How to Close Gauged Ears

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If you’re starting a new job or just want a new look, consider your options for closing stretched ears. Although they won’t completely seal shut, you can reduce the size of the holes by wearing smaller gauged jewelry. Once you’ve removed the jewelry, massage your ears with oil to help the scar tissue heal. For the best appearance, consider getting surgery to stitch the holes shut and restore the shape of your ear lobes.


EditReducing Gauge Size

  1. Set realistic expectations. Because your ear lobes have healed around the tunnel, plug, or taper you used to stretch the ear, your ears will never completely close. Keep in mind that your best expectation is to shrink the size of the holes. If you experienced tearing, infections, or blowouts, your ears may not shrink as much. Other factors that determine how much your ears will shrink include:
    Close Gauged Ears Step 1.jpeg
    • The size of your holes.
    • How long and gradually you stretched.
    • How elastic your skin is.
  2. Decrease your plug by 1 size and wear it for at least 3 to 4 days. Choose a smaller plug, tunnel, or taper and put it in your ear. Leave the smaller piece in your ear for 3 to 4 days or up to a week so your ear gradually shrinks to hold it.
    Close Gauged Ears Step 2.jpeg
    • If you switch to drastically smaller sizes too quickly, they may fall out of your ear.
    • For example, if your normal gauge is a 000g (10.4 mm), put a 00g (9.26 mm) in your ear.
  3. Continue to decrease the gauge until you’re wearing a 17g (1.14 mm). After your ears can comfortably hold the smaller piece, switch to the next smaller size gauge. Keep it in for another 3 to 4 days or up to a week. Keep decreasing the gauge until you’re at the smallest gauge.
    Close Gauged Ears Step 3.jpeg
    • The smallest gauge is 20g (0.812 mm) which fits a standard wire earring.
  4. Remove the gauge and gently rinse your ear lobes with water. Carefully remove the plugs, tunnels, or tapers once they’re at the smallest gauge. Then dip a clean cloth or cotton swab in cool water and wipe your ear lobes to clean them.
    Close Gauged Ears Step 4.jpeg
    • Avoid cleaning your ears with antiseptic. This will sting badly and dry out your ear lobes.

EditEncouraging the Holes to Close

  1. Massage your ear lobes daily with oil. Once the plugs, tapers, or tunnels are out of your ear lobes, take the time to massage your ear lobes every day. Dip your fingers in a little jojoba or vitamin E oil and then rub the oil into your lobes for a minutes or two.[1]
    Close Gauged Ears Step 5.jpeg
    • You can also use ear butter, which is a mixture of both jojoba and vitamin E oil.
  2. Try applying a hemorrhoid cream to speed the healing time. Although research is needed, some people believe that spreading a dab of hemorrhoid cream on the holes will reduce the scar tissue and allow the holes to close faster. Use your fingers or a cotton swab to rub the cream over the holes.[2]
    Close Gauged Ears Step 6.jpeg
    • Hemorrhoid cream also contains a local anesthetic that will relieve any pain that you might have as your ears close.
  3. Continue to massage the lobes for several months. If you didn’t stretch your ears very much or didn’t wear plugs, tunnels, or tapers for very long, your ears will probably close within a few months.
    Close Gauged Ears Step 7.jpeg
    • If you stretched your ears considerably or wore the jewelry for years, remember that your ears may not close completely.

EditGetting Surgery

  1. Talk with a surgeon about the procedure. The surgeon will explain how they’ll snip off some of the extra skin from the ear lobe and stitch back in place. The surgeon will try to make the earlobe match its original shape and curve although there will probably be a small scar in the center of the lobe.[3]
    Close Gauged Ears Step 8.jpeg
    • Discuss possible complications of the surgery. For example, you might develop an infection, pain, redness or irritation, bleeding, and skin sensitivity.
  2. Consider the high cost of surgery. Although surgery is your best option for closing stretched ears, it’s also the most expensive option. Most ear lobe reconstruction surgeries cost between $ 1,500 and $ 3,000.[4]
    Close Gauged Ears Step 9.jpeg
    • Keep in mind that most insurance companies won’t cover this procedure because it’s considered to be cosmetic.
  3. Schedule the surgery to close the holes. If you do opt for the surgery, plan on a short procedure. You’ll get a local anesthetic and the procedure should take less than 1 hour. A cosmetic surgeon will cut the ear and stitch together the lobe to repair the appearance.[5]
    Close Gauged Ears Step 10.jpeg
    • Most surgeons will make lots of very fine stitches so the scars aren’t very noticeable.
  4. Care for your earlobes after the surgery. Follow the doctor’s care guidelines following the surgery. For example, you’ll probably need to apply antibiotic ointment or cream to the earlobes for the first few days after surgery. The doctor may recommend that you put small bandages on the earlobes as they heal.[6]
    Close Gauged Ears Step 11.jpeg
    • Your ears will probably feel painful or look bruised for a few days. Take over-the-counter pain medications to manage the pain.
    • Ask your surgeon if the stitches will dissolve on their own or if they need to be removed after 1 week.


  • Never use sandpaper to “irritate” the ear into healing itself. This can cause even more damage to the ear and prevent healing.
  • Avoid “filling” the hole with superglue or toothpaste. These will damage the ear even more.

EditThings You’ll Need

  • Smaller gauges in a variety of sizes
  • Clean cloth or cotton swabs
  • Hemorrhoid cream
  • Jojoba or vitamin E oil

EditRelated wikiHows

  • Stretch an Ear Lobe Piercing
  • Gauge Your Ears
  • Gauge Your Ears Without Getting a Blowout

EditSources and Citations

EditQuick Summary

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