Do Stretched Ears Shrink Back?

Written by: Stretch It Body Jewellery



Time to read 9 min

Model With Stretched Ears
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Stretch It Body Jewellery

SIBJ is one of the world's leading online specialist retailers and wholesalers in ear stretching kits, plugs, aftercare and body jewellery. We have over 10 years of experience in selling high-quality, unique ear stretching jewellery providing the knowledge, expertise and tools to stretch up confidently and safely.

"Stretching up slowly will dramatically increase your chances of your lobes returning to normal"

Stretched ears were perceived in different ways in the times of the ancient pharaohs and Massai warriors. It’s a pretty safe bet they weren’t debating the ear stretching point of no return in case they wanted a different vibe in the future. But ear stretching has come on centuries since then. Now, it’s perfectly reasonable to want to know if your stretched ears can snap back to their original form.

It all comes down to this…

Everyone’s Stretched Ears are Unique

This might not be what you want to hear. But truthfully, there isn’t a clear-cut answer. It's a classic case of individuality.

That said, as you progress through your ear stretching journey you can retain some control over the outcome. For this reason, no more than a snug 6mm (2g) ear gauge is recommended. You’ve got a good chance of full reversibility when you stay within this boundary.

Just bear in mind stretched ears can be full of surprises. This is why larger stretched ears can make a complete return to their compact origins. And on the other side of the coin, smaller ones don’t.

The mantra here is simple. Slow and steady wins the race. And here is why…

The Slow Ear Stretching Strategy

Remember, the tortoise beat the hare with good reason! Patience is more than a virtue for safe and supple stretched ears. Taking your time allows your earlobes to adapt gradually. And this has double benefits. It:

  • Reduces the risk of damage
  • Maximises the potential for shrinkage if you change your mind at a later date

Ignore this, and you might find yourself past the ear stretching point of no return. You see, fast-forwarding through sizes can cause nasty blowouts and keloid scars. And trust us, this isn’t the look you set out to achieve. In addition, they’re the arch-nemesis of elasticity. This is because less scar tissue means more flexibility to downsize your ear gauges. We’ll come back to the dark side a bit later.

But first, let’s run through the gold standard for safe ear stretching - the dead ear stretching method. After all, well-stretched lobes mean less risk, should you want them to go back to normal.

Dead Stretching for Zen Lobes

Dead stretching is revered by dedicated disciples of stretched ears. Its ethos is simple but effective – minimal fuss = minimal mishaps. In addition, let’s use that word again… Patience. It’s key to this technique, by allowing your current jewellery to become loose naturally before you move up in size.

Industry standards typically recommend going up in 1mm increments. This can ensure a smooth and gentle ascent. As a leading authority on stretched ears, we recommend even more caution. Our expert advice is backed up with dead stretching kits offering minuscule 0.5mm steps between sizes. Shall we have a browse?

The Best Ear Stretching Kit on the Market

Ready to embark on the journey to stretched ears for the first time? Already an ear stretching enthusiast? Where ever you’re at personally, the following dead stretching kits guide you through the process safely and steadily, (aiding reversibility if and when you’re ready):

Crafted from durable 316L surgical steel, this unfussy but highly effective ear stretching kit guarantees a steady but smooth stretch. Sizes range in 0.5mm increments, making your next stretch quicker, while providing safer passage. You’ll feel fast progress while staying well within the safe limits.

Harness the strength of ASTM F-136 titanium, combining lightweight resilience with hypoallergenic properties. It’s the ideal ear stretching kit if you’ve got sensitive skin and prefer to avoid angry stretched ears.

This is the one when you’re venturing beyond 10mm stretched ears. This is what’s generally considered past the ear stretching point of no return, but it certainly gives them the best chance. This purpose-designed ear stretching kit provides transition through the larger sizes as smooth as your polished flesh tunnels.

Yet there’s more to best practices when it comes to safe successfully stretched ears. The stretching process is just the beginning. What you do afterwards makes a giant difference to your lobes and future shrinkage hopes.

Aftercare for Good Stretched Ear Health

Organic Jojoba Oil

Aftercare is the guardian angel of stretched ears. And thankfully, there are some game-changing products on the market specifically for the ear stretching community. Our faves include:

Jojoba oil is a celestial blend of natural ingredients, providing stretched ears with the hydration and care they need to maintain elasticity and promote healing.

Holey Butt'r contains hand-selected vitamins and natural oils make it an ear stretching elixir.

It goes without saying you want your ear stretching adventures to be effortless and pain-free. Additionally, scar tissue from overstretching and stretching too fast massively reduces the chances of your ear gauges returning to their original state.

So, let’s look at the implications, should you be unlucky.

Dodging Blowouts

One of the most common hiccups with stretched ears is known as a blowout. It’s a ring of scar tissue that forms around the back of your ear gauge, making it look like your stretch is turning inside out. Not the look anyone's going for, right?

Blowouts usually crash the party when you try to speed through the ear stretching process. They're like your body's way of saying, "Take it down a gear, champ!" Along with an unpleasant visual, blowout can also cause pain, redness, and a whole lot of irritation.

Rushing the gauge size up too quickly gives the green light to blowouts, lobe tears, and infections marked by:

  • Yellowish gunk (yes, pus)

  • An itch you can’t scratch

  • A burning sensation that's anything but hot

  • Swelling and tenderness that makes your softest beanie feel like a medieval torture device

Got the early signs of a blowout? Act fast. Jumping on it ASAP can mean the difference between a quick fix and a permanent memento of ear stretching gone wrong. And yes, that might be a keloid scar needing surgical intervention. It doesn’t bode well if shrinkage is on your agenda in due course.

So, treat your earlobes like the treasures they are. Stretch with care. Listen to your body. And keep the fast-forward button for your music, not your ear gauges.

But what if things get worse before they get better?

The Keloid Truth Bomb

Keloids are an overgrowth of scar on stretched ears. They can be larger than the original ear gauge. These nasty pieces of work are pink, red, or purple initially and can be round or oval in shape. Keloids can also cause discomfort, itching, even pain in more extreme cases.

The exact cause of keloid formation is unclear, but ear stretching can be a trigger. This can be due to the healing process or a reaction to the metal used.

Giving your stretched ears the TLC they deserve is key to prevent keloids forming in the first place. Ultimately, the potential for later shrinkage depends on your skin's resilience and how well you manage your aftercare routine.

What if you fall prey to keloids? Their concerning appearance and discomfort are one thing. But treatment options vary, and what works for one person doesn’t work for another.

Depending on the severity of your case, there are surgical options if you later decide you want to reverse your stretches. As you can imagine, it’s not a cheap or desirable option. But it might be the only route open to you.

Keloids or not, you’re probably also looking at the surgery route if you went a stretch too far beyond the ear stretching point of no return.

What if You Change Your Mind?

Stretched ear model looking worried

An extreme stretched ear is more likely to leave a permanent hole in your lobe. But it can still be surgically repaired if you decide your ear stretching days are behind you. A surgeon will:

  • Cut the stretched lobe hole in half

  • Remove excess stretched tissue

  • Stitch the two halves of the lobe back together

On the other hand, shrinkage shouldn’t be a Herculean task if you haven’t pushed it and you’ve followed the aftercare rules.

So, what happens when there comes a time you crave a new chapter in your style story?

How Fast Do Stretched Ears Shrink?

Switching up your style might mean letting your hair go back to its natural colour or reinventing your wardrobe with a few choice pieces. But you should brace yourself for a bit more of a vibe check when it comes to waving goodbye to your stretched ears.

Think of it as the return leg of a long trip. Shrinking your lobes calls for a dash of patience. You only have to cast your mind back to the time you’ve spent on the ear stretching path.

The good news for most people is shrinking stretched ears back to their original form is totally doable. The word on the street (and amongst the piercing pros) is lobes stretched up to 6mm (2g) can pretty much return to base camp without too much hassle, but there are many cases of much bigger lobes returning back to their original size.

What goes up can also come down, thanks to lobe elasticity. Even if your lobes went beyond the ear stretching point of no return, they might shrink if they got lots of love.

But if you went full speed ahead and ended up with tears, blowout and keloid scars, expect a rocky road back, with lobe reconstruction surgery possibly being the only path for a full return.

Will My Stretched Ears Shrink Overnight?

Kicking off the comeback tour for your lobes? You’ve probably got the gist by now. There’s no such thing as complete overnight shrinkage, just like there wasn’t any such thing as overnight ear stretching when you started off.

Once again, it’s slow and steady as you go:

  1. Start small: Pop in plugs or flesh tunnels a half size down.
  2. Lobe Love: Treat your lobes to a daily massage with jojoba oil to encourage shrinkage.
  3. Listen to your lobes: When they've snuggled up around the new size, it's time to step it down again. You might find yourself in each half size for anything from a few days to a week. It's all about your unique ear blueprint.
  4. Rinse and repeat: Keep on keeping on until you hit your happy place size-wise.
  5. Post-Shrink Pampering: Keep up the massages even after you've hit your size goal to help any scar tissue fade away.

Summary of Things to Keep in Mind

The road back from stretched ears is pretty straight for most people. But it's a personal experience influenced by:

  1. How far you've gone
  2. How fast you travelled
  3. Your body's own vibe

And a friendly word of warning to avoid disappointment. Don't expect a full rewind to the untouched look. Instead, you’re more likely to end up with a slightly larger gauge than a standard piercing but it will hardly be noticeable.

Shrinking might not be on the cards without surgery if you’ve been an extreme stretcher or you’ve suffered a few bumps along the way.

Moreover, shrinkage is part of your unique journey. And in the ear stretching story, every chapter, including this one, is worth celebrating.

Are you in? Visit  Stretch It Body Jewellery  to order your dead stretching kit and choice of exceptional aftercare products today. Got questions about shrinking stretched ears? Get in touch and we’ll answer every one of them.

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