Stretching my ears to 30mm.
Let me just start off with why I stretched my ears. I wish I could say that the reason I started stretching was because I felt I needed stretched ears to enhance my appearance and complete my body, but honestly I just saw some people with them and thought they looked pretty cool and thought I would do it to be a bit different from my friends. It was not until very recently that I started becoming more and more interested in the whole body modification culture and really started to understand the whole concept. I can gladly say that I have become obsessed with the art form that is body modification and am looking forward to modifying my body more in the future now that I fully understand what it's all about.
My whole stretching experience started just after I turned 18. My parents weren't too keen on me getting any piercings at all so I thought I would wait until I was 18 so I could at least argue that I was old enough to make my own decisions on that kind of thing.
It took me a week or so to build up the courage to go down to my local piercing salon and get my ears pierced, but with some encouragement from a friend I finally did it. I got both ears pierced at the same time, with piercing guns (which probably wasn't the best way to do it but I'll get to that later). It didn't hurt at all other than a very slight throbbing sensation for a few minutes afterwards.
I left the original jewellery in for about a month or so and sprayed the piercings daily with anti-infectant spray. I didn't have any problems at all and the piercings healed up nicely.
When I was convinced they we're completely healed, I decided it was time to start stretching. The first stretch I did was to about 2mm (I'm not sure what gauge that is sorry!), using steel, crescent shaped tapers. No problems there at all, it just went right in. It didn't hurt but I could feel the pressure in my ear lobe but after an hour or two it was all normal again (this was about a year and a half ago so I'm trying to remember roughly how long this sort of thing lasted).
I continued to stretch roughly once a month, going up 1-2mm each time using various steel tapers. I found that the next few stretches started to hurt a bit even though I was only stretching up by 1-2mm, but the pain was certainly bearable, if not strangely enjoyable. I found that the steel tapers felt really nice when they went in, especially if I sprayed some anti-infectant on them before inserting (this helped them slide in nice and smoothly and I assume also helped to stop infection).
After a few months I was at 6mm and was really starting to like how my ears were looking. I decided to stop stretching for a while, mainly because I was still in high school and a fairly conservative one at that and I don't think the teachers would have been too happy if I went any bigger at that point. I wore steel crescent tapers in my ears for the remainder of school (3-4 months I think). One of the things I liked most about the steel jewellery is the fact that it had a bit of weight to it and when I shook my head I could feel them wobbling around (a feeling which I am still in love with today).
When I finished school, I was keen to start stretching again. This is when things started going a tiny bit wrong. Nothing too bad though, but as you will read there was some things I did that I definitely should not have done.
First of all, I didn't have much money at the time so I was a little hesitant to buy proper tapers. I did some research on the internet to try and find things that I could possibly make some tapers out of and save a bit of money. I read about some people that had cut the ends off knitting needles and used those as tapers and I thought that seemed like a pretty good idea so I gave it a shot.
It started out well, they went in fine and everything but after 3 or 4 days I realised that my ears weren't showing any signs of healing (normally they would show some sort of improvement after a couple of days).
I decided to take the home-made tapers out to see if my ears looked infected or anything and that's when I realised that the plastic had actually expanded from the moisture of my ear and my skin had sort of fused to the plastic.
There was a bit of blood when I took them out and this is when I decided that it was probably worth the money to buy proper jewellery in the future.
I went up to the nearest piercing shop straight and bought some proper tapers. Although they were acrylic instead of the usual steel (acrylic tapers were cheaper) I figured they would be okay since they were actually made for stretching ears rather than knitting jumpers. Turns out they were fine and my ears eventually healed up again after a couple of weeks.
The next few stretches went by without any real problems, just a little bit of blood sometimes when I would take them out to clean them. At this point I was using a set of acrylic tapers that I borrowed off a friend that went up in 2mm intervals. I'm not sure exactly how long I left between each stretch but I think it was about 2-4weeks, depending on how quickly they healed. I probably should have waited a little longer between each stretch just to make sure but I think it was okay. Some people can stretch quicker than others.
It was during this stage (between about 14mm-18mm) that I started to realise that my lobes were un-even. I figured out that this was because when I originally got my ears pierced, one hole was slightly lower than the other, leaving less lobe to stretch with. This is why you should get your ears pierced with a needle and really make sure that the placing is as even as possible. It was at this stage that I started massaging my right ear with Jojoba oil for about 15 minutes every day. I had read on the internet that this helps thicken up the skin and I thought it might help even out my lobes a bit.
Turns out it didn't work, but it did seem to make my skin feel a bit softer and healthier.
I highly recommend daily Jojoba massages purely for the sake of keeping your ears healthy. If they are a bit dry and cracked, Jojoba oil should fix them right up.
From 18mm to where I am now at 30, I have stopped using tapers. I found that I can just put the next size in without too much difficulty providing I leave a month or 2 between each size for my ears to loosen up a tiny bit.
There was one occasion when I went from 23mm to 25mm using a double flared plug. Not a good idea! First of all, it was harder to get in, and then once I eventually did get it in, I couldn't get it out at all for a few days due to swelling.
When it had eventually healed, after a week or two, I realised I had suffered a slight blowout. I wasn't too worried because it wasn't that bad but I was wondering if I would be able to fix it or not.
I got a pair of screw-on steel tunnels and wore them for a few days and realised that they had actually fixed my blowout. I guess it was the fact that the tunnels had "walls" that held the lobe in place and sort of forced it back into shape. I think that the Jojoba massaging helped a bit too so if you ever suffer a blow-out, give that a shot.
Now, to get from 25mm to 30mm I used a slightly different method from what I had been using before. I used the method of taping, where you wrap tape around a plug and gradually make it bigger and bigger until it's the same size as the next plug you want to put in.
I did this fairly quickly and probably put on about 2-3 layers of electrical tape every couple of days effectively stretching my ears but without the stress of going up more than 1mm every few days, and got to 30mm within 2 weeks. I wish I had used the taping method earlier because it didn't hurt at all or cause any discomfort apart from a slight bit of pressure for a couple of hours after putting in a freshly wrapped plug.
I have been at 30mm for 3-4 months now and don't plan on going any bigger yet, but I think I might like to in the future. One thing is for sure though. If I do go any bigger I am going to downsize my right ear back to 20mm for a while and leave it for a month or so, then stretch it back up to see if that will thicken the skin up and even out my lobes.
I fear that if I stretch it without doing that first, it might get a little bit too thin and will be at risk of breaking.
I would just like to say that my experience was MY experience and that my methods and techniques are not necessarily the best way to do things. Things that worked for me might not work for someone else. Do not stretch your ears unless you have done your research and know what you're doing. A little bit of research can prevent mistakes and should lead to a safer, more enjoyable experience.
submitted by: MilesR
on: 19 Oct. 2009
in Ear Piercing