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Thread: GUIDE - How to Stretch a Lobe Piercing and FAQs

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    Awesome Admin Hazel's Avatar
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    Default GUIDE - How to Stretch a Lobe Piercing and FAQs

    How to Stretch a Lobe Piercing

    There are a few different ways to stretch a piercing, these will be covered in this guide. In the next post is an extensive but not exhaustive list of FAQs regarding stretching, please read them before posting a question. If you canít find an answer to your question then reply to this thread and the community will be more than happy to help you.

    Tapers
    Many of you will see tapers sold in shops, online and sadly hanging out of peopleís ears. Please note that tapers are tools, not jewellery. They are simply there to guide the plug into your lobe.

    How to use a taper:
    • Once your lobe is ready to be stretched, youíll need the following Ė a flat ended or concave taper, a single flared plug made from steel, titanium or glass.
    • Use a natural oil or lotion to lubricate the lobe.
    • Slowly slide the taper through the lobe and butt up the plug to the edge of the taper as you slide through so the plug follows through seamlessly.
    • The taper will have come out the back of your lobe and the plug will now be in place, put on an o-ring and youíre done!


    Dead Stretching
    This is similar to the above except you donít use a taper:
    • Once your lobe is ready to be stretched, youíll need a single flared, round ended plug made from steel, titanium or glass.
    • Use a natural oil or lotion to lubricate the lobe.
    • Slowly push the round end of the plug into the lobe.
    • The plug will now be in place, put on an o-ring and youíre done!


    Taping
    Again, no use of tapers here but youíll need PTFE tape, also known as plumbers tape, this can be bought in any hardware store and is very cheap.


    • Once your lobe is ready to be stretched, youíll need a single flared plug, PTFE tape and some natural oil (emu, jojoba, vitamin E etc.)
    • Wrap a layer or 2 around the plug, make sure to smooth out any wrinkles
    • Put plenty of oil on the tape and make sure itís all absorbed into it, it will go clear at this point
    • Insert the plug into your ear and youíre done.
    • After 4-5 days add another 1-2 wraps (some people replace the whole lot, some just add on top with no problem)
    • Again oil the tape and slide into the lobe, keep repeating this and youíll eventually move up 1mm.
    • If when inserting the plug you find it wonít go in then it will likely be because you have put too much tape on, take some off and try again. Always make sure itís well-oiled too.


    Some people also use bondage tape as itís thicker and they find it easier to work with. You may find trying to use tape at very small gauges may be near impossible. Many find it just about ok at 2g/6mm.

    DOíS AND DONíTíS

    Thereís quite a lot to take in when it comes to stretching so hereís some pointers to get you started on your way.

    DO take your time, itís not a race!
    When stretching you want to only ever be going up in 1mm increments, if you canít find a plug at a 1mm step up then ask for help. Only ever stretch when your lobe is ready and wait an absolute minimum of 1 month between. Many even suggest waiting longer at larger sizes so 2 months after 3mm and 3 months after 6mm.

    DO listen to your body!
    When stretching up you may feel a slight burn, tingle or sting that goes after a few moments. This is normal and means you have stretched ok. If you feel any discomfort, resistance (plug wonít go in), or any pain then you must stop. At this point if you carried on you wouldn't be stretching, youíd be ripping your lobe open causing significant damage.

    DONíT wear tapers or spirals to stretch with
    They have an uneven surface and are often made out of poor materials. They will cause issues down the line for you.

    DONíT leave the plug in or ignore any problems
    If youíre bleeding or weeping, if the lobe is angry/sore/swollen then remove the plug carefully and go back down a size or more to let the lobe repair and heal.

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    Awesome Admin Hazel's Avatar
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    STRETCHING - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

    This FAQ is designed to help you with stretching queries as part of the above guide. If you cannot find the answer to your question here then please reply to the thread.

    Why do I have to wait? Why canít I just skip sizes? My friend went to 6mm-10mm in one go and he/sheís fine so why shouldnít I do it?
    We get it, stretching can seem like a long, boring process especially if youíre starting at 14g and wanting to go to an inch. However there are reasons you shouldnít rush, tearing open your lobes and causing damage can lead to the following:

    Rips/Tearing - http://wiki.bme.com/index.php?title=Earlobe_Tearing

    Catbutt - http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m1...en7o1_1280.jpg

    Uneven lobes - http://wiki.bme.com/index.php?title=Uneven_Stretching

    Blowouts - http://wiki.bme.com/index.php?title=Piercing_Blow-out

    Thinning/Snapping - http://wiki.bme.com/index.php?title=Piercing_Thinning

    Not all of these will happen right away, so even if you can go from one size to another in 2 days or you can skip 3 sizes, it will very likely turn around and bite you on the arse in weeks/months to come!

    As an example, this is what a healthy stretched lobe should look like, note how there is no catbutt, no blowouts, no redness or swelling, nice and thick and even ^_^

    What are all these sizes? What's 2g?
    When stretching many people will start at around 1mm, here's are the sizes:
    1mm>1.2mm>1.6mm>2mm>2.4mm>3mm>3.2mm>4mm and then 1mm increments after this.

    In the UK/EU we tend to use mm (millimeters) to measure but other countries - mainly the US/Canada use the American Wire Gauge system. Here's a conversion chart:



    Why canít I use acrylic/silicone/stone/wood to stretch with?
    Theyíre porous for a start and will harbour nastiness from the healing micro tears in the lobe causing irritation. Many people are allergic to acrylic so wearing it in a fresh stretch is a massive NO!

    Why canít I wear tapers and/or spirals and just push them through over days?
    They cause uneven lobes (see link) and are usually made from poor quality materials like acrylic.

    So why do shops sell these kits and tapers with o-rings?
    They donít care, they just want your money.

    Iíve stretched too fast, what can I do?!
    The main thing is to downsize ASAP, let the lobe heal and once itís no longer ripped, open, weeping etc then you should do oil massages 2-3 times a day to break down any scar tissue and strengthen the area. Do this for at least 2-3 months before you try to stretch up again.

    How should I care for my stretched lobes?
    Once youíve stretched up make sure to rinse them in the shower, after a couple of days you can take them out and give them a clean properly. Make sure you clean them every day otherwise you will get smelly sebum build up on them. Also make sure you remove the jewellery and massage them 1-2 times a day with a natural oil.

    Once youíre at 0g/8mm or so you may find leaving them out beneficial as well to give them a rest and promote blood flow. Do this gradually, for an hour at first, then 2 and 3 and so on so you can see if you can get to the point of sleeping ďnakedĒ.

    My lobes were gunned years ago, can I still stretch them? What size are my lobes?

    Unless you have masses of scar tissue then youíll very likely have no problem at all. If youíre still wearing fashion jewellery (the wire stuff) then youíre likely to be at 22g or 20g which is 0.6mm or 0.8mm so look into getting some 1mm barbells.

    What size can I stretch up to without being able to shrink them back down?

    An often asked question with no exact answer. Many say around 0g/8mm is the point of no return but for someone else this may be 3mm or 10mm. Itís best to say if youíre very worried about how it may look in the future then do not stretch.

    To assist in shrinking back down you will have to go naked, do frequent massages and be patient. If after several months of this you still arenít happy then you can consider lobe reconstruction. I advise you speak to a good modification artist about that rather than a cosmetic surgeon.

    Iíve just had my ears pierced Ė when can I start stretching?

    Itís advisable to wait for 5-6 months so the piercing is strong enough to support the pressure of a stretch. This is of course as long as your healing is uneventful, if you have problems then you may need to extend this waiting period.

    I donít want to wait, I want stretched ears NOW!

    Some mod artists will pierce ears up to around 6mm from nothing so you can get a jump start there. If youíre already stretched and wanting to go further and skip sizes then you can consider scalpelling, however be aware there is a risk of self-stretching so be prepared to end up at a larger size!

    What can I use to stretch/massage my ears with?
    To use when stretching it's best to go with a natural oil (not essential oils) like vitamin E, jojoba, coconut, emu (not vegan friendly), the same should be used for early massages. You can even use a sex lube like KY to stretch with. Things like scented lotions should be avoided in case they cause irritation and vaseline/petroleum jelly is dreadful as it's comedogenic meaning it clogs the skin and prevents it from breathing. For older stretched lobes you may use some gentle lotions but listen to your skin.

    My ears close up or wrinkle a little with no jewellery - is that normal?
    Yup, totally normal, however if you're seeing redness, excessive wrinkles (aka catbutt), swelling etc then you may have stretched too fast.
    Last edited by Hazel; 01-12-2015 at 11:43 AM.

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    Awesome Admin Hazel's Avatar
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    Please note, this is a work in progress, if you have any ideas or suggestions please PM me.

    Thanks.
    Piercings: 6 lobes, 2 12mm stretched lobes, 4 helices, 3 tragus, daith, 2 nostril, 2.4mm VCH, 2.4mm daith
    Modifications: 5mm septum punch,
    coinslot ear cartilage removal
    Cosmetic Modifications: Scar removal x4, semi permanent eyebrows, semi permanent eyeliner, lip dermal filler
    Retired Piercings: 3 nipple, tongue, 4 philtrum, 4 eyebrow, 2 outer labia, VCH, 1 lobe, rook, nostril, 3 nape MDs, 2 wrist MDs, septum, 3 upper conch, conch, 5 helices
    Tattoos: 86 hours
    ***** HOW TO UP YOUR POST COUNT & RULES - ASK A QUESTION - BUMP INFORMATION - STRETCHING INFO & QUESTIONS - RECOMMENDED UK PIERCERS *****
    >>>>>>>>>>New Members - Please do not PM me with questions about your piercing, this is what the forum is for, thank you<<<<<<<<<<

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    Senior Member Firedrake's Avatar
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    Awesome guide Hazel!
    Mikayla
    ​Piercings:
    Have: Left ear lobe 3x16g, Right ear lobe 3x16g,
    Right nostril x1, Belly, Both Nipples
    Want: Both ears - Triple Conch,
    Rook, Tragus, 3x Helix,
    Retired: Central Labret, Septum
    Tattoos:
    Have: Paw on left wrist with snowflake & dog's name & yob-yod underneath
    Phoenix on left forearm & Universe Horse right thigh piece
    Future: Top/rest of sleeve - to be designed


  5. #5
    Awesome Admin Hazel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firedrake View Post
    Awesome guide Hazel!
    Thanks
    Piercings: 6 lobes, 2 12mm stretched lobes, 4 helices, 3 tragus, daith, 2 nostril, 2.4mm VCH, 2.4mm daith
    Modifications: 5mm septum punch,
    coinslot ear cartilage removal
    Cosmetic Modifications: Scar removal x4, semi permanent eyebrows, semi permanent eyeliner, lip dermal filler
    Retired Piercings: 3 nipple, tongue, 4 philtrum, 4 eyebrow, 2 outer labia, VCH, 1 lobe, rook, nostril, 3 nape MDs, 2 wrist MDs, septum, 3 upper conch, conch, 5 helices
    Tattoos: 86 hours
    ***** HOW TO UP YOUR POST COUNT & RULES - ASK A QUESTION - BUMP INFORMATION - STRETCHING INFO & QUESTIONS - RECOMMENDED UK PIERCERS *****
    >>>>>>>>>>New Members - Please do not PM me with questions about your piercing, this is what the forum is for, thank you<<<<<<<<<<

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    I expect this thread to get a lot of external traffic as forum users refer people here, you don't need [my] adjective approval, so take some thanks for looking out for people's well-being instead!
    Last edited by Mk1; 01-12-2015 at 02:19 PM.
    Piercings: 3x Lobe (L), Single Upper Lobe (R), Conch (R), 1.6mm Septum

    To do list: Angel Bites, Tongue, Nipples, Navel, Tragus.


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    Awesome Admin Hazel's Avatar
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    Thanks.

    All please use this as a thread to also discuss stretching if desired
    Piercings: 6 lobes, 2 12mm stretched lobes, 4 helices, 3 tragus, daith, 2 nostril, 2.4mm VCH, 2.4mm daith
    Modifications: 5mm septum punch,
    coinslot ear cartilage removal
    Cosmetic Modifications: Scar removal x4, semi permanent eyebrows, semi permanent eyeliner, lip dermal filler
    Retired Piercings: 3 nipple, tongue, 4 philtrum, 4 eyebrow, 2 outer labia, VCH, 1 lobe, rook, nostril, 3 nape MDs, 2 wrist MDs, septum, 3 upper conch, conch, 5 helices
    Tattoos: 86 hours
    ***** HOW TO UP YOUR POST COUNT & RULES - ASK A QUESTION - BUMP INFORMATION - STRETCHING INFO & QUESTIONS - RECOMMENDED UK PIERCERS *****
    >>>>>>>>>>New Members - Please do not PM me with questions about your piercing, this is what the forum is for, thank you<<<<<<<<<<

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    Senior Member Firedrake's Avatar
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    I can not for the life of me get from 3mm to 4mm :( I can get the taper halfway through and it sticks, I don't want to force it excessively, what else can I do, would taping work at such a small size?
    Mikayla
    ​Piercings:
    Have: Left ear lobe 3x16g, Right ear lobe 3x16g,
    Right nostril x1, Belly, Both Nipples
    Want: Both ears - Triple Conch,
    Rook, Tragus, 3x Helix,
    Retired: Central Labret, Septum
    Tattoos:
    Have: Paw on left wrist with snowflake & dog's name & yob-yod underneath
    Phoenix on left forearm & Universe Horse right thigh piece
    Future: Top/rest of sleeve - to be designed


  9. #9
    Junior Member neonlights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firedrake View Post
    I can not for the life of me get from 3mm to 4mm :( I can get the taper halfway through and it sticks, I don't want to force it excessively, what else can I do, would taping work at such a small size?
    Taping might be a bit hard at a size as small at that but you can try. If it doesn't work you'll just have to wait a bit more so that your lobes will loosen up enough.
    Call me Henna c:

    Current piercings:
    Left ear: 20mm lobe, 1.6mm lobe
    Right ear: 20mm lobe, 2mm lobe
    Face: bridge, 2mm septum, 2x lower lip, tongue
    6 tattoos

    Retired:
    2 x eyebrow, navel, 2 x lip

    Want:
    Navel redone and perhaps finally a helix..


  10. #10
    Awesome Admin Hazel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firedrake View Post
    I can not for the life of me get from 3mm to 4mm :( I can get the taper halfway through and it sticks, I don't want to force it excessively, what else can I do, would taping work at such a small size?
    You've skipped a size, read the guide above.
    Piercings: 6 lobes, 2 12mm stretched lobes, 4 helices, 3 tragus, daith, 2 nostril, 2.4mm VCH, 2.4mm daith
    Modifications: 5mm septum punch,
    coinslot ear cartilage removal
    Cosmetic Modifications: Scar removal x4, semi permanent eyebrows, semi permanent eyeliner, lip dermal filler
    Retired Piercings: 3 nipple, tongue, 4 philtrum, 4 eyebrow, 2 outer labia, VCH, 1 lobe, rook, nostril, 3 nape MDs, 2 wrist MDs, septum, 3 upper conch, conch, 5 helices
    Tattoos: 86 hours
    ***** HOW TO UP YOUR POST COUNT & RULES - ASK A QUESTION - BUMP INFORMATION - STRETCHING INFO & QUESTIONS - RECOMMENDED UK PIERCERS *****
    >>>>>>>>>>New Members - Please do not PM me with questions about your piercing, this is what the forum is for, thank you<<<<<<<<<<

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