All About Stretched Ears

All About Stretched Ears

Ear stretching (or gauging) is a type of body modification in which you gradually increase the gauge of the piercings you wear until you reach your desired goal size. Once your ears are healed you can wear a variety of different jewelry. 

 How do I stretch my ears?

Most people's ears are pierced at an 18ga or 20ga - because your starting piercing is pretty small we recommend starting with the smallest gauge size available (this will usually be either 16ga or 14ga.)
  • Take a long hot shower. This helps your skin soften and become more elastic which will make stretching much easier
  • Once you’re out of the shower, massage your ear lobes for a few minutes with your chosen oil. (This can be any body safe oil such as jojoba or emu oil. My personal favourite is Vitamin E Oil)
  • Insert your taper and slowly push it through the piercing. If it hurts at all do not force it through. (A mild burn is okay but you shouldn’t be in any actual pain)
  • Once the stretcher is fully through you can line up your chosen jewelry in that size and smoothly push it through. Keep in mind stretchers are not recommended for long time wear in unhealed piercings so make sure that you have jewelry to wear during the healing period
  • Once your fresh stretch has healed you can begin stretching to the next size. Make sure not to skip any sizes in between

Ear Stretching is always best done gradually. This means not skipping sizes to get to your goal size quickly (although we know we’ve all been tempted.) Each new stretch should be treated like a new piercing and it’s important to give your body adequate time to heal after. Stretching too quickly can lead to irritations, small tears in your piercing fistula and infections. 

What are tapers? 

Tapers are pieces of jewelry meant to gradually increase the size of your piercing (also known as ear gauges or stretchers.) They’re used to stretch your jewelry to the next size up and are not recommended to be worn as jewelry in the healing piercing.

How long should I wait in between stretches?

Keep in mind each person's body is different - some people can stretch much faster than others. Never force jewelry into your piercing if it feels like your piercing isn’t ready. You can tell your ears aren’t ready to be stretched if you feel any resistance or pain. Also keep in mind the bigger you go the longer you will have to wait in between stretches. The size differences are much larger between the bigger sizes then they are when you first begin stretching. 

Here is a basic guide to the healing times between stretches:  

14ga to 12ga -> 1 month

12ga to 10ga -> 1.5 months

10ga to 8ga -> 2months

8ga - 2ga -> 3 months or longer

2ga and up -> 4 months or longer

What jewelry is recommended for stretched ears?

There’s a lot to consider when deciding what jewelry to get for your stretched lobes. Are you looking for jewelry to wear while you’re healing? Is it important that your jewelry is lightweight? Or are you looking for something to wear for a special occasion? 

At pierced universe we carry a large variety of plugs, tunnels, tapers, spirals, pinchers and an array of different materials for each of our styles so you can find the jewelry that works best for you. 

The different types of ear stretching jewellery:

Tapers, Spirals & Pinchers

Tapers/stretchers are as pictured above. They have the widest area (the wearable surface) at the front and the thinner end at the back. Tapers are mainly for stretching although they can also be worn as jewelry in healed lobes. 


Spirals and pinchers are usually worn as a statement piece rather than used for stretching. These are worn on the widest area of the spiral/pincher with the thinnest part at the bottom. 


Plugs & Tunnels

Plugs and tunnels come in a few different styles: 

Single flared, double flared and screw on. 

Single flared are just as described - one side has a flare to hold the tunnel in place while the other side is flat to easily be pushed through the piercing and secured with an o-ring (a rubber ring used as a backing.) 


Double flared or saddle style plugs have a flare on both sides of the jewelry and are best inserted at an angle. 



Screw on plugs have the look of a double flared plug but one side screws off making the jewelry easier to put on but still secure. 




For newly stretched ears it’s always recommended to stick with jewelry that won't irritate your healing such as Implant Grade Titanium or 316L Surgical Steel. For fully healed stretched lobes we also carry glass, wood, stone, acrylic and silicone jewelry. 

316L Surgical Steel:

One of the most commonly known materials for body jewelry. Surgical Steel is great for both healing and fully healed stretched ears.

  • Contains very little nickel - good for sensitive skin
  • Can be worn in healing lobes
  • Will not rust or tarnish
  • Durable 
  • Good for long term wear


Stone plugs are popular for their variety of colours and styles. Stone is organic so each plug is unique. We do our best to match each pair but keep in mind that size and colour can vary when it comes to natural materials. 

  • Heavy - not recommended for large gauges
  • Can be porous depending on the stone 
  • Organic material so colours can vary
  • Durable but can be damaged when dropped
  • Not for healing lobes


Glass plugs are great for customers looking for lightweight jewelry for long term wear. Glass is also non porous and can be worn in healing lobes. 

  • Lightweight - good for larger gauges
  • A good non metal alternative
  • Can be worn in healing lobes (although not recommended)
  • Non porous & easy to clean
  • Fragile & easily broken
  • Good for long term wear


Wood plugs are a great option but recommended for healed lobes only. Wood jewelry is very lightweight making it ideal for larger plugs. Like stone, each jewelry piece is unique. Keep in mind due to wood's natural material it can vary in size and colour.

  • Lightweight - good for large gauges
  • Porous - not recommended to be worn in water/humidity
  • Does require some maintenance (occasionally oiling the jewelry)
  • Not recommended for healing lobes
  • Organic material 


Acrylic is a type of plastic that is safe to be worn in your body. Acrylic plugs are good for healed lobes. 

  • Cost effective
  • Lightweight - good for larger gauges
  • Comfortable
  • Fairly durable 
  • Porous 
  • Not recommended for healing lobes
  • Not recommended for long term wear

*Be sure not to clean acrylic with rubbing alcohol as it can cause them to break!


Silicone jewelry is very flexible and comfortable to wear. 

  • Lightweight 
  • Malleable
  • Ideal for sleeping for larger gauges
  • Good for “hiding” your stretched ears (come in flesh colours)
  • Soft and comfortable 
  • Not ideal for long term wear 
  • Not recommended for healing lobes