What To Do if Earring Posts Are Too Thick

Earrings are a great way to complement any outfit and can also be a form of self-expression. But as you grow your earring collection, you might notice you’ve gotten a pair with thicker posts than normal. 

If your earring posts are too thick, you can choose between stretching out your earlobes or switching to a thinner post so the earrings can be worn comfortably. In some cases, you might also be able to thin them out on your own, but paying attention to what size you purchase is preferable.

Below, I will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of stretching your earlobes and switching to thinner posts. I will also discuss ways to adjust posts at home to fit your needs. 

Enlarging Your Piercings vs. Switching to Thinner Posts: How To Decide

You don’t have to toss out your favorite pair of earrings just because they’re too thick. You can switch to thinner posts, enlarge your ears, or even DIY your earrings to make them fit better. 

First and foremost, you must decide what is most important to you. Here are some things to consider: 

  • Are the earrings available in a different size? If you’re at a jewelry store, sometimes there will be different options for posts. See first if you can go grab a different pair. However, some shops won’t let you return a pair of earrings you already put in your ears. 
  • Are you interested in enlarging your piercing holes? If this seems to be a constant issue and you’re worried your ear holes are closing up or that they are pierced wrong, it may be simpler to just enlarge your holes. 
  • Would you be upset if you had to return your earrings and did not find an alternative? Consider which is more valuable to you: your ear holes being the same size they are now or the pair of earrings you want to fit in. 

These are all great questions that can influence your choice. Let’s go over some earrings basics and then get to the pros and cons of each option. 

Gauge Sizes in Earrings

Piercings have different “gauges,” meaning how thick the posts are. A standard earring post is usually an 18 gauge, and the sizes get bigger as the number gets smaller. For example, a 00 is the biggest gauge size for earrings. After gauge sizes, the measurements then go into inches.

You’ll often see an 18 or 16-gauge for ear piercings. If you are unsure what you were pierced with, you can purchase a gauge wheel tool that will measure your earrings and tell you what size you are. From there, you can plan to purchase earrings of the correct size in the future. You can also call your piercer and confirm the size you use. 

There are many different earring gauge sizes that can be used to make earrings fit comfortably and securely. It’s important to look at the gauge size of earrings prior to purchase.

Enlarging Your Piercings

Another option for dealing with piercings that are too thick is to enlarge your piercing holes. You should especially consider this if you prefer styles that tend to have a thicker post size. Stretching the earlobes is a process that takes time and is not always reversible, so keep this in mind.

To properly stretch earlobes, you will want to only go up one size at a time. Most ear piercings are 18 gauge, so a 16 gauge would be the next step. Check the size of your earring posts when you purchase them to ensure they are the correct size. In this case, it is a good idea to keep all packaging and receipts until you see they fit. 

When stretching the earlobes, you can use oil and steel tapers to slowly stretch them to size. Here is a helpful video showing how to stretch them using tapers:

You will want to wait at least 6 weeks between each size stretch. You will likely need to buy a taper kit for this purpose. Some of the cons of stretching your earlobes include the following:

  • Pain: Stretching your earlobes can be an uncomfortable and painful process, and the pain can last for several days after stretching. Make sure you follow instructions and go a little at a time to minimize discomfort. 
  • Risk of Infection: Stretching your earlobes increases the risk of infection, as the process involves creating open wounds.
  • Scarring: Stretching your earlobes can cause permanent scarring and cause the skin to become thinner or weaker with repeated stretching.
  • Limited style options: Stretching your earlobes can limit your style options since most standard earrings won’t fit in stretched holes. If you are just moving to the next size, this should not be too much of an issue. 
  • Reversibility: Stretching your earlobes is not easily reversible, and it may take months or even years for the holes to close up again. You can always reach out to a professional for tips and guidance and a realistic idea of how much they will shrink down. 

Though there are a few possible hurdles, you shouldn’t worry too much about it. If you follow the correct processes, keep the wound hygienic, and work with a professional when needed, you can safely enlarge your piercings.

If you’re finding it difficult to put on earrings with slightly thicker posts than you’re accustomed to, you can try lightly coating them in vaseline beforehand. This should make them slide more easily. Still, you should expect some soreness during the next couple of days.

Switching to Thinner Posts

If you are a casual earring wearer and don’t want to stretch your earlobes, switching the earrings to thinner posts should do the trick. If you purchased the earrings on your own, hang onto the receipt and packaging in case they’re not a good fit. You can return them easily if the posts are too thick. 

Each store is different, so it is a good idea to check the return policy before returning the items. You can check their website or call the store to see if the earrings can be returned. Most places will ask for the receipt and need them to be in a like-new condition. You should also return them within the return window, so trying them on sooner than later will help! 

This might not always work, as some earring designs are only made in specific gauge sizes. If this is the case and you don’t feel like you can live without the earrings, there’s another option you can try.

DIY Methods for Fixing Thick Earring Posts

If you feel like you’re not ready to part with your new earrings but you don’t want to stretch your earlobes, you might consider alternative methods to make the posts fit into your ears. This is not always a good idea, but it can work if done properly. 

Keep in mind that gauge sizes usually aren’t arbitrary. They’re made that way in order to correctly support the earring. If you thin down a post from a heavy earring, you may become even more uncomfortable than they were before.

Making Your Earring Posts Thinner 

To make earring posts thinner, you can use needle nose pliers or sandpaper. Grip the base of the post and then twist until the friction and pressure cause them to thin out a bit. 

Be careful not to press too hard or snap the posts completely. If you are using sandpaper, the same principles apply: sand around the post until it is thin enough to fit your piercing holes.

Before you try them on, make sure you thoroughly clean the posts to remove any particles.

The benefits of thinning out earring posts are that it can save you money. You won’t have to go to the jewelry store and pay for a repair. 

It can also help to make earrings more comfortable to wear since the posts are thinner and less likely to cause discomfort. Additionally, it can be a fun DIY project and a great way to customize your jewelry.

However, there are a few downsides to this method.

To start, it only works with certain metals. If the posts are entirely made of gold or silver, you should be able to do it with no problem.

However, if they’re only gold or silver-plated, that could expose the inner metal inside the post, which is often not made to be in contact with skin. This could cause irritation or, in the worst case, an allergic reaction. Other metals, such as steel, are simply too strong for these methods.

Removing the gold or silver plating from a pair of earrings would also make them considerably less valuable, and they might not look as nice.

Converting Earrings To Clip-Ons

Another option is to convert your regular earrings to clip-on earrings. This could be a great option for someone who wants to wear earrings and has not yet pierced their ears. There are plenty of clip-on converters available, and they are fairly simple to use. 

Clip-on earrings are that they are convenient and comfortable. They’re also a great choice for sensitive ears, as they are lightweight and not as intrusive as pierced earrings.

However, clip-on converters won’t look exactly as regular pierced earrings. If you want the best result possible, you could reset the earring into a new piece. Of course, this involves taking it to a jeweler, and as you’ll see, it can cost a lot of money.

Visit a Jeweler for Repair 

If you want to adjust your earrings but don’t want to do it yourself, you can also find a jeweler in your area who may be willing to switch out the posts for you. This can become costly, so be sure the earrings are important or valuable enough to make the change. With this option, you can feel peace of mind knowing that the earrings will be altered correctly. 

Depending on the type of earring and the extent of the customization, the repair process could involve replacing a lost earring back, soldering new pieces together, or even remounting the earring in a new setting.

The repair cost will depend on the materials and labor involved. With the right care, your earrings can be returned to their original condition, giving you many more years of enjoyment.

Do I Need to Re-Pierce My Ears?

It is possible that your earring posts may not actually be too thick, but instead, your ear hole has started to close up. This can be especially true if you haven’t worn earrings in a while or if you have recently gained or lost a significant amount of weight. 

If you can’t get your earrings through your ear holes, it may be time to visit a tattoo shop for re-piercing. Unfortunately, this will mean paying another fee. 

In some cases, re-piercing may be necessary for dealing with thick earring posts. If the post is too thick for a DIY solution to be effective, this may be your best bet. The procedure is typically quick and painless, and the results are often quite satisfactory.  

However, it is important to note that re-piercing is a more permanent solution and should only be 

considered after exploring other alternatives. If the issue was simply getting earrings with the wrong gauge by accident, the easiest solution is to find new earrings. 

Additionally, it is important to make sure that the person performing the procedure is experienced and knowledgeable. You don’t want to risk any potential damage to your ears!


If your earring posts are too thick, there are a few ways to make them fit. One option is to thin down the posts with nose pliers or sandpaper. Another would be to switch to larger earrings in order to enlarge your piercing.

If the issue is that your piercing holes are closing, then you may want to re-pierce them. Whatever you decide, there are many ways you can make earrings with thick posts work for you! 

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