STRETCHING: Frequently Asked Questions
The Stretching FAQ
Is it gauging or stretching?
You stretch a piercing, you gauge a car and unless your earlobes are cars, you are stretching your earlobe piercings. There is no excuse to use and support improper terminology, if you can’t even get the terminology right, stretching is far too complex for you.
What’s the big deal with saying “gauges”?
Unless you’re referring to multiple gauges (i.e. 14g - 0g) then it is very confusing on what the you’re talking about. I’ve been told “gauges” means stretched ears, plugs, eyelets, tapers, and everything in between, but the thing is, none of the above are “gauges”.
So what is a gauge?
A gauge is a unit of measurement that generally measures the thickness of jewelry (if you use millimeters to measure jewelry, you may have been confused as to what i was talking about up until this point). Unless you’re referring to your size of jewelry or what size you’ve stretched your ears to, you should not say ‘gauge(s)’ to describe stretched ears, plugs, eyelets and everything in between.
Tapers or the taping method?
The taping method is much easier, healthier and better for your lobes because you stretch the piercing in very small increments whereas with a taper you just bluntly stretch.
If you use tapers to stretch, make sure they go in easily with NO resistance and make sure you follow through with a plug (or actual appropriate jewelry).
If you use the taping method, one layer a day is a good way to stretch however if you notice your piercings getting tender, give them a few days to rest and adjust. Remember to take off all the tape and clean the plug at least once a week to maintain hygiene (and re-tape after plug is cleaned and dried).
Why can’t I wear tapers as jewelry?
Well, tapers aren’t jewelry in the first place so that’s a pretty good reason to not wear them as such. You also shouldn’t wear tapers as jewelry because it puts uneven pressure on the piercing thus making it thin and uneven and you run the risk of the taper ripping your piercing while sleeping (this has happened many times before). If you can’t afford tapers + plugs, rather wait until you have the money or start the taping method.
When should I stop using tapers?
You can start the taping method whenever you want, however it is in YOUR best interest to use the taping method 2g(6mm)+. Stretches past 2g (6mm) are 2mm which can be far too much for most piercings all at once (through the taper method). It is, again, much better, easier and healthier to use the taping method so switch once you’re at 2g (6mm).
What tape do I use for the taping method?
PTFE/Teflon/Plumber’s tape or bondage tape.
What oils should I use?
Vitamin E, jojoba, avocado (optional), emu (optional) and extra virgin olive (optional) oil should be used to massage your ears 1-2x a day.
How long should I wait in between stretches?
This is the waiting time I was told by piercers I trust, this waiting time obviously doesn’t apply to all so if you notice your ears resisting a stretch, stop, downsize and wait until your ears are ready.
16g/1.2mm - 8g/3.2mm wit at least one month
6g/4mm - 2g/6mm wait at least two months
0g/8mm - 00g/10mm+ wait at least three months
What materials of jewelry are appropriate for a freshly stretched piercing?
Stainless steel, titanium, bioplast, 14kt+ gold, niobium, platinum and glass are find materials for a freshly stretched piercing (be careful if you use glass as it can break). You should never wear anything porous in a freshly stretched piercing, especially not acrylic.
What’s wrong with acrylic?
Not only is it porous (meaning it can harbor much bad bacteria and has the potential of your tissue growing into it), but it also is toxic and can leach carcinogens into your skin and it’s also easy to break— do NOT wear acrylic after a fresh stretch and once the piercing is fully healed, only wear it for short-term.
What materials can I use after a piercing is fully healed and what should I know about them?
To find out more information about material for jewelry, go here (click on the material you want to learn about).
Should stretching hurt? Why are my ears bleeding?
Stretching should never hurt, you may feel a stinging sensation when you stretch, but that’s the most you should ever feel. If you experience actual pain when stretching, stop immediately and downsize (pain indicates that your body isn’t ready yet). If your piercing is bleeding, also stop immediately and downsize. Bleeding indicates not only that your body wasn’t ready, but it also indicates that you have a tear and/or blowout. After you downsize, do saline soaks 2-3x a day for 5-10 minutes until the tear heals.
I have a blowout, what can I do to fix it?
An easy way to spot a forming/formed blowout is my regularly checking your ears in the mirror, this way you can monitor what your ears look like, so you’ll notice a change if one occurs.
What to do: Remove the jewellery. No if’s, ands or buts. Take it out. Leave it out. Let the fistula shrink back. It will not be attractive or pretty, but health comes before aesthetics and you only get one pair of earlobes. If you ears are free of tears or open wounds, then you can begin daily/twice daily massages. You can use: Bio Oil, Emu Oil, Vitamin E Oil, Jojoba Oil, and even extra virgin olive. Massage your lobes firmly, but not vigorously. Do this for 3 months at a minimum. Head down to your local reputable piercer, or using trial-and-error, determine your new, smaller ear size. Buy high quality jewellery. If you want to stretch up again, wait 3 months between sizes, regardless of where you are. Keep up with the massages.