The information here is provided by Dysmorphic Body Jewellery to help you stretch your ear lobes safely. There are other ways of stretching your lobes but we have always found this technique to give the best results. Other body parts that can be sucessfully stretched are the tongue, naval, nipples, septums and genitals. The advice given below is mainly for lobes as this is the area we have most experience with. When stretching keep yourself clean and listen to your body! If your body says no, then don't force it. Everybody here is welcome to our advice and to ask us questions. We'll always endeavour to help you wherever we can.
Remember every body is different and individual factors always come into play. What works for your best friend or that guy down the pub, may not work for you.
Stretching takes time and patience. When you're ready to begin stretching, it is wise to see a professional to get advice on techniques that you will need for the stretching process. For stretching the ears we recommend that you don't use water-based lubes, vegetable oil or petroleum-based lubes. A water-based lube should only be used when stretching your tongue or on a 'quick stretch' as the lubricant can dry after a short time. Vegetable oil goes funky quickly and petroleum-based lubes such as Vaseline are difficult to remove from skin which may result in the piercing harbouring lots of bacteria. We recommend using a liquid soap for sensitive skin or oils such as Jojoba or extra virgin Olive oil and even Vitamin E cream. Using a taper is the best way to stretch ear lobes.
The tissue you are stretching needs to be relaxed before you can start the process. A good way to do this is by soaking in warm water and massaging lightly. This will make the process a lot more bearable!
Stretching before a piercing is healed (even from the last stretch) can result in scar tissue build up and even extreme tearing. All stretching tends to damage tissue slightly and this is caused by stress or the friction of the stretch. This needs to fully heal before you attempt another stretch or you will be left with ugly, unstable piercings, possibly permanently. For cartilage stretching we recommend you take it extremely slow. It doesn't matter how brave you are, tough guy! Cartilage doesn't have it's own supply of blood and needs it's supply from surrounding skin. If you stretch cartilage too quickly the tissue can become so tight you cut off the supply of blood. This can lead to tissue death (necrosis) and can even shatter cartilage which can be extremely dangerous. The thicker and firmer the cartilage, the slower you need to take things.
Stretch With Care:
Before stretching always make sure your hands, jewellery and equipment are clean. Have some extra lube handy and remember not to stretch a piercing until it is fully healed! You must lube the first third of your taper to ensure the lubricant gets into the piercing and push gently until resistance is met. If more than half the taper is left, you may want to try a smaller size as it may become too painful to stretch the whole length of the taper. If you have less than half of the taper to go when you meet resistance, then you should be able to complete the next stage of stretching with a deep breath in. Continue to push (you should feel some resistance) until you are nearly at the end of the taper. At this point you may need a little bit more lube to get you over that final stage. Take care not to over lube as you don't want your grip on the jewellery to slip.
If there was no throbbing or pressure you may be ready to try the next size. If you experienced a burning/throbbing sensation or pressure then we suggest you wait for this gauge to heal before attempting another stretch. When applying jewellery after the stretch, make sure the jewellery is the same size as the taper. To make the change as painless as possible you will need to press the edge of the jewellery against the taper and gently push the jewellery into your ear. This results in the taper sliding effortlessly out of the back. Make sure you hold your jewellery and taper close together as thin edges on jewellery can sometimes disrupt a freshly stretched piercing or rip the skin. If this occurs you may want to consider replacing it with the original gauge jewellery you started with. Always make sure your jewellery is large enough to account for swelling and always clean off excess lubricant.
Soaking your stretched ears with warm salty water is a great way to remove dirt, lube, bacteria, and sebum (stinky residue) from your ears without knocking the piercing around. You should do this once or twice daily for the next few days until you notice a significant healing. The swelling should have gone down and it shouldn't be throbbing or sore to touch. If you decide to change the jewellery then always use a little lube to make the change as smooth as possible. Remember that massaging vitamin E cream into the piercing area can help stop unwanted and unnecessary scar tissue build up. This is especially desirable if you are going to stretch again. You must keep your jewellery and piercings clean and fresh to avoid infection. The best way to do this is with antibacterial soap but make sure you rinse and dry the jewellery and piercing properly before re-inserting. And don't forget that lube! Avoid cleaning with special chemical formulas. These are easy to 'over-clean' with as they sometimes have recipes that are just too strong for freshly stretched lobes. A simple saline (salt and water) solution will do the trick.
You will know if you tear a piercing significantly during stretching, There will be blood and the pressure you had experienced while stretching will suddenly subside but turn into a harsh pain. This can have nasty consequences but if you take care in the first place, it should be avoided. The best thing to do in this situation is put the jewellery in and soak as usual for the next few days. If you don't see a significant healing happening then you may want to replace the jewellery with the next size down or the jewellery you started with before stretching. You will get some scabbing around the piercing but if you continue to clean in salt water now and then, it should go within a few days. Then you can continue with the next part of the aftercare. However, if you have had a tear I suggest you pay a lot more attention to massaging the area with Vitamin E or your lube of choice to stop the scar tissue from becoming an ugly mess. I would always wait longer than usual for the healing to take place especially if you want to stretch further. Healing times differ from person to person. If you start a stretch and it is very painful before you have even got half the taper in your piercing may not be fully healed or you may need a smaller gauge taper.