Here's What People Say About Acrylic, Surgical Steel, & Silicone To Stretch Your Ears!

Here's What People Say About Acrylic, Surgical Steel, & Silicone To Stretch Your Ears!

What Material Should You Stretch Your Ears With?

If you're starting your stretching journey (or continuing), you've probably come across a plethora of stretching kits made of different materials. It may be hard to find resources to learn which material for your lobe stretching would best suit your needs. But, worry not! We searched the web and did the hard work for you!

Some things to keep in mind 

  • Stretching is the gradual enlargement of a piercing that is safe and easy if basic precautions are followed.
  • Safe stretching involves both time and patience. At a minimum, you want your piercing fully healed, matured, and pliable before you consider stretching.
  • Stretching a piercing may result in a permanent change. Be prepared for the possibility it may not return to its original appearance.
  • Stretching more than one full gauge size should be avoided.
  • Consult a professional piercer if you are unsure of your piercing being ready to stretch.


Here is what we found out about three materials: Acrylic, Stainless Steel, and Silicone.


Acrylic is a super lightweight and affordable plastic that is used for plugs, acrylic tapers, and various pieces of body jewelry. Acrylic jewelry is bright and colorful and can mimic the look of glass and stone for a much more affordable price. There is an endless amount of design possibilities, be sure to check out our Acrylic stretching jewelry. For anyone that has a nickel allergy, this is a possible alternative. 

Here's a Q&A from Reddit of real people giving input on how they feel about acrylic ear stretching materials:

u/JimanyCricket (Reddit Question): "I am just starting to stretch my ears and my stretching kit came today...I was just wondering whether having acrylic plugs will matter if I make sure I stretch up slowly leaving the correct time between each stretch (and let my new piercings heal before I even start). Will having acrylic plugs instead of steel matter if I stretch up slowly?"

jules_am (Reddit Response): "Personally I've never had any problems with acrylic, and at much smaller sizes it was all I had readily available. I had absolutely no problems with it (besides them smelling some times) but I would still never recommend it over steel. And also I no longer use acrylic. It's up to you though, you certainly can use acrylic and your body may be perfectly fine with it, but you still put yourself at more of a risk to complications than if you use steel or glass. If you do choose to use the acrylic just make sure you do your stretches slowly and appropriately to reduce the risk of infection and make sure you clean them every day. Use sea salt and oil. Just take good care of them and acrylic shouldn't be too much of a problem (unless your body reacts to it)...."


Motherfxntom (Reddit Response): When I started stretching I didn't know about the dangers of acrylic. I bought acrylic tapers and plugs. I had no problems but apparently not everyone is that lucky.

Ckwp (Reddit Response): I stretched from 14G to 00G with acrylic plugs, tapers, and teflon tape. I stretched slowly. No issues. Listen to your body. If anything hurts, stop and change to something else.

Mancubine (Reddit Response): Just speaking personally from experience, I bought a ten dollar stretching kit off amazon that had plugs and tapers from 18g-00g. This was also before I found this subreddit. That being said, I used them all the way up, cleaning and oiling my lobes and plugs every other day and taping with them from 6g up and had absolutely no complications or problems whatsoever. The only time I had a problem was when I moved to 12g, and that was because I used ancient bellybutton barbells to move up and the threading tore the hell out of my ears. I didn't see the point in investing a lot in other kinds since I was just going to move past all those sizes (my goal is one inch). With such a small investment, I would have no problem recommending buying them and trying it out, honestly. I would also, however, warn anyone I told this of the possible side effects and tell them to do the research and decided for themselves if they are ok with taking that chance.

Robuttnick (Reddit Response): Acrylic is not good for a fresh stretch. That being said, it's fine to wear in fully healed lobes if your skin doesn't react to it. Many people exaggerate when it comes to acrylic -- it's not going to kill you.


[deleted] (Reddit Response): I used acrylic when stretching. Honestly, it probably wasn't the best idea. However, I was religious about keeping my lobes cleaned and lubricated well. I didn't have any problems, but that is just me. Each person will react differently to acrylic.



Surgical steel is a smooth, non-porous, easy to clean material considered by most to be an excellent choice for fresh ear stretches and healed ones.

Is surgical steel good for stretching ears?

Steel, specifically surgical steel, is widely considered the best choice when stretching your ears from one gauge to another. It can be boiled or autoclaved (if you have one available) and is non-porous, which greatly reduces the chance for infection. Surgical steels are those with the greatest amount of corrosion resistance and are designated for biomedical applications They generally insert smoother than other materials.

It's one of the most widely used metals in medicine. It has even been used in the form of staples that offer an efficient means of wound closure and have been used for decades.


 The verdict: Surgical steel is great for stretching and healed piercings.


Silicone is an extremely comfortable material. Most silicone ear tunnels are made of implant grade silicone, so true allergic reactions to the material are rare.

However, silicone is a very tacky material and tends to attract a lot of dust and other invisible dirt, which can cause a reaction that leads many to believe they are allergic to the material itself. This can be easily remedied by cleaning occasionally with soap and water.

Are silicone plugs safe for stretching?

When stretching any body piercing it’s best to stick to the safest piercing materials that are used in initial/fresh piercings. This is because your piercing at this point is a healing piercing. Silicone is not on that list of initial body jewelry as it has a habit of trapping bacterial in between the ear and the plug itself. Ear stretching with silicone can lead to blowouts, bacterial issues including intrusions and infections.

The verdict: Silicone is great for fully healed piercings.

Caring While Stretching

While you stretch your piercing, lubrication is key to a healthy and smooth healing process.

Our Golden Organic Jojoba Oil and Gauges Stretching Balm (aka Holey Butt'r) are perfect for just that and everyday maintenance. 

That concludes our article. If you have any anecdotes to share, please leave us a comment! We will add it to this post.



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