How to shrink ear gauges

Written by maude coffey
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How to shrink ear gauges
Lightweight jewellery, such as acrylic, aids in the shrinking of ear lobe piercings. (Sexy tattoo man image by MAXFX from

Stretched ear lobe piercings are commonly called "gauges," which is an incorrect term. The term gauge refers to the measurement, or size, of the ear lobe piercing. When a person desires stretched ear lobe piercings, the first step is piercing the ear lobe. An ear lobe can be pierced as small as 18 gauge or as large as 0 gauge. Professional piercers use sterilised needles or dermal punches to perform the procedure. Regardless of the size of the initial piercing, the ear lobe piercing must heal completely before stretching to a larger size. A waiting period of a month, or longer depending on the elasticity of the ear lobes, is necessary between each stretch to a larger gauge.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Liquid soap
  • Water
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic bag

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  1. 1

    Place your ear lobes under hot, running water for one minute each. Perform this in the shower or under the faucet of a sink. If the ear lobes are tight around the jewellery, the hot water helps the elasticity of the ear lobes and makes the process of removing the jewellery less painful or traumatic to the ears. Test the water with your hands first to prevent scalding.

  2. 2

    Wash your hands with a liquid antibacterial soap and warm water. Dry your hands with a paper towel. Turn off the faucet with the paper towel instead of using your hands. Touching the faucet without a barrier--such as a disposable paper towel-- will introduce bacteria back onto the hands. Introduction of bacteria to the ear lobes can result in a trapped infection while the ear piercing shrinks or closes.

  3. 3

    Remove the jewellery from both ears. Wash the jewellery with an antibacterial soap and warm water. Dry the jewellery with a paper towel. Place the jewellery in a plastic bag. Store the jewellery bag in a jewellery box or medicine cabinet for future use, or dispose of it if you are never going to stretch your ear lobes back to that size.

  4. 4

    Wash the ears daily in the shower with soap and water. Avoid touching the ear lobes with your hands and prevent contact from other people's hands and saliva. Disinfect phones before and after use.

  5. 5

    Insert jewellery of the next smaller size after the earrings have been out of the ear lobes for a month. For example, if your ear lobe piercings are at zero gauge when you remove the jewellery, insert two gauge jewellery after a month. Repeat this process every month until the desired size of jewellery fits in the ear lobe. Leave jewellery out completely if closed piercings is the desired outcome.

Tips and warnings

  • Use soap as a lubricant when inserting new jewellery.
  • Visit a professional piercing shop when purchasing ear lobe jewellery to avoid allergic reactions from inappropriate jewellery.
  • Never share jewellery with anyone to avoid bacteria or disease transmission.
  • Never attempt to pierce or stretch your own ears.

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