Ear Stretching


Location:Ear Lobe
Jewellery:Tunnels, Plugs & Tapers
If you've always fancied stretching your ear lobes, check out our guide below to find out how to perform ear stretching safely and easily!

Ear Stretching 101

Ear stretching has become a very popular body modification trend in recent years, particularly among fans of alternative fashion and piercings. However, like many body modifications, this one originated many years ago with the ancient Egyptian King Tutankhamen being one of the earliest people recorded to have stretched ear lobes!

In addition to the ancient Egyptians, ear stretching was common practice for indigenous tribes where it was performed for various religious, cultural and traditional reasons. It is believed that in some tribes, men used ear stretching as a status symbol and that the larger the ear lobe was, the higher the individual's rank within the tribe. There is also a belief that ear stretching was used to intimidate other tribes on the battlefield, again because of it's connotations with rank and status.

Nowadays, ear stretching is becoming very common within alternative and mainstream groups in Western culture which means we see stretched ear lobes in our everyday lives. However, despite this procedure becoming more and more common it is important to remember that this is still a serious body modification and should always be treated as such to prevent injury.

Though tapers and stretching kits are readily available online and in stores, it is strongly advised to visit a professional piercer to assist and advise with ear stretching as mistakes during the stretching process can result in serious damage to the ear lobe.

There is a wealth of cool and stylish jewellery to choose from with ear stretching; with tunnels and plugs being the most common choices. Whatever your chosen colour or style, stretched ear jewellery looks totally awesome.

Procedure

To stretch your ears safely, follow the steps below. Please remember whilst it might be tempting to speed the process up and use a bigger taper immediately to achieve your stretched lobes, by not following the correct procedure you could risk potentially scarring or tearing the ear lobe completely which may require surgical correction and will prevent you from ever being able to stretch your lobes again. So it pays to be patient and follow these steps:
  • PLEASE NOTE: You will need to have an existing, healed ear lobe piercing before you can begin the stretching process. If you have just had an ear lobe piercing you will need to wait at least 4-6 months before you attempt to stretch the ear.
  • Visit a piercer who will be able to help you select the appropriate taper for your ear as well as talk you through the process. Most people start with a 2mm or 3mm taper.
  • Clean the ear thoroughly
  • Ensure the taper/stretcher is sterile
  • Apply a little Vaseline to the taper and remove one of the bands, keep it to hand to replace after the stretching is complete
  • Gently slide the narrow end of the taper into your ear lobe piercing hole. You may feel some minor resistance and a slight stinging sensation. Gently push the taper in until the resistance is at a point where it requires any force to push through. This means you have stretched your lobe to it's capacity for now! (Don't worry though, as the piercing heals again the skin will regain elasticity and you will be able to gradually increase the size of the hole.) It is strongly advisable to only stretch your ear 1 size at a time. If you are unsure about how far to stretch your piercing, please consult with a professional piercer.
  • Place the band onto the taper behind your ear lobe to secure it in place until you are ready to stretch again.
  • Leave a good amount of time in between each stretch for your skin to heal, it is recommended to wait at least a month in between stretching
The important thing to remember is that whilst feeling a little discomfort or stinging during ear stretching is normal, it should never be unbearable or extremely painful. If the ear stretching process starts to feel very painful it means you are over-stretching your ears or stretching too quickly and you will risk tearing the lobe.

Pain

Ear stretching pain really depends on the individual, the anatomy or their ear lobes and their pain threshold.

However, whilst a certain amount of discomfort is expected with reports of 'stinging' 'burning' and 'throbbing' being commonly reported, it is very important to remember that the process should not be extremely painful.

If at any point you are needing to apply any real force to the taper during stretching, similarly if the pain becomes notably strong, it means you are over-stretching your ear lobes and are at risk of tearing or scarring them. So if the process starts to feel very painful, STOP and leave time for them to heal before attempting to stretch again.

Healing

The good thing about ear stretching is that you are working with a previously healed piercing, meaning that provided you follow the correct aftercare, your piercing should heal quickly and smoothly without any complications.

Here are a few tips on how to ensure your stretched ears heal well:
  • Clean the area twice daily with salt water soaks
  • If you're wearing jewellery, take it out and clean both the jewellery and the ear daily to clean out dead skin, dirt and moisture which could cause infection
  • Only wear jewellery made from high quality materials to ensure your ear heals smoothly

Jewellery

There are several different options for jewellery when stretching your ears. Whether you're looking for simple and understated steel tunnels or a decorative and eye-catching plug, we have something for everyone at Blue Banana. We also stock a huge selection of awesome tapers/stretchers featuring colourful designs and prints which means you can look cool even during the stretching process! Here are just a few for you to browse through:

Article Disclaimer: The information contained here within is based on our experience as one of the UK’s largest piercing chains. Please note that each individual’s experiences will be subjective and therefore each person will have a different experience of pain, healing and maintenance. For more information, please view our article guides terms and conditions page.

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