The Basics of Ear Stretching

Ear stretching is when an ear piercing is stretched from the size it was pierced at to a larger size. There are different methods that are recommended for stretching your ears, but the basics of safe ear stretching are the same. 

Only One Size at a Time.

This is one of the most important basics of ear stretching. Stretching up one size at a time will prevent the ears from tearing and building up scar tissue. Skin has a natural elasticity, so you want to play nicely with that elasticity to stretch your ears. 

This is one of the basics of ear stretching that is often overlooked by people that haven’t researched or read up on the ear stretching methods. Stretching too many sizes at once will cause scar tissue to build up and lead to tissue blowout. 

Lubricate While Stretching.

Use a high-quality oil on the taper or plug you are using to stretch your ear to minimize pain and stress on your ear tissue during a stretch. 

There are many kinds of oils available that are perfect for this job: jojoba oil, vitamin e oil emu oil, stretch up salve, or try holey buttr if you need a vegan-friendly option.

Heal for 4-8 Weeks Between Stretches.

The tissue of the ear needs time to heal and rebuild the elasticity needed to stretch again. Your body may be ready to go again in 4 weeks, but waiting 6 to 8 weeks is normal. The longer you wait in between stretches, the better off your ear tissue will be!

Stretching again before 4 weeks is too soon for the body to have recovered from the previous stretch and makes it very likely that you will tear the tissue of the ear and create scar tissue.

Don’t Cause Pain or Bleeding.

If the ear is properly healed, is only stretched up one size, and an oil lubricates the stretch, then there should be very minimal pain and no bleeding. As mentioned, the skin has a natural elasticity that you are working with when stretching. Pain and bleeding are signs you are have exceeded the limit of what your body can safely recover from. 

Stretching should feel warm and cause tightness in the piercing. But if there is anything worse, then you will want to go back down a plug size and let your ear heal so it doesn’t scar or get infected.

Use Safe Jewelry.

While you are in the process of stretching your ears you will need to wear jewelry that is appropriate for stretching. Round, single or non flared glass plugs, stainless steel plugs, or titanium plugs are best for stretching. 

The round shape distributes the pressure evenly around the piercing. Glass and metal are smooth, non-porous materials that can be sterilized to eliminate bacteria. A non flared edge is necessary because the flared edge of a plug needs some extra room to be inserted, and a freshly stretched ear piercing will not have that flexibility. An o-ring will keep the plug in place instead of a flare.

To clarify, wood plugs, stone plugs, ear weights, and non-round plugs are not meant for stretching or for freshly stretched ears. Wood and stone hold bacteria that can infect healing skin tissue, and teardrop shaped plugs and ear weights don’t distribute pressure evenly on the ear and can thin out healing tissue.

Urban Body Jewelry’s Ear Stretching Guide

These basic principles of ear stretching are meant to keep your ears undamaged and healthy during the stretching process. If you are looking for more information on how to stretch, read our complete Ear Stretching Guide that discusses both ear stretching methods.