In Elayne Angel’s book "The Piercing Bible," ear stretching is receiving greater visibility and acceptability in wider society as more people choose this form of body modification. Stretching your ear piercing is in fact becoming increasingly popular. The process involves a healed ear piercing that is diligently enlarged using progressively larger pieces of jewelry. It is important when stretching an ear piercing that enough time is taken as the process must be done slowly and patiently in order to avoid any unnecessary discomfort and tearing of the earlobe.
The earliest known person to have stretched earlobes was an Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh King Tutankhamen otherwise known as “King Tut”. It can clearly be seen in one of his more famous images on his sarcophagus.
In recent years, stretching your ear piercing has gained much popularity in Western culture.
When we look back to the origins of ear stretching it becomes nearly impossible to date when in fact ear stretching started gaining popularity, but we do know it is a ritual performed by many different tribes and groups of people spanning all across the globe for tens of centuries. For women, larger ears were a sign of beauty and for others they were meant to show wisdom.
Recommended Methods for Stretching your Ear piercing
There are a few recommended means of stretching your ear piercing, however the best method is dependant on the size they're trying to achieve and is dependant from person to person. After making sure that your ears are fully healed from the initial piercing, you can start stretching at a 16 gauge. Most regular piercings are at 18 gauge. You'll only want to go one size bigger during each stretch. Here are a couple methods a professional piercer would suggest:
One of the most suggested methods is tapering. Tapers make changing jewelry sizes much easier than trying to force in a new size by hand and are very gentle on the skin around your piercing. Tapering gradually increase the size of the piercing. By adding the right amount lubricant as your increase the width of your taper, you will find this process to be less irritating and easier.
Ear Scalpelling is when a professional piercer cuts a slice in your ear, rather than simply piercing it. This slice then allows you to insert larger jewellery into your ear right from the start. Although ear scalpelling is safe with regards to the low risk of infection, you ear is less likely to heal and return to normal.
Tips for a successful stretch
Slow and steady
It’s very important to practice patience when stretching your ear piercing. Only after your earlobe piercing has taken the full 4-6 weeks to heal should you begin the stretching process. Never attempt to stretch a piercing more than 2 sizes in a week. The skin tissues need to strengthen, stabilize and regrow. Waiting as much as a month between stretches is usually recommended. Your piercer will be able to identify how long you should wait between stretches.
Not too heavy
For the purpose of stretching large gauge rings, padlocks should not be considered as they most likely will cause tearing, weakened tissue and hole disfigurement. We would recommend using anything biocompatible and light weight for post stretching purposes.
Placement is Everything
Proper piercing placement in the centre of the lobe is crucial for a healthier and easier stretch. If you are unsure if your initial piercing is ideal for stretching consult a professional.
Will My Ear Lobe Hole Shrink Back?
It depends. Each person's skin offers a different amount of elasticity. While overtime smaller stretches may have some success in their regression, stretches with a larger gauge will become permanent and can only be surgically repaired. Once the ear is past a certain point, it’s ability to heal is lost.
Contact Chronic Ink
Everyone who’s looking to stretch their ears should get it done by a professional Toronto & Vancouver piercing shop. Ear stretching can be tricky because everyone has unique tissue and skin types and different ideas of how to stretch them. Our piercing experts are ready to give you all the advice and hands on instructions on how to properly stretch your earlobes or any other body piercings. Contact us today.