Congratulations on taking the next step in your stretching journey. At Clear Mind we recommend the natural stretching method, otherwise known as the dead stretching method, to our clients.
Below we have compiled resources from some of the most knowledgeable individuals in the industry to make sure you have the easiest and safest time stretching.
Going through this process slowly, and with patience, may be hard but will ultimately give you the best results. It’s important to pay attention to your own body and make decisions that are right for you.
How does stretching work?
When you first get a piercing there is a tube of scar tissue. Over time as your piercing heals this tissue changes, loosens, and becomes more flexible. With flexibility there is a small amount of room that becomes available within the piercing. This small tolerance can be taken advantage of to allow for insertion of a larger gauge piece of jewelry.
You then repeat the process of tissue normalization, relaxation, and inserting a slightly larger size stretching the piercing over time.
It is recommended that you wait at minimum 6-12 weeks for the normalization/relaxation process to occur before moving up to another size. At larger sizes this timeline will need to be extended. It is important to remember that through this process we are asking our bodies to create new skin cells.
This is why past certain sizes you may be unable to shrink your lobes back down, your body has been creating more skin to accommodate your stretching. What that size is will be different for everyone but it is generally accepted that past 1” you may need to consider lobe reconstruction should you wish to close your stretched piercing.
Note: If there is pain, discomfort, bleeding, or broken skin you should not go up in size.
Issues where there is broken skin, or bleeding will mean you have gone too far too quickly or there has been another issue with your piercing. You may need to remove your jewelry completely in order for the issue to heal appropriately before resuming your stretching journey. It is best to consult a piercer or physician in person should any issues occur.
Sizing up in 1 mm increments is also recommended. Although many jewelry brands measure their jewelry in gauges. The gauge measurement is not a complete scale of measurement, in comparison to millimeters, and is more in line with the tools used to create the jewelry than anything else. Some brands also will offer 0.5 mm jumps to assure ease of use.
Any water based personal lubricant, surgical lubricant, or light weight oil like jojoba oil can be used when stretching. Lubricants that will sit on top of the skin, like vaseline, are not recommended as they can harbor bacteria as they sit for long periods without absorbing.
Most people find natural stretching easiest after a hot shower, when their skin is soft and elastic. Take a small amount of lubrication and massage it into your ears. Put a little on the back of your plug, and gently insert it into the ear. If you feel pain, that is a sign you may not be ready for the next size. The plug should slide in easily with only minimal resistance.
Plugs designed with rounded or beveled insertion ends are best suited for use in stretching. Plugs with recessed areas for O-rings may cause additional risk for tearing as they leave areas for your lobe to become caught.
When your stretch is fresh, within a month of stretching, it is best to keep the skin safe jewelry that you initially stretched with in your piercing. Although we do our best to stretch up safely there may be slight irritation or micro tears that we are unaware of due to lack of pain, swelling, or other identifying factors. Wearing jewelry that is skin safe for several weeks after stretching will allow for a safe adjustment period while your piercing may be more sensitive.
It is recommended that the jewelry used for stretching is solid, with a single flare. Double flare plugs, although great for added security, are created with flares between 0.5-1.5 mm larger than the labeled wearable size. This can increase risks of blow out and irritation if used when stretching.
That's it! Have fun on your stretching journey and remember to take the time your body needs to stretch successfully.
Check out these super helpful resources for more information about the stretching process.