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How to Stretch Your Ear Piercing to a Larger Gauge

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A large gauge

A large gauge

Ear Gauging

Although it is a fairly old process, it is now pretty popular for today's youth to not only get piercings, but to also stretch them.

Even if you have a piercing that was pierced to a standard size—generally 20 gauge, 18 gauge, and 16 gauge—you can still stretch your ears to a larger size. What's more, it doesn't matter how recently you got them pierced. It will work even if you got them when you were five and you want to stretch them now that you're 21.

It takes time to stretch your piercings properly, as you will want to give your ear time to relax after stretching. Stretching too quickly can cause other concerns.

You can stretch any piercing, but the most common piercing that is stretched is the lobe piercings. Other commonly stretched piercings include the inner conch, septum, nose, belly button, tongue, and ear cartilage.

Piercing Gauges

The typically, lobes are pierced with a 20, 18, or 16 gauge, but it will usually depend on where you go to get your piercing. The mall, for instance, pierces with piercing guns, so the gauge of the piercing will be the gauge of the stud that you choose to start off with, which is a 20 gauge.

As for other piercings, for the most part, you will find that they are pierced with 14-gauge piercings. Cartilage, nose, septum, navel, etc, are all typically pierced at a 14 gauge.

Common gauge sizes are named in even numbers down to 00, with the size of the gauge increasing as the number decreases. For example, a 10-gauge piercing is smaller than a 2-gauge piercing. For sizes larger than 00, the gauges are represented by fractions.

Ear Gauge Size Chart

(by Stephen DeToma, Anomaly Studio, Pasadena, Ca)

(by Stephen DeToma, Anomaly Studio, Pasadena, Ca)

Will They Shrink Back?

When stretching a piercing, the odds are not in your favor that it will shrink back to normal size. So, when you decide to stretch, be sure that you are prepared to handle a permanent stretch.

But, it is not impossible for a stretched piercing to return to a normal size. It will depend on a few factors:

  • Size of Stretch: The larger you go, the less likely it becomes that it will go back to its original size. Generally, 0 gauge has been called "the point of no return," meaning that once you have stretched that far, it's not going to go back. Over the point of no return, your ears can shrink, but they may not return to normal, just a smaller gauge.
  • Length of Stretch Time: If your piercing has been stretched for a couple of years or more, it's pretty well set and probably isn't going to shrink back to a completely normal size. Shrinking to a smaller gauge is possible, though.
  • How It Was Stretched: If the piercing was stretched too quickly, especially if there was resulting scar tissue, it probably won't revert very easily. If it was done with a scalpel or dermal punch, it definitely won't shrink.

But, as everyone's body is different, the amount of shrinkage will depend on you. Just make sure that you make every stretch as though it will be permanent.

Tools to Stretch a Piercing

There are several different methods that you can use to stretch a piercing.

  • Tapering: This is the most common and safest method of stretching most soft tissue piercings, such as ear lobes. A tapered, surgical stainless steel rod is inserted into the piercing. The smaller end of the rod goes in first and the hole is slowly stretched as the wider end of the rod is gently pushed through the hole. Larger gauge jewelry is then inserted behind the taper to keep the hole at its new size.
  • Weights: This is not a recommended method, as it doesn't stretch the piercing evenly and can thin the skin around the piercing, causing drooping and sagging. The weights apply pressure to the piercing to help weigh down the hole; you can use heavy steel jewelry as a weight. Just make sure that you only wear the weights for short periods of time, if at all.
  • Dermal Punch: This method cuts away a section of flesh by "punching" a hole through it. The dermal punch method is as traumatic to the skin as it sounds, but it is sometimes preferred over tapering for stretching cartilage piercings, as cartilage has less blood flow and can be damaged under the pressure of tapered stretching. The dermal punch can also be used to stretch several gauges at once, but it is still only recommended for cartilage, not soft tissue. Just make sure that you know that the guy who's doing your dermal punch knows what he's doing.
  • Tapered Claws and Talons: This method uses pinchers or similar body jewelry to slowly push through the piercing until it is at its thickest point, which, depending on the jewelry, is either at the middle or end. This method allows you to push the jewelry through as you see fit, allowing yourself healing time. (This is my personal favorite method, as it is the easiest and least painful.)
  • Scalpeling: Scalpeling is a more extreme, almost surgical, technique. A sharp blade is used to cut away enough flesh to allow for larger gauge jewelry. Sometimes the blade is heated enough to cauterize the skin as it cuts, and then the jewelry is inserted. This technique is prone to infection and generally requires a long healing process.
  • Taping: Once a piercing has already reached a large size, taping is the most common method to continue stretching. A plug or tunnel is wrapped with a layer of tape in order to increase the diameter of the jewelry, which is then inserted back into the hole. This is repeated (after each stretch has healed) until the desired size is reached.

Tips for Stretching Your Ears

It's important that you change your gauge gradually, allowing plenty of healing time between sizes, because if you move too fast, you might damage your skin enough to create scar tissue. Scars make your ear look as if it is cracking around the hole and also make it very difficult to change gauges, whether up or down.

Use stainless steel jewelry for initial stretching because steel is not porous, so it will not absorb bacteria. Also, steel is heavy, and the weight will help the stretching process, ever so slightly. You do not want to use acrylic or wood jewelry to stretch you ears because they are porous; save them for when your piercing has healed.

Note: You never want to use acrylic, silicone, bone, stone, wood, or any other material that's not steel or titanium to stretch a piercing.

As everyone is different. You will need to listen to your own body while you are in the process of stretching your piercings. Don't stretch to a larger size until you are comfortable doing so.

You will want to buy jewelry that is the next size up to your current gauge; if your piercing is a 16 gauge, then purchase 14-gauge jewelry. You do not want to skip gauges because then you will risk complications.

Usually, the longer you keep the old gauge, the easier it will be to insert the new, larger jewelry.

Do consider that smaller gauges tend to be easier to pop right through than larger gauges, especially if you have the smaller gauge in your ear for a longer period of time. So your best bet for easier stretching is to wait longer in between stretches. The minimum time lapse in between should be no less than two weeks.

Stretching Your Ear Piercing

  1. Make sure that your hands, the piercing, and the jewelry are clean.
  2. Massage the earlobe for a few minutes.
  3. Insert the larger piece of jewelry into the piercing. Depending on the size of the new gauge, it may not slide right in, so gently push the jewelry through. You may have to use some kind of lubricant (water-based) to help the jewelry through.

Do not force the jewelry in as you can cause tears and bleeding. If you have problems inserting the new jewelry, even with a lubricant, give the piercing a rest and try again later or the following day.

Another option you can try, is to stretch your ears in the shower. The warm water will loosen the piercing, making it a little easier to slide the new jewelry carefully through the hole.

Expect some soreness as your lobes heal and adjust to the new hole size.

Stretched Ear Aftercare

Healing a newly stretched piercing is going to be similar to healing a brand new one. It's very important to keep the piercing clean and allow it the opportunity to breathe.

Sea salt or saline soaks are important in keeping an infection from developing. The soaks will also soothe the soreness of the piercing.

Do not use alcohol or ointments on a newly stretched and healing piercing.

Complications While Stretching Your Ears

Bleeding and soreness are common but can continue longer than necessary if you stretch too fast.

Blow-outs can occur if you stretch too early and too quickly before the piercing has the proper time to heal. A blowout occurs when the skin tunnel is forced out of the back of the piercng, which results in an extra "lip," or skin tissue around the edge. The lip of skin will continue to grow with further stretching. You need to downsizethe gauge if this occurs; some people have to have it removed if they insist on stretching further.

Tearing can occur when you stretch too fast too soon. This particular complication will not heal itself, and the ear lobe will remain with a large split or opening. You may want to inquire about plastic surgery to correct ear tearing. If your piercing tears, it's not recommended to continue stretching after you consult assistance of a doctor.

Infections can develop if the piercing is not cleaned regularly/properly, or if you use improper jewelry.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Janet on August 18, 2019:

Is it normal for my right ear to be a different stretching size then my left?

Sharni on July 04, 2019:

Hi just want to ask a question I have a 3mm spacer in that I put in yesterday and was wondering why it's still not twisting

DreadyJo on September 30, 2017:

Been stretching since I was 16 I'm now 32. I'm at 24mm which I personally think is right for my face however to night I'm going up 2mm as I've bought some lovelly blue jasper plugs. Here is how I'm going to do it:

Clean ears. / new plugs

Sit in a hot bath with ears submerged for an hour.

Get a aqua based lube and put on both ear and plug


Pop in the plug.

Leave for an hour

Take out and make sure no bleeding or bow out

Clean and dry

Pop on some smelly jelly and pop plug back in.


Alec G on July 19, 2017:

Hey guys, I just went from a pierced ear that hasn't had anything in it, to a 12. It hurt a bit, but they went in with relative ease. Within three days, the pain was completely gone, so today I decided to try to get a 6g taper thru. It worked. 0 bleeding. 0 blowout. Here's my trick:

Wait until your ears dont hurt anymore with your current size, sanitize the taper and your ear, oil the new taper, and push it in until it doesnt want to without force. Then, with your ear stretched pretty far, start pushing the taper in, making sure you can feel the back of your ear. Make sure you feel no lip.

If there comes a point where it cant go in any more, let it sit there for a while. after a few minutes, try taking it out everso slightly, to twist it around, and try slowly getting it farther, while still making sure the back of your ear isnt blowing out, you dont hear or feel tearing, and no blood. There will be a point where the taper is almost fully in, but still isn't 100%. At this point, i put the rubber end on the smaller side, and left it there for a few minutes, played with it a little, twisted while making sure it wasn't over-stretched, or inside out, and made the final push.

One ear took about 20-30 minutes, and it's well worth taking your time so you don't damage your ears, especially if you're jumping sizes on your own.

ISH on April 30, 2017:

I have 2 different ear lobe hole sizes 5/8's n 00g can i b able to combine them to make my ear lobes bigger

shannon on March 31, 2017:

im 15 years old and i have been stretching since February 2017. im already at a 6g almost 4g one month later. The only sad part is ive been using acrylics but ive had no problem with them. my goal is 00g. anyone got any advice? Thanks :)

Rachel on December 30, 2016:

Hi, this is my third attempt at stretching from 7mm to 8mm. It's been about 6 weeks from I last attempted. I lubed up my taper with gauge gear after a hot shower and it slipped right in. I followed it through with a tunnel, which was a little tricky to get secured. That was two days ago and my ear is still red and throbbing.. is that normal or should I abort mission immediately??

dntbhrt on September 23, 2016:

I have had my earlobes at a 00 gauge for four months now. is going from a 00 guage to a 1/2 inch too big of a jump?

dntbhrt on September 22, 2016:

I had my earlobes at a 00 gauge for four months now. Is it a big jump to go up to a 1/2 inch?

cameron j8052 on August 28, 2016:

OK.. Just so nobody gets hurt, there's a ton of bad information here. I'm 25, been stretching my ear lobes since age 17 on and off. The way I did it: I had my tattoo artist pierce me at a 14 horseshoe, wore that for 6-8 weeks. The initial piercing needs time to heal. Give it that. 2 months should be fine. Clean it as directed by your piercing artist. STRETCHING: I used a friend's kit, and against my own advice (I was young) went from my 14ga. horseshoes to the 10ga. tapers he had. NOW, I will say, I have used acrylic always, because it's easier to get and cheaper for the most part. I have never had trouble, but if your ear looks fucked up or you're allergic, don't risk it. Use the steel or titanium in that case. Back to stretching, I kept the 10's in for about a month, then 8's for a month, 6's for a month, 4's for about 2 months (I was able to notice that this one took a while to heal.), and then got to a 2ga. and left it at that for years until just recently. I've always wanted to go 00ga. but when I was younger, my 0ga tapers just wouldn't go in without too much pain. 2 to 0 is a large jump. Let me make that clear! Some people need to use a 1ga. intermediate taper to make the jump, OR use PVC/similar tape on your 2's. Just measure accurately. Add .5mm to each side and you're at a 1ga. Anyways, I've had my Zero 0ga. acrylic tapers in for a few days now, loving the size and look, however my right ear was bleeding earlier after twisting my tapers around. (Due to the trauma of a 2mm jump from 2 to 0, I recommend lathering them in neosporin and not touching them whatsoever. Not even to twist it. For a week or two.) So from here I'll probably give it a solid 1-3 months before making my "final" jump to 00ga! This is also a 2mm jump. Hot shower, lots of neosporin, don't push too damn hard, and keep them clean. Enjoy!

Emma on July 21, 2013:

I stretched my ears from a 4mm to 5mm around 2-3 weeks ago. I use vitamin e oil and a surgical steel taper and placed surgical steel plugs in my ears. It had been at a 4mm for 2 months and the stretch had been extremely easy and it just slip in nicely. However recently a red ring has formed at the back of the hole, it's not pussy or a bubble. I went to a professional pierce and she told me that there was nothing wrong with it, as I left I noticed her daughter had her ears stretched with an acrylic taper at about 8mm, so they don't seem very trustworthy or they'd know that it's not the correct way to stretch ears. Is my ear ok?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on June 27, 2013:

Everyone's body is differently, so you want to wait enough time in-between stretches to ensure that the lob is fully healed. Use metal to stretch, as it isn't as porous. You want to avoid using acrylic and wood, but if you find metal horseshoes that taper or just metal straight tapers, they should be fine.

Morgan on May 28, 2013:

I am gathering as much knowledge as possible before I start to stretch my ears in hopes of doing it properly and with as little problems and undesired outcomes as possible. I still have a question though. I have read that it is not advisable to use taper as jewelry, but what else is one supposed to wear while stretching? I know what one should wait a few weeks before going from size to size to allow the ear to heal and get accustomed to being stretched at the new size, so I figured it would be ok, and even recommended, to wear the taper while waiting. How long would you say it is safe to wear a taper while stretching before making the change to jewelry?

erick on November 10, 2012:

People who suddendly have swelling or redness after been gauged to a size for a while, from personal experience it could be from how your sleeping and what you are wearing in your ear. Tapers can end up causing your lobe to twist to an ackword position that would lead to this problem


ChaoticDren on October 29, 2012:

I have a question I currently have a 2g steel taper in my ear, I have had in for 2 days. Can anyone experienced tell me how long I should wait until I put the next size (0g) in and how can I when put it without having to buy a taper for 0g? I'm kind of strapped for money at the moment being an art student, advice would be greatly appreciated.

Lili on August 02, 2012:

I think I had like a 12 for about 4 months and I always felt like my right ear was never ready but I placed on a 4 and it hurt like a bitch. The left ear ate it up like a man.

alex on May 10, 2012:

I went to a size 7/8 in two months!! no blowout

Ms on May 06, 2012:

Ive stretched my ears all the to an inch and it went back and closed right up I had the inch for 5 months I used plastic tapers and used neosporin to push my tapers in and yeah it does hurt but you get over the pain

Eghan on April 20, 2012:

@DanielTAD don't worry if that strech hurts the most so far. I just streched from an 8 to a 6 and mine didn't hurt as much as the 10 to the 8(but that's because I did that one too quickly). From the 8 to the 6 is the first time you truly size up and entire mm, each one before that is a partial. Don't worry, rub your ears with some hot water and try. It should be okay !

brittany on April 13, 2012:

I started gauging my.ears from the regular piercing to a 2 gauge, ripped my earhole into an x and bleed, I took em out Nd a week later put in a four, the four went in, hurt like a bitch though, for two weeks afterward it was swollen, throbbing, bleeding and lots

of pus. So took em out and had some else shove them back in, hurt but right after that they went to normal. Ever since then my gauges have been fine no blow out whatsoever $6. This was 2 years ago. Now I'm at a 9/16 and my 5/8th won't go in, I've has my 9/16 for almost 5 months so why the problems now?

lori-erin-wood from Alaska on April 12, 2012:

@David, some people have skin that is easier to stretch. Just because your friend could stretch that much in a very short period of time doesn't mean everyone can. To be safe you should only stretch one gauge size until the hole is healed again.

David on March 28, 2012:

I'm sorry but the poster of this Hub is kinda dumb. Reading through some of the comments its obvious. Don't mean to be hateful but you're simply wrong. I started at a 12, no big deal. Went to a 8, then a 6, and a 2. I intend on going to a 00 really soon. Just put money in my pay pal to purchase them. Yeah, it hurts, but that's about it. I've had friends go from a 20 to a 00 and not tear or blow out. It hurts like a bitch but that's about it. No scar tissue either. Also reading I saw that you said you shouldn't wear plugs at small sizes? Why not? They wouldn't be made if you weren't supposed to wear them, they also wouldn't be sold in packs. There is no difference from wearing a taper and wearing a plug, other then the plug is easier to sleep in and it gets in the way less.

kevin on March 27, 2012:

I've been gauging for four years now once you get past 00 use tape for the safest easiest way to go use pvc tape.

Mariella on March 21, 2012:

@Tucker Trujillo I just stretched my ears for 0 to a 00 what I did was just wait a month or so and when you feel you're ready wash your hands, use a lubricant of some sort, and use stainless steal tapers. Mine just slide right in(:

LuNa on March 21, 2012:

I just started n it started bleeding n i started freaking out n took it out idk what to do ):

Tucker Trujillo on March 17, 2012:

Hey! I'm at a 0 right now and I'm just not sure what the best way to go about going to a 00 is, if someone experienced could help that would rock! Thanks :)

Erin on March 16, 2012:

Im thirteen and my Ears are an inch!

adfr on March 14, 2012:

am at 5/8 right now and i try putting my 3/4 in bout it wont go in my eaqrs so way should i do

emosamy5 on March 11, 2012:

ya i had a qwastion im at 3/4 and i just tryed putting a 7/8 taper in and it wouldn't go in and its been 2 months since im last stretch so should i start taping the single flar tunnel or push the taper in harder?

mark on March 04, 2012:

i was at a 2g in both ears and i wanted to go to a 0g. it's a 2mm jump. i got it almost all the way through and it started to bleed a lil so i stopped and now i just put 3 layers of medical tape on my 2g plugs and im going to go up a layer everyday until i get to a 0g.

Joe on February 21, 2012:

I have my ears pierced but not gauqed . Can I put ^ ga in ?!

Tristin on February 21, 2012:

So I am at an inch and have been for about two months now and woke up this morning and my lobe hurt and was red and looked kinda like a slight blow out but maybe just swollen and inflamed was wondering if it was possible for it to blow out in my sleep somehow

Junior on February 21, 2012:

Alright so I went from a 2 to a 0 and my ears were throbbing for three days when I took them off to see what was wrong my ears started to bleed, I want to know what can I use to clean them and how long will it take

DanielTAD on February 19, 2012:

So this is what goin down,I got my ears pierced a few months ago at 20g and yeah cool. So my friend gave me his old kit,and the smallest size was 14g so I stretched. Good enough I didn't feel anything. But besides that, I haven't skipped sizes. But now I'm at 8g trying to stretch to 6g and im using tapers and they hurt like shit!!! This is the only size that has hurt this bad. I have the tapers in only halfway and I'm going to continue slowly pushing them by hour. Is this a good idea? Oh and by the way, I cleaned the whole kit to save infection. And one more thing, I'm 13 and only going to a 4g for now. thanks for your help.

Andrea on February 19, 2012:

So Yesterday My Aunt Bought Size 2G And I've Been Wanting To Get My Ear's Guaged So My Crazy Aunt Decidided To Gauge My Ears I Went From A Normal Ear Pearcing To I Size 2G . I Took It Like A Beast .. So After The Fact That I've Been Reading That I Shouldn't Be Skipping Sizes I'm A Little Concerned So I'll Do An Update To Let You Know If I Have Any Complications Or Problems So Far Everything Look's Great &; I Love How My Guages Look Nice &; Clean Oh &; Btw I'm Only 13Yrs. (x

andie on February 17, 2012:

just gauged them... size 14 cu there wasn't any 16.... should i sleep with them in? yes no maybe? :/ help!

Brandon Nunez on January 28, 2012:

well that is some crazy stuff but i am at 7/8 about to move up to an 1inch

Ben on January 27, 2012:


Hi there!i'm 17, and i went from a regular piercing to a 6 to a 2, now at 0 looking for 00. but anyway i've had no problems with my lobes, they've been fine the whole way. just give it enough healing time and if it's 2 much don't force it.

DearestDaniiel on January 19, 2012:

@ Alyssa Hello! I am at 7/8 stretching to 1" possibly 1 1/2" and i had trouble getting to 7/8. The best thing to do is just oil your ears with Jojoba oil (you can find it at natural food stores) and that thickens lobes. You have to just go with the flow. I didn't know if i could go up to an inch but i am trying it out and if my lobes are thin, i'll just downsize. My suggestion would be to tape your ears to 7/8 with teflon tape. Its very inexpensive, nonporous tape that wont stick to your ears. Since you've been at 3/4 for a while, i assume you have a pretty rad gap in between your ear and the plug when you pull down? Wrap it with tape until you can put it in with no gap, but its not painful to put in. Then, add 1-2 wraps everyday and soon, you will be at 7/8ths! I hope it helps. :)

Kristina on January 18, 2012:

im 15 and i went from a normal size earring to a 12... is that bad?? should i go to a 10 next ? ive had it in for about 3 weeks and i wanna change is it safe to?

Alyssa on January 10, 2012:

Right now im at 3/4ths, and my aunt for christmas got me a gorgeous pair of glass plugs... But they're 7/8ths. I'm concerned that my lobes wont stretch that much more. So my question is when do you know you shouldn't stretch more? I've been stretching slowly for years. And I've been at this size for the last year. my lobes don't seem thinner in one spot or another or seem overly thin, but they definitely don't have the bounce back they used to haha. Anything would help, thanks

kane on December 27, 2011:

jus startn out i went from a 20 to a 10 on the 23rd of this month and i love it im ready to go big

KrypticKid on December 25, 2011:

Yo I'm Em, I've been stretching my ears for six months, and I'm prepared to go to 0g. I've been taking them approximately a month at a time and it seemed to suffice, except when I went to my current size, 2g, my ears bled for a day or so whenever I removed my tapers to clean them and I was inquiring whether this was bad or somewhat normal. I'm just a stupid kid trying to distort her body a bit, I also have 3 lip piercings, septum, eyebrow, and rings up my ears. Ah life is good. :P

max on December 25, 2011:

i went from the smallest size to an 8 in one day

Amber-Rose on December 24, 2011:

I Started at a 6G,Than went to a 4G and now I'm at a 0G,

I Know its not good to skip Gauges but I get it done by a Piercing artist,And they always suggest to skip,so,..

but yes every time i go larger it hurts a lot,Probably because I skip,..

Btw.This site really gives goo information,Well done !

FoxxNastiee on December 21, 2011:

I Stretched Mines From A 16 to a 00 and from 00 to 1/2 and from 1/2 to 5/8 in just three days .

one of my ears is at 3/4 , the other still at 5/8

jen on December 19, 2011:

just went to a 6g from an 8g :3 progress has been made~

Aiden Elizabeth on December 02, 2011:

Also, i was wondering if tapers are best to use for stretching to an inch.

Aiden Elizabeth on December 02, 2011:

it only took me about a year to get to an inch, actually an exact year lol

i just stretched mine up, my right ear stings alittle bit but it'll stop. i only had ONE blow out, and you can barely tell its there!

lolsees on November 26, 2011:

im at inch and a quarter its all about taking your time if you take your time your ear will be able to grow stronger and adapt to having a gauge in there so later you can stretch farther if you get a blow out when it gets big it looks like a but hole lol but also if you have a blow out rub emeu oil on it everyday once a day they will go away over time and it you wanna move up fast use the tape method every 2 weeks i should know i been a piercer for 4 years

LH213 on November 24, 2011:

i had my ears pierced for about two years before i but in a 14g and i skipped sizes i went to a 10g then to a 8g then to a 4g and then to a 2g and i just recently put in a 0g and i hurt a little but im fine like its all about your pain tolerance really if u can take pain then skip i mean its better then wasting your money on a pair of guages your just gunna wear for a little while u know so my advice is to just do wht u want when it comes to guaging if u wanna skip then skip and if u don't then don't its as simple as that

Sam on November 21, 2011:

Suck it up and take it like a champ, i stretched my ears from a 20 to a 2 then 00 three days later, and their doing grrreat, i plan to take them to a half inch by christmas

Tristynn on November 21, 2011:

I'm currently gauging my ear too a 7/16 and I've had previous blow outs with these . I was wondering what should I do too ease the earing in ?

pabss on November 18, 2011:

Im on size two 2 and my goal is 00's. I started jiu jitsu and am wondering if any of you have tips for me to keep my piercings safe?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on November 16, 2011:

Stretching frequency will depend on how fast your body heals and when your body is ready. The time frequency between stretches will not be the same for everyone.

Heather on November 15, 2011:

Anyone have a round about estimate on when to stretch to the next size? like i heard a week or so ...

Sam Ertle on November 13, 2011:

I just went up from a 0 to a 00 earlier today, no tapers or anything. I did lube up the new tunnels but there was a lot of bleeding. I already knew most of what was in this article but decided I'd be fine. And now I'm going to have to deal with torn scarred ears. But if you follow the advice in this article you should be just fine. Take your time and DON'T FORCE THE JEWELRY THROUGH.

Sam on November 12, 2011:

Hey i was wondering, im at a 8 gauge right now would it be okay if i go to a 2? i have vitamin E oil could i do it?

me on November 10, 2011:

dang, when i gauged my ears, i jumped to a 18 to a 8 gauge.take it like a beast and just don't waste your money on size 14 16 or whatever. no matter what its going to hurt. bad. tip is, once you gauge your ears play with it, like turn it, or whatever, then once you gauge it another size its less pain. and now im at a 00, and about to go to 7/16. and it was painless.

dori on November 05, 2011:

okay so right now i believe i have and 8 in my ear but im not sure and i want to go to halves but im scared that's to big what should i do?

Hope Jimenez on November 03, 2011:

Wellll. This seems old but whatever. Hey I'm 15 and I've been stretching my ears for about 5 months now. Granted I didn't know about ANY of this. I did NOT stretch my lobes because "everyone was doing it" I did it because I wanted to. And I'm very patient so waiting for two weeks between each stretch isn't too bad. I'm currently at 4s and I bought my Batman plugs about a week ago. The plugs are 0s and I know I should buy 2s and THEN move up to my 0s but..... Temptation is getting the best of me... Good thing I can't size up with the Batman plugs. I'll just wait. And I tend to take out my tapers for hours and slide them back in... I wanted to know if this was a bad thing? I mean... They don't hurt but I wanted to make sure this wouldn't permanently damage my ears.


Abby on October 29, 2011:

alright so im stupid and have been "stretching" i guess is the word, my lobes since i was 14. ive had my ears pierced since i was 2 months old. im 17now. i have my lip pierced and gauged to a little 14 no big deal. im at a 2 gauge in my ears right now... well actually my right ear is a 2, and my left ear is a 4, because ive been struggling to get my second 2g in my left year all day. i put the 4g in my ear for now the 4th time 2 days ago. my right ear was easy, and im having problems with the left. the highest ive ever gone up to was a 00 but my mom made me take them out, i was at that size when i was about 15 i think. im trying to get back up to by at least a 0 because i bought batman gauges last night and they are 0s. i go up a size about every 2 days, and that's why im stupid. but oh well im young. but my problem iiiiis, how do i get my 2 to go in easier, i tried numbing them, i tried icing them, i tried warming them up, i tried everything. any advice for this stupid 17 year old trying to destort her body ?

The D on October 28, 2011:

Help me, im 21 and i have had this piercing for 4 months and i had 1.6 mm stretch (it is more like an earring as it is small)and im trying to get 5mm now, BUT im gentle and i can handle pain like any other man, but i tried 2-3 methods but the pain of stretching is very bad and i started and stopped 2 times.

So any Detailed tips or tricks to do it and how long it should take.


MattieMurderous on October 27, 2011:

I'm 20 and i've been sizing for about 3 months and i'm already at a 2.It did hurt skiping a few sizes but not too bad since i have a somewhat high pain tolerance.I'm going up to 2 inches.I'm really excited to get to 1 1/8's since i'll stick with that for a bit before i starting moving closer to 2 inches.:)

rochelle thompson on October 26, 2011:

i'm at 5/8 now and i used acrylic tapers and such through most of my stretching time except from 1/2-5/8 with no problem at all. when i sized up then i used the taping method but my lobes are getting really dry. should i just put lotion on them or what would help best?

Suzanne on October 21, 2011:


Everyone I know that has stretched ears just did it without even asking for their parents' approval, and once the parents noticed, they couldn't really do anything about it except complain. Personally, I waited until I moved out to stretch my ears.

WJ on October 20, 2011:

Ok, so I've been gauging for about a year and a half and I'm 17. I'm trying to gauge to 5/8th but it hurts like a bitch. I've had my 9/16th in for about 2 months and I was pretty sure I was ready to gauge. Am I not ready to gauge up? I mean I never ever had to wait this long to gauge up. It's been smooth sliding after 00. If I'm not ready, how much longer should I wait?

Tessa on October 17, 2011:

I turn 15 in 3 days, and ive had my ears pierced for 4 or 5 months now and i keep looking at the jewelry on ebay, and all the jewelry i want i would have to stretch my ears, but that doesn't bother me. My mom is majorly against it but not against as much as me getting my lip pierced... but the problem i have is im busy 24/7 i do volleyball year round, and i also doing wieght lifting everyday, and sometimes twice day. but i just want to know from those that have their ears stretched, did you talk to your parents about doing it or did you just do it? or how did you convince your parents to let you stretch your ears?

Leeluh on October 13, 2011:

I just used acrylic's to gauge my ears from a 6 to a 4 and it's pretty painful. im afraid it could be infected. Any tips?

Ashley on October 13, 2011:

All you little 12, 13, and 14 year old KIDS who are at 0 and 00. You really are just doing it for the trend.

Knock it off.

Kenna on October 13, 2011:

Aha Im only 14 and i NEVER wore my regular earrings and i decided to gauge, so i trotted on down to Hottopic and purchased me some nifty 10G pinchers and stuck em right in. It only hurt a little and in about a week im planning to go up to an 8(:

Shelson:D on October 04, 2011:

i've had my ears peirced for a little over a year now, and i think i want to start gauging my ears. i'm 13, and i think the small ones look cool, i definitely don't want to get big gauges. but i'm not sure if my mom will let me start gauging. x3 am i able to get fake gauges for now?

Lela Acron on September 18, 2011:

The easiest stretch is going from 0 to 00 in my opinion. I didn't even have to stretch Just lubed them then stuck them in. my opinion to all starting off start your stretch at 10 or 8 if you have had earrings for a while. I found my ears were already stretched to an eight from the weight of all my earrings I had worn over the years. Tapers where the only thing I used up to 00 use them with vitamin E oil and it should be a breeze. Also if you are not sure if you want to keep your gauges you should probably not do it at all. I plan to go to a 1 inch and will never take them out.

Victoria on September 07, 2011:

thanks for the tips, i accually started at gauge 12 about 1 month ago, now im at gauge 10, n' im using tapers to strech, it doesn't hurt ATall, lol idid an experament to see if my ear would go back to the original shape , and it did! but i acually left it out too long and i could barely put my regular earing in! LOL ,anywaysthanks 4 the tips.. kpce :)

Megan on September 02, 2011:

I first stretched my ears when I was 12 and this was back in 2002. My best friend and I actually didn't use tapers or any gauge at all, we used straws, and yea at this point I know it wasn't the brightest idea but now hers are at a 0g. A couple of years ago I let mine heal up and they had been at a 0g for 3 years, and they grew all the way back up. Now I'm at a 7/16th and have had no trouble using the plastic tapers from hottopic. I'm almost 100% positive that the peeps in tribes who stretch their lobes don't run out to their nearest hottopic to buy tapers, they've been using bone and other natural material since the beginning, therefore, it can't be too bad. Happy Stretching folks!!

robert on September 01, 2011:

honestly i love my ears :D

im at 30mm and im not stoping until i hit 2" lol i took my gauges out when i was an inch to see if they would go back as an experament and it letrally depends on your body because mine shrunk back to around half inch in abuot 2 in a half weeks.. then i started stretching again and now at 30mm in fact i was just at 28mm just a few seconds ago until i decided to put em in lol then decided to look up "easiest" ways to stretch your ears and honistly its a loooonnngggg process :D

z on August 31, 2011:

What's the point in stretching if you're only going to stretch it so it "looks like there's a stud in my ear"? Why do it? Sounds like you're doing it to please a group of friends or something. And no, a smaller size gauge will NOT bar you from college...

Alex on August 31, 2011:

So I just stretched my right lobe with a surgical steel taper, but the tunnel is a bitch to get in. It's not flared, but it just won't. Would leaving in the taper for a little bit help? Oh, and I used Holey Butt'r, which helped a lot in getting the taper through. I used to use rubbing alcohol, because I didn't want to use lotion. I'm stretching my lobes to a 6g from an 8g right now. It stings a little bit, but eh. I took an Advil and now it's fine. But yeah, would leaving the taper in for a bit help to get the tunnel in?

Laina on August 27, 2011:

Honestly it depends on YOU! I went from 10s to 0s in two weeks! And I used acrylic spirals for stretching. So, it's different for everyone, because my ears are healthy and healed!!

Jayne on August 24, 2011:

This is VERY useful. I'm currently at 00g and I am planning on stretching to 7/16ths soon. It's been over a year or so since I've stretched and I wanted to make it as smooth as possible. Thanks so much for the tips.

Chris on August 19, 2011:

I swear some ideas people have are inane. As for skipping sizes, It can be done without ripping/ blowout. Although not everybody is the same.I went from 14g to 8g myself, didn't skip any sizes beyond that and certainly would not recommend it because once you get up to 8g the increments seem to become larger. As far as the waiting period is concerned from my personal experience, give it the time to heal and usually if you are ready to stretch there will be a bit of excess space in your piercing or the jewelry just wants to fall out.I have always used this as guideline for when it is good to stretch and never had a blowout or tear.Just let your body tell you when it is ready. I had mine up to 9/16 inch and they healed up to 4g.I've also known people that had up to an inch and it healed up to around 00g or 7/16 inch ( Can't tell for sure.)

I was also wondering where I could buy bondage tape, as I'm wanting to re stretch mine to at least 3/4 inch and heard it is easier to work with than teflon tape.

f on August 17, 2011:

Some earrings look like chunky jewels, but the clasp is actually gauged moderately; I'm not sure what the exact gauge would be for those which look like this.

Stupid person on August 16, 2011:

Okay, so I waited exactly two weeks to stretch from a 4 to a 2, but during this process, my loves started to burn; not the normal sort of, minor discomfort that I've previously expierenced while stretching, but a somewhat unbearable pain that I couldn't much tolerate. Five minutes later, I took my two's out with the intention of putting my four's back in to wait longer, but I noticed what seemed similar to a blowout on my left lobe. I immidently cleaned the hole and put my four's back in through the side of where I think the blowout is and continue to do this daily. The tapers I used to stretch to a 2 are steel, and the plugs I have in now are acyrilic, but my question I need to downsize to a 6, or am I okay with sticking to my 4's?

nikki on August 15, 2011:

Hey i actually have a question that may be a little stupid. But i have just started gauging my ears I'm at a 14g now an wanting to go to a 12g then to a 10g in time after my ears heal properly but while i was ordering me some 12g stainless steel circular barbells they asked me to pick my gauge then my size...Well what did they mean by my size like a 2mm for 12g is that right?

Dustin13 on August 14, 2011:

my ears are at 00g and i'm only 13 and not sure if i will still want me ears spaced when i get older and was wondering if they will still close???

chelleydee33 on July 29, 2011:

I've stretched my lobes for years. I let them close up sometimes and then wind up stretching them again. For some reason this time the plugs don't look centered in my earlobe. There is nothing wrong with the whole (no tears, blow out or anything like that) they're just not centered. Any ways to fix this?

Nick on July 28, 2011:

hey i don't even have my ears pierced yet but am interested in getting them pierced. i only wanna go to about twelve. might it go back?

Hana on July 06, 2011:

The First Time I stretched my ears i went from a normal 20g to an 8g. It hurt like hell but my ears eventualy healed. I use only acrylic to stretch. I also find that if your constanly playing with your plugs and pulling on them it makes the holes stretch graudualy.I don't even need tapers to stretch I can just put the bigger plugs in. Maybe its just me but i haven't had any problems with stretching with acrylics. I've been stretching for a year and a half and they are sitting at 9/16. I Have no Issues with them and I don't even do half the shit that's recommended for after care.

carmenmare on July 03, 2011:

okay so im been stretching my ears for a while now, and i want to go dwn to a 0 but im trying and trying and its so painful and it doesn't want to go in alll the way just half, what do i do? i tryed the shower and lub even lotion alcohol and nothing......... its never been painful until now and i want a 0 and stay here but i need to know another way to make it go in. should i get drunk and try that LOL

Kittyboo on June 30, 2011:

So I was wondering if I could go from a 14 to a 4 I have done it before with no issues at all. What do you think?

Chay on June 30, 2011:

I'm 16 and I really want to gauge my ears, but I'm scared my ear won't shrink back and I won't get excepted into college and all of that. I just want it to look like the stud of an earring is in my ear, so nothing too big, but I don't know what size to get.

Kimi on June 23, 2011:

Wow, just saying, alot of you are REALLY young, mind you, im only 17, but im only stretching to a 6g. Just make sure you all are considering the consequences of skipping sizes, and also that you really want to do it not just because everyone else is, if I did it when everyone else started I could probably fit my fist through my ear, really really think about it before doing, as mentioned in the article, it may be permanent. I put my 12g swirly earrings in right away, just because my ears were previously gauged to an 8g, and that was over a year ago, so, it shows that everyone's ears heal and shrink differently. Everyone doing this please be careful and take good care of the piercing.

Anyway, thanks Whitney for posting this, it truly was a lot of help! Keep up the great work.

Much love

chaza gh on June 17, 2011:

i went from a 12 gauge to a 0 in two weeks nothings happened everythings fine but it hurts a lot!

Maryrose Omundson on June 07, 2011:

Wow. That's weird. I'm hoping to get up to a 1 1/2

Gauging youngg on June 05, 2011:

okay well

im pretty sure what i just used to stretch my ears was acrylic

im 14 and im at 12

i had the regular 14g peircing

if i keep the acrylics in

will the bacteria cause MAJOR problems or will it just be bacteria

Bailey on June 03, 2011:

I am a professional piercer, and reading these comments makes me lose hope in people. Its really not that difficult to understand.

No, you shouldn't skip sizes. Just because you *can* doesn't mean you should.

Using acrylic to stretch your ears (again, is doable) is totally unsanitary, and even though its possible, isn't advisable.

If you have just had your ear pierced, the proper healing time is 6-8 weeks. Stretching before this is just plain risky.

You are a moron if you are piercing yourself with safety pins and paper clips. if you want something pierced, save up for it and get it done professionally or ask your parents. Doing it yourself is just... Stupid. For people that think boiling a safety pin or pouring alcohol on it makes it sterile, it doesn't.

Use your common sense. Don't take piercing advice from friends, people at the mall, or Hot Topic employees. You wouldn't go to a shoe store asking questions about your health. Don't put faith in people that have no professional training.

If you're stretching your ears quickly because you're impatient, maybe you need to rethink the entire process. Ear stretching is an ancient, spiritual ritual that is being totally disrespected by a bunch of impatient teenagers. Stretching slowly also allows you time to consider what you are doing to your body. If you are worried about getting jobs, thinking you are going to take them out eventually, or hoping your ears will grow back to normal... Don't do it. Its as simple as that. Ear stretching is supposed to be a commitment you make with your body, not a snap decision made to be like your friends.

Furthermore, if you can't afford to stretch properly, then don't do it. Save up a little at a time and get them stretched by a professional, or buy a pair of tapers at a time and save up. If you're truly interested in the lifelong commitment of ear stretching, then having to wait for it shouldn't bother you. In fact, many see it as part of the process. Its supposed to be an evolution that you pay attention to and respect, not just an uneducated decision made because everyone is doing it these days.

If you skip sizes, pierce yourself, stretch too quickly, or any number of bad decisions, its as simple as this: expect blowouts, complications, infections, scar tissue, and problems.

Be smart about it. It is body modification after all.

Kayla J on June 01, 2011:

Hahaha, some of the people that comment here say the stupidest things. It made my night reading this. Great article, btw.

Teagan on June 01, 2011:

I've been gauging my ears recently, I got them pierced about a month ago, and I had the piecer who did it stretch them for me (from 14G to 8G with bone spiral tapers)and I want to go from 8 to 6, but I'm scared to get a tear or blow out, I'm using A&D for lubrication. I make sure to take an extremely hot shower first, my ears are healed, but it's only been a week since last stretch, will it be okay to go from 8 to 6 when my new spirals arrive (glass 6G)???

Haylee on June 01, 2011:

I've strected with silicone, and acrylic and never got infected, also I strected every two weeks amd was fine. Some ppl just don't heal as quick

Mike g on May 26, 2011:

Ive used tapers to stretch. I'm at a 6g now. But from a 10g to an 8g i used a tunnel, had no pain at all. Now from my 6g taper, i'm going to a 4g tunnel, What do you think?