Stretching Your Ear Lobe Piercings
Ear Lobe Gauging Tips
Itís trendy right now for young people to wear pierced earrings
fashioned with thick, decorative posts and rings. Even if your ears
were pierced to a more standard size, you can stretch your ear lobe
holes using a gradual process that some people call gauging.
takes some time to size up, but if you do it carefully youíll be
able to wear the newer styles and keep your earlobes
Whatís a normal ear lobe gauge?
Most peopleís ear lobes are pierced with a 20 or
18-gauge needle. Common gauge sizes are named in even numbers
down to 00, with the size increasing as the numbers decrease.
There are larger gauges that are expressed as fractions.
Isnít it easier to punch larger holes to
Many piercers refuse to punch large holes because
totally removing a plug of skin makes it difficult, if not
impossible, to size back down later.
Skin is resilient, so leaving it there and forcing it to stretch
makes it easier to return to a smaller hole if you decide to
How should I stretch my ear lobes?
Itís important to change your gauge gradually,
allowing ample healing time between sizes. If you move too fast,
you might damage your skin enough to create scar tissue. Scars
make your ear look as if it is cracking around the hole and also
makes it very difficult to change gauge.
Jewelry grade stainless steel rings or plugs are
a good choice for gauging. Stainless is not porous, so it does
not absorb bacteria and dirt that can cause infections, and its
heavier weight helps the stretching process. Save the decorative
plastic and wooden pegs until your ears are healed.
I used these techniques to stretch my ear
lobes to accept 6 gauge earrings. Everyone is different, so
listen to your body during your gauging process. Donít move on
to a larger size until you feel comfortable about the change.
- Compare your earring posts to a gauge
chart to determine your current gauge.
- Buy rings in the next largest size. For
instance, if your current gauge is 20, purchase 18 gauge
- Wash your hands and earlobes with
- Massage one of your ear lobes.
- Insert the larger ring in that lobe. The
new ring wonít slide right in, so take it easy or you'll
tear your ear and make it bleed.
- Repeat the steps for your other ear.
Use a little antibacterial soap, such as
Provon or Dial, to help the rings go in more smoothly.
Expect some soreness as your lobes heal and
adjust to the new hole size. When theyíre fully healed, repeat
the process to step up one more size.
I waited about two weeks between sizes, but
you might find you need to wait longer.
There are special devices called tapering
rings or insertion tapers. They are round shafts that
gradually taper from a smaller to larger gauge along their
lengths. Your piercing professional can show you how to use the
tapers, or do it for you.
Clean your jewelry and earlobes once or twice
every day with an unscented antibacterial soap. Try cleaning
them when youíre in the shower, because the heat and moisture
make it easier and more comfortable to manipulate the area.
Saturate your ear lobes with lather and use a
cotton ball or disposable cloth to remove crusty residue. Turn
the rings gently to work soap into the area and to keep them
from sticking to your skin. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
Now soak your ear lobes in a solution made by
combining a pinch of sea salt in a cup of distilled water. Soak
for five to ten minutes.
Get Expert Advice
Talk to a professional body piercer any time you
need advice about your piercings.