So you’ve decided that you want to stretch your ears, but would prefer to do it from the comfort of home? Well in that case, first thing’s first: you’ll want to get a home stretching kit.
Ear stretching kits are essentially a set of tapers or expanders that span a range of sizes, making gradual stretching possible. These sets usually include a single taper of about nine different sizes within your given range, complete with matching rubber o-rings to help hold each item in place. For example: a stretching kit for those who need to go from a 14 gauge (slightly larger than a standard piercing) to a 00 gauge (about 10mm in diameter) will include one taper of each size in between. In other words, one 14 gauge, one 12 gauge, a 10 gauge, an 8, a 6, a 4, a 2, a 0, and finally the desired size of 00 gauge.
Since most kits will only include one of each size taper, it’s a good idea to grab two complete kits, so that both ears can be stretched to the same size at the same time. For those who are willing to stretch at different rates, a single set can be used, with each taper piggybacking from one ear to the other. For optimum results, it’s recommended by most piercers to use some type of lubricating balm or oil in conjunction with your tapers, which will often help minimize discomfort and assist with easing each new larger size through. Stretching dry or upsizing too quickly can increase the risk of damage to the piercing skin, or fistula.
Want to use tapers to stretch but hate having to wear them too long? No problem. You can always choose to invest in interchangeable taper plugs instead. These are a collection of three parts that when assembled together can make either a taper, or a regular screw fit plug. This means that you can use the taper to stretch, then once it’s through, unscrew the long pointed end and replace it with a simple plug end. That way you’ll avoid the annoyance and risk of trying to remove a standard taper and push a new plug through your freshly stretched lobe.
Remember, even if you stretch at home, your neighborhood piercer is always a good ally when it comes to body mod, and he or she will be willing to share a wealth of knowledge that can streamline your process, usually free of charge. For more about plug jewelry, tribal mods, and stretching, check out the rest of our Plugs and Gauging category, and stay tuned.