What is Dead Stretching?

What is Dead Stretching?

What is dead stretching and how can it change your stretching game forever? Dead stretching is stretching your piercings using nothing more than time, massage, a quality body oil, gravity, and the right jewelry. If done properly, your journey to a large gauge piercing should be relatively painless and easy. If anything, the patience is the hard part!



First of all, let’s talk jewelry. You can stretch any piercing but for the sake of brevity, we’re going to keep this to earlobe piercings. In order for this to work, you need single-flare glass plugs. And you’re going to need them in every size. This can be tricky because you’ll need to track them down in some odd sizes, but they are out there and will make this much easier. The difference between 16 gauge and 14 gauge is less than a half millimeter but the difference between 2 gauge and 0 gauge is two full millimeters. Once you start getting to gaps of that size, you’ll want to go by millimeter instead of gauge.

Of course, you’ll need a piercing. If you don’t already have a hole to stretch, you’ll need to get pierced and let it heal completely. A standard lobe piercing is generally 18 gauge although, if you’re getting pierced with the specific plan of stretching, you can talk to your piercer about getting a larger gauge to start. Once your piercing is completely healed, you’ll want to pick up some body-safe oil. Emu, sweet almond, and jojoba are good choices. You don’t want to use mineral oil, anything with petroleum products or anything just labelled “massage oil”. Give those lobes a good, greasy rub a few times a week. This helps promote blood flow and will help keep your lobes from thinning as you continue to stretch them. Keeping the blood flowing to the area will also help with healing so you minimize the amount of puckering around the edges of the fistula.


Another thing you want to get into the habit of is VERY GENTLY pulling downwards on your jewelry. The word gently can not be emphasized enough. If it hurts, you’re doing it WAY too hard! Think of hanging ear weights – the weight and gravity alone are enough to help stretch a piercing over time so don’t go yanking on your jewelry. You don’t need to pull hard. A good idea is to combine this with the massages, so your skin is nice and lubricated. And remember – this is for HEALED piercings only and to be done with CLEAN hands.

Over time, your current jewelry should start to feel loose within the piercing. This means you’re on the right path! When you feel like your piercings are ready – nice and loose within the piercing – you’ll need a single-flare glass plug and some more of your massaging oil. You’ll want to clean the plug first. You can use alcohol or just antibacterial soap and hot water. You’ll also want to clean the o-ring that holds it in place. Hot water and antibacterial soap will do this nicely. (Don’t forget to close the sink drain!) Thoroughly dry the plug and the o-ring and wash your hands as well. You then want to lightly oil your earlobe and the body of the plug. Don’t use too much oil – greasy hands may make this harder! You should be able to simply insert the jewelry. If you feel any pain or tearing or if you see any blood, stop immediately. Remove the plug and put your old jewelry back in. Your piercing isn’t quite ready yet. If the jewelry slides (slowly, gently!) into the piercing without a problem, put the o-ring on the back. You have successfully dead stretched your piercing!

Over the years, methods for piercing, aftercare, and jewelry styles have all slowly changed. Dead stretching is a natural and exciting alternative to previous stretching methods. All you really need is patience! (And the right tools!)

Happy piercing!