Using tapers for stretching should only be done by an experienced professional.
At Saint Sabrina’s, we get quite a few phone calls asking if we sell tapers for stretching, so we wanted to take a few minutes to give you a more thorough answer to this common question.
A “Taper” is a tool that helps insert body jewelry. Some piercers also use them to help “stretch” a piercing from one gauge-size to the next. Tapers are shaped like a pin, but with a smooth rounded tip. The smaller end will be the thickness of one gauge size, and the other end will be the next size up.
“Fashion Tapers”, which can be found online, or at retail/novelty stores, are not safe for stretching under any circumstances- they are basically low quality costume jewelry. The extreme jump from a thin point on one end to a much larger size on the other end defeats the purpose of a gradual “tapered” stretch. This extreme jump makes it very easy to tear your skin when using that type of taper for stretching.
A long, smooth, and very gradual taper is necessary for this tool to be used safely
Fashion Tapers are often made from acrylic, which is a material that can’t be sterilized. Sterilizing a taper is the only way to ensure it is free of bacteria and other harmful organisms. Acrylic also breaks down over time in the body, and has the potential to be toxic. It simply isn’t safe to put in the body.
A quality taper made from the proper material(s) and with the proper shape isn’t cheap. One of the big reasons we don’t sell tapers for stretching is because it’s less expensive for our clients to have us help them accomplish the stretch than it is for them to buy the right kind of taper.
Aside from the cost, a simple tool like a taper can be devastating in the wrong hands. An apprentice (in-training) piercer would spend an extensive amount of time learning how to use a taper properly and safely; observing their mentor over and over before finally practicing on people. Even then, the apprentice would be under the direct supervision of their mentor until they can be sure the apprentice is prepared to use tapers properly.
We have seen endless numbers of clients attempt to user tapers to stretch their piercings on their own – including clients who do a lot of research and try to stretch appropriate (i.e., not too much at once and not too quickly). Even then, we have seen severe mistakes made simply because the client didn’t have the experience to know something was wrong. Simply fumbling a bit when you are putting the jewelry in can cause a scratch in your skin that can lead to infections, scaring, or even thin spots where your lobe could eventually “break”.
For all these reasons, we choose not to sell tapers for stretching to our clients. We love using our years of experience to help people achieve beautiful healthy piercings. We encourage you to take advantage of that experience and expertise. We are always happy to discuss safe and successful options for stretching with you.