Using ear tapers, also known as ear stretching tapers or taping kits, can help you gradually stretch your ear piercings to accommodate larger gauge jewelry. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use ear tapers safely:
1. Clean Your Hands:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Cleanliness is crucial to prevent infections.
2. Prepare Your Ear:
- Make sure your earlobe piercing is fully healed before attempting to stretch it.
- Clean your earlobe and the taper with mild, unscented soap and warm water.
3. Lubricate the Taper:
- Apply a water-based lubricant, like a piercing lubricant or a natural oil such as jojoba or emu oil, to the taper. This helps the taper slide through your ear more smoothly.
4. Insert the Taper:
- Hold the taper at its thickest end.
- Slowly and gently insert the tapered end of the jewelry into your piercing hole. Do not force it. If you feel pain or significant resistance, stop immediately.
- The taper should go in easily. If it doesn’t, don’t force it. It might mean your ear isn’t ready to stretch further. Give it more time.
5. Leave the Taper In:
- Once the taper is through the piercing, leave it in place for a few minutes. This helps your ear adjust to the new size.
- Do not leave the taper in for an extended period, as it can cause pressure and discomfort. The taper is not meant to be worn as jewelry.
6. Insert the Jewelry:
- After the taper has been in for a few minutes and your ear feels comfortable, remove the taper.
- Quickly insert the jewelry (such as a plug or tunnel) into your stretched piercing. Make sure the jewelry is the same gauge as the taper.
7. Clean and Care:
- Clean your stretched piercing and new jewelry daily with saline solution or mild saline wound wash to prevent infection.
- Avoid twisting or turning the jewelry during the healing process.
- Be gentle with your stretched piercing, and don’t play with the jewelry to minimize irritation.
8. Give Time to Heal:
- It's crucial to allow your ear to heal properly before attempting to stretch further. Healing times vary but can take several weeks to months. Listen to your body; if you experience pain, redness, or swelling, downsize to a smaller gauge jewelry and allow more healing time.
9. Consult a Professional:
- If you're unsure or uncomfortable with the stretching process, consider visiting a professional piercer who can stretch your ears safely and provide proper aftercare advice.
Always pay close attention to your body's signals. If something doesn't feel right, seek advice from a professional piercer or a healthcare provider. Proper care and patience are essential when stretching your ear piercings to larger gauges.