Q: I’ve been told two different things about stretching and i can’t decide which is best. It’s about stretching with tapers or tunnels. I don’t know which is best for what size…I’ve stretched with tapers previously, just because i’m at a small size. I’m currently in the middle of stretching to 8mm with a taper, but they’re ugly and i hate them so i was wondering if it is safe to stretch with silicone tunnels or if this will just tear it?
DO NOT stretch with silicone tunnels, it can be quite dangerous. In the cases where your ear is pliable enough to just drop in the next size up you aren’t at much risk. But, if your ears are tight and you insert a larger silicone eyelet you may strain the skin causing swelling that will essentially “seal up” the piercing. The silicone eyelet is folded for insertion, when it expands it puts a sort of grabbing outward pressure on the earlobe, this pressure causes strain leading to swelling. Once the earlobe swells the silicone basically “plugs up” the skin almost suffocating it. The tissue can become very raw, almost like an ulceration.
I actually had a client of mine try stretching up one size with silicone eyelets and caused so much damage that he had to abandon his earlobe piercing altogether and let it heal up.
Here is a direct quote from Kaos softwear, the industry leader in silicone eyelets.
"Kaos does NOT recommend stretching with our product at all, however if you’re dead set on it, please be sure to read the following:We have seen success with a few people who went from 00ga to 1/2 inch. However, while our jewelry is superior for stretching for a lot of people, it doesn’t negate all problems associated with stretching, and in some individuals it can create others. Your ears are still being stressed, and it probably wouldn’t hurt to soak your ears or shower before you try to stretch them. The eyelets will generally stretch the tissue over a period of a couple hours, and it can, depending upon each individual, still hurt or cause irritation, although in many cases a great deal less than other methods currently in use. Please keep in mind that individual factors always come into play. Silicone offers amazing benefits in comfort and impact resistance, but the same softness that makes it so comfortable can cause a real problem if you are not aware of the risks of sealing the piercing. HOWEVER, a good deal of the individuals who have experienced this have tried wearing our product *in the same piercing* with jewelry at their current *healed* size later on, and had no problems. We will be developing additional jewelry designs specifically for lobe and cartilage stretching, and other applications and locations, in the near future. We are currently testing new, higher durometer (“less tacky”) silicones, and special coatings, to alleviate this potential problem, along with experimental lubricants, and a couple of other means of ridding the silicone of its tacky surface. If you are experiencing unusual irritation we recommend you remove the jewelry and replace it with something rigid, highly polished and non-porous such as glass, stainless or titanium.”
Stretching with tapers is also not a suggested option, please use our safepiercing.tumblr search functionality to read more about tapers, and other stretching information. We have many previous posts on the those subjects. Your easiest, and safest option is usually to visit an experienced piercer and have them perform your stretch for you.