Earlobe Stretching

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In this guide i would like to give some outlines or earlobe stretching. I will be answering questions such as:

  • What is stretching?
  • Is it suitable for everyone?
  • Is it safe?
  • What kind of jewelry are available?
  • If i remove the jewelry will the hole shrink to its normal size?
  • What different methods of stretching are available?

To start with,

Earlobe stretching is the practice of increasing the diameter of an earlobe piercing after the initial healing period for the purpose of wearing larger gauge jewelry.

Most people can stretch to at least 2G (6mm) and still have the tissue return to normal when they remove the jewelry, but there are no guarantees. Thus, earlobe stretching is not suitable for everyone especially for those who do not want their earlobes to be oversized. Once the elastic limit of the skin has been passed, or a large amount of additional tissue has been built up, the hole will not close again completely. On the other hand, plastic surgeons can rebuild a stretched earlobe.

Here are some problems you may face:

Most people can stretch about one inch(25mm) per year. Overstretching can result in tearing or migration which will usually lead to scar tissue. The biggest problem with this is that it makes further stretching more difficult. Also, damage to nerves leading to a loss of feeling in the tissue. However, feeling typically returns in six to twelve months. Damage can also be done to blood vessels, resulting in a loss of circulation, in which case the tissue may die or become significantly weakened. Another problem is the development of a lip behind the piercing. These blowout lips commonly appear around the earlobe. The simple way to get rid of them, if you catch them in time, is to downsize them immediately, and allow them to reabsorb. The more advance way to get rid of them is to physically remove them. One method that has been met with good success is tightly tying off the lip using a tunnel as a backing, allowing the tissue to die, and then removing it.

A variety of jewelry is available for stretched earlobes such as: plugs, tunnels(eyelets), large captive bead rings, and hanging styles.

In case you want to get rid of the stretched hole you should remove the jewelry for a long term period. This will shrink the hole until a certain size which is impossible to tell for every individual. Please note, however, that its generally accepted that a piercing stretched to 4G(5mm) or over is not likely to shrink to the point it will not be noticeable. Earlobes which have been scalpelled or punched will typically not shrink beyond the size they were when the procedure was performed.

Several methods are available for stretching your earlobes. Not all are equally prefered.


By wearing heavy jewelry in the piercing, the tissue of the earlobe gradually stretches to accommodate the weight. This has the advantage of being slow and gradual. However, weights put all of their pressure on the tissue directly supporting them. This causes stretching to be uneven and can lead to thinning. Stretching with weights is generally not recommended.


By periodically wrapping a few turns of electrical or teflon tape around your plug or your tunnel(eyelet), the diameter of the jewelry can be increased gradually and evenly.


In order to quickly attain larger diameter piercings and avoid stretching, one can undergo a procedure known as scalpelling. Scalpelling is currently practiced by a small number of body piercers, and involves cutting a slit in the tissue with a surgical scalpell then inserting the jewelry with the aid of a taper. Scalpelling does not remove any tissue.

Dermal Punch:        

A dermal punch is used to remove a circular portion of the earlobe, and jewelry is inserted in the hole. It is not recommended to dermal punch earlobes if later stretching is desired. This is because the dermal punch removes tissue, limiting future stretching.


A taper is a device for inserting larger gauge jewelry into a piercing. Generally of stainless steel, a taper is a rod which increases in diameter from one side to the other. The small end goes first with the aid of a lubricant which can be used to stretch the piercing up to the final larger size. The new jewelry is followed through after the taper just like with a piercing needle in a fresh piercing. Some tapers have threaded ends and can be physically attached to barbells or plugs to make the insertion of the jewelry easier. This method is prefered than the others since it is the safest and easiest.

Things to remember:

  • Stretch your earlobes only if you feel ok with having oversized earlobes for life.

  • Stretch gradually using a taper and a lubricant such as savlon.

  • Allow your earlobes to relax by giving them time between stretching and by taking out your jewelry for a couple of hours every now and then.

  • As a general rule do not stretch more than a mm per month.

  • Listen to your body.

I hope this is a useful guide on earlobe stretching!!!     



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