Ear stretching has been practised by tribal cultures, including the Amazon’s Huaorani and the Maasai from Kenya, for centuries. In the modern day, it is popular in western cultures as a symbol of subculture and fashion trend. The hole width is a matter of personal preference and choice.
Stretching is done by enlarging a body piercing that is meant to accommodate large pieces of jewellery. It is done by slightly stretching the tissue, giving it a period to relax and heal at the increased size, then the process is then repeated. It can be done an unlimited number of times to get to the type of hole dimensions you desire. If done incorrectly, it can lead to tearing, bleeding, potential scarring and infection which would make further stretching either impossible or very painful and difficult.
Successful stretching is a slow process
An earlobe can be stretched well beyond its size due to the natural flexibility of the skin. An earlobe piercing is a pinhole that fits the thin pin of traditional earrings, while a stretched ear can fit your finger and larger items through it.
Ear stretching is becoming main stream, with popular sizes ranging from 6mm to 25mm, although there are many that prefer smaller or even larger diameters. For comparison, many standard earrings that you can buy are 0.8mm thick.
Preconditioning for ear stretching is simply pierced ears which are completely healed. There are a few methods that are safe. One of those involves using tapers. Tapers are predominantly used for stretching, which is a thin cone where the thin end is inserted into the existing hole and worked through to stretch the piercing.
While it is normal to be impatient for your stretching to be perfect, eagerness should be placed on the backburner. Each piercer has their own personal recommendations between waiting periods, but a safe time frame is usually six weeks between stretches. Effective and safe stretching improves the chances of a perfectly stretched earlobe. Make sure to not jump to larger sizes too quickly. Stretching by small increments will ensure your lobes stay healthy and plump!
Make sure to only use good quality jewellery in your freshly stretched lobes. Titanium and steel are great, or a high quality medical grade silicone can be wonderful also! Avoid absorbent materials until your lobes are nicely healed, and make sure to clean them as you would a new piercing!