Step 1: Getting Started

Your ears should be fully healed from being pierced before you begin stretching them. Wait at least 4 to 6 months from a fresh piercing, assuming there were no complications during the healing process. If they’ve been healed for a while and the tissue is healthy, you should be ready to stretch.

The first thing you should do to stretch your ears is first determine what size you are currently at for jewelry. To properly stretch your ears, you need to go slowly, one size at a time. Never skip sizes! Skipping sizes and stretching up too fast are things that cause tearing and ripping, which can lead to “blowout” in your ear lobe tissue.

Jewelry for stretched ears is usually called plugs. The sizes are typically measured in gauges and range from 20g to 00g, with 00g being the largest and 20g being the smallest. Plugs that are larger than 00g are measured in inches or millimeters. In countries that use the metric system, jewelry sizes may only be referenced in millimeters, rather than gauges or inches. To help eliminate confusion, a table of gauge sizes with their nearest size in inches and millimeters is listed below.

Size Guide

Gauge Millimeters Inches
20G 0.8mm 1/32"
18G 1mm 5/128"
16G 1.2mm 3/64"
14G 1.6mm 1/16"
12G 2mm 5/64"
10G 2.4mm 3/32"
8G 3.2mm 1/8"
6G 4mm 5/32"
4G 5mm 3/16"
2G 6mm - 6.5mm 1/4"
0G 8mm 1/3"
00G 9mm - 10mm 3/8"
11mm 7/16"
12mm - 12.7mm 1/2"
14mm 9/16"
16mm 5/8"
19mm 3/4"
22mm 7/8"
25mm 1"

If your ears were pierced properly at a professional piercing studio, your ears were most likely pierced at 16g, but you should ask your piercer to make sure. You will stretch to a 14g if you are starting at 16g. If your ears were pierced at 14g, you will stretch to 12g. If your ears were pierced with a piercing gun (such as at Claire’s or Piercing Pagoda), they were probably pierced at 20g or 18g. It would be safe to start your stretching at 16g for either 18g or 20g piercings.

Once you know what you size you are going to stretch to, you need to gather the right supplies to prepare for your first stretch.