stretch a piercing.
It is important to be patient and not attempt to change your piercing jewellery or gauge up before your piercing is fully healed as this can cause complications. If scar tissue develops it can stop you from stretching your ear lobe any further. Patience is definitely the key to success when stretching a piercing.
For a full guide on how to stretch piercings, see our Stretching page here.
Where can you use ear stretchers?
While it is most common to stretch an earlobe piercing using a taper, it is possible to stretch other soft tissue piercings such as the septum, cheek, and lip.
There are two ways to stretch a piercing. To method you choose may depend on the location. The most common way is to slowly stretch the skin over time by using a taper or stretching jewellery. The second method is to use a dermal punch which removes a piece of flesh in order to instantly create a large hole.
Other Guides & Ranges
- Find Your Local BB Studio
- Age Restrictions & Prices
- Aftercare & Cleaning
- Piercing Size & Gauge Guide
- Inserting, Changing & Removing Jewellery
- Piercing Pain: The Ultimate Guide
- Piercing At Blue Banana
- Piercing Laws Around the UK
Please Note: Blue Banana piercing information is based on knowledge from our experiences as one of the UK's top piercing studios. All details provided should be read alongside professional advice. Please see our full Piercing Articles Disclaimer, here.