Remember, ear stretching is a body modification and should be taken seriously and responsibly. It's your choice and your body and your responsibility. We accept no responsibility for any injury you sustain using any of our jewellery or advice. The below information is our opinion only and expert medical advice should be sought if you encounter any injury.
Right, got that out of the way...
Well, first you need the ear pierced. Just a standard ear piercing, not close to the edge of the lobe, then you need to wait. Generally its best to wait at least 2 months before you stretch, some people think you should wait even longer. Anyway, once you have a fully healed standard earring piercing, then you can start to stretch it.
The best way to stretch your ears is patiently and gently.
Different people have different ways of stretching. This is my method, the taper method. You can google for other methods of stretching, like the taping method which uses bondage tape wound around a plug to increase its diameter. The taping method seems more popular when people get to the large sizes.Taper Stretching
You must stretch up very slowly, moving a taper further in, gently stretching the hole, over a period of days... A taper or stretcher is a shape that gently expands the hole as you push it into the ear. What shape is up to you. Some people prefer straight tapers, others circular or spiral tapers. We have lots to choose from.
If you are going to stretch your own piercings, be sure to wash your hands with hot water and a liquid, antibacterial soap.
If you are just starting to stretch from a fully healed standard ear piercing hole, then start with a 1.6 or 2mm taper. Push it in as far as it will easily go, then give it another slight twist and push, then stop. It should feel uncomfortable but not really painful. It shouldnt really 'hurt' , it definately shouldnt bleed, there should just be a warm glow in the lobe. Go slowly. You risk a 'blow out' (see below) if you try and stretch too quick. This can cause permanent damage to your lobe.
Leave the taper in the ear. Wait for the ear to settle down before continuing. This varies greatly between people, it might be a few hours or it could be a day or two. Everyone is different, listen to your body. Once it feels ready give it another twist and push deeper in. Dont be too vigorous, you can seriously damage your ear lobes by rushing this. Remember, take your time... Go slowly. It could take a day to go up a millimeter, it could take a week, everyones different. Dont rush. However long it takes, the taper should be removed often, so you can clean the ear and give it a salt bath (see below)
Keep up the process until the taper is fully in. I then leave it for another day or two before I change to some other jewellery. Dont try and use double flared plugs for some weeks (see below). Stick to jewellery that doesnt require a further stretch for a few weeks.
Although I didnt use lubricants, because I tend to stretch very slowly, some people find a little lubrication helps. If you want to use a lubricant, choose wisely. There are conflicting opinions on what is a safe lubricant to use. I have heard of people using vaseline or olive oil, probably a safer option would be to use a mild, liquid anti-microbial soap (obviously without fragrance). I'd recommend that whatever you use, make sure to wash it all off after with warm water.Saline Solution (Salt Bathing)
Clean your fresh stretches at least once a day with saline solution (salt water). Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of boiling water, wait for the water to cool down, remove the jewellery and soak the lobe, this helps prevent infection and aids healing. Use non-iodized, fine-grain sea salt for your soaks, It is better than regular table salt, which typically contains additives that could be incompatible with wound healing.
I find pouring the salt water into an egg cup is the easiest way to apply the solution to the lobe.. You can 'dunk' your lobes into the egg cup, and leave them soaking in the solution for a couple of minutes.. swishing them around.
For those of you who want an aftercare solution in a bottle, we now supply BPA Stretching aftercare solution
This has added ingredients to help your stretch heal, like Vitamin E and Tea Tree oil. It comes in a handy sized bottle that you can take around with you to add a few drops every now and then.
Remember to keep your ears clean. Remove the jewellery regularily and wash the lobes with anti-bacterial soap. Massaging the lobes is a good idea, use olive oil, or even better, use 'Holey Buttr'
which is specially formulated for stretched lobes.
The larger your holes get the more dead skin, moisture, bacteria, and dust can collect in them. This smelly, (cheesy) oily substance which forms (called sebum) needs to be cleaned out on a regular basis. It seems that the build up of sebum is not as bad with 'organic' materials as these allow the ear to 'breathe'.
When you want to stretch again, a taper or crescent with a gentle increase in diameter of a millimeter or two from your current hole size should be chosen.
Only stretch up by a millimeter or two at a time. Then wait for the hole to completely heal and feel fine before stretching again. Probably 4 or 5 weeks later. Dont rush it or you'll damage the ear lobe and increase the risk of infection.
There are other ways of stretching your ears... using ear weights is one.. another way is the 'tape' method, where bondage tape or ptfe tape is wrapped around a plug to increase its diameter.
Some people seem to be getting very large gauge piercings now, 5mm and even larger. A whole chunk is taken from the ear. This obviously isnt ear 'stretching' at all, and in our opinion the resultant hole will present problems if the person wants to stretch larger later. In our opinion its better to stretch slowly like its always been done.