Hello! Welcome to our "Questions from Snapchat" series! We choose a question frequently sent to us by followers on our Snapchat and answer it here, in blog post form, to ensure you never run out of seconds to learn all the info!
Today's post will cover how to stretch your ears from 2 gauge up to 0 gauge, which is considered to be one of the toughest stretches of your ear expansion journey. Make sure you check out quotes of stretching wisdom and lessons snapped to us by your fellow #BODYCANDYBABES spread throughout!
Even if you're just stepping into the stretching game, you've probably noticed that the increments between gauge sizes don't increase at the same rate. As the size of plug gets larger, the measured difference between gauge sizes gradually increases too. For example, the difference between 16 gauge and 14 gauge is only about .4mm whereas the difference between 2 gauge and 0 gauge is 2mm.
Since this specific stretch is the first stretch you'll encounter with that big of a difference between sizes, it's no wonder why so many of you want tips on how to make it easier! So, let's get to it!
The most common methods used for stretching today are tapering, taping, dead stretching, weighting, and scalpelling. Each technique presents its own risks and benefits depending on a number of factors including the type and the size of the piercing you're trying to enlarge.
We will focus on the taping and tapering approaches to stretching your lobes in our post. Even though they may take longer and require some extra investment, both methods are highly recommended because they provide you and your lobes with the least chance of encountering issues during the stretching process.
✦ TAPER TECHNIQUE ✦
With tapering there will be two new pieces of jewelry involved: the taper and the new larger sized plug. When you choose this method to stretch your ears, a taper of the larger size - in this case, 0 gauge - is inserted through your piercing pointed end first, then pushed through to the larger end, which will have the same diameter in measurement as your new 0 gauge jewelry. For a smooth transition from taper to plug, place the new jewelry against the back of the taper’s flat end and when the taper has been pushed through your piercing, the new jewelry will follow and remain there.
Stretching your lobes right after you get out of the shower can help to make stretching easier because the tissue will be more flexible. The use of special lubricants or stretching balms is a necessity for comfort and ease in the process no matter your method. You may experience some resistance, but it shouldn’t be painful.
Want to use tapers to stretch but hate having to wear them too long? You can always choose to invest in interchangeable taper plugs instead. These sets come with three separate parts: a taper tip, a tunnel section, and a screw-on backing. When the taper and tunnel portions are screwed together, they pass through the ear like a regular stretching taper, and once the tunnel side is properly in place, the taper can be removed and the back screwed on to create a regular screw fit plug. Much easier, right?
The standard technique for stretching is using tapers, but if your ear isn’t ready for the new size it won’t help you a millimeter. The taping method helps with that.
✦ TAPING TECHNIQUE ✦
Tape stretching is considered the safest method by many piercers because the sizing will increase very gradually, and if performed correctly, the process will allow the skin to adjust to your new size more comfortably. The types of tape commonly used are PTFE tape and bondage tape, which are non-toxic and won’t irritate your skin. Each new layer of tape makes the plug's diameter grow slightly in size, and as the size of the piercing adjusts and slowly stretches, eventually a larger size plug will be able to be inserted.
You'll want to wrap your 2 gauge plug with tape so that the diameter is slightly larger than before and then reinsert it into your ear. Wrapping your plug with tape is simple: take your 2 gauge plug (we recommend using a straight plug or single flared plug) and wrap between 1-3 layers of tape. Doing this about once per week is the recommendation, and it takes about 1-2 months. Gauging up this way takes a little longer, but allows for healing time with minimal risk for damage or blowouts.
DON'T FORGET AFTERCARE
Even if you can’t see any sort of irritation, your earlobe's skin is stretching and forming micro-tears, which are just as susceptible to infection as an open wound is. Always be sure to wait at least a month between stretches so they can heal completely. Oh, and keep those lobes moisturized to avoid blowouts and scarring!
What is a blow out? A blowout happens from stretching too fast and skipping sizes. The skin on the inside of your ear is forced outwards, causing a flap on the back of your stretched lobe. A blowout that is allowed to heal will be permanent, so, honestly, it's best to just avoid this complication altogether by practicing the recommended stretching guidelines. If you should ever encounter a blowout when stretching your ears, immediately downsize to lower the risk of damage to your lobes.
As tempting as it is to skip gauge sizes when stretching up, DON’T DO IT! Patience is key.
Stretching your ears shouldn't hurt, so if you are experiencing pain you are likely stretching too fast. Should you experience any swelling, redness, or tenderness due to infection throughout the stretching process, size back down to a comfortable gauge and allow the lobe to heal fully before attempting to size up again. Waiting a full month between stretches is the recommendation.
PIERCERS ARE YOUR FRIENDS! Remember, even if you prefer to stretch on your own, your local professional piercer is an ally and he or she can share a wealth of knowledge and useful tips that will streamline the process of just about anything, including stretching your ears, usually free of charge.