Are there any ways to make my areolas bigger?
Most woman seem to have the opposite problem, but I feel like my areolas are extremely small… they are almost non-existent. They measure about an inch across, and are also just a little bit darker than my normal skin tone, so that adds to the problem as well. Outside of tattooing, what options do I have?
Usually we receive inquiries on how to reduce the size of a woman’s areola rather than how to increase it. You may have visited a few websites and seen pumps or creams that claim to increase areola size. A lot of people in the medical community don’t believe they actually work. There are two basic methods of increasing the size of the areola: one is by having the area near your areola tattooed; the other is plastic surgery to enlarge the areola (not to be confused with breast enlargement). Neither is a complete solution. The ink used during tattooing must match exactly and may, over time, appear different from the rest of your skin. Some plastic surgeons claim a Benelli Lift (also known as a donut lift) will help in these situations, however this procedure tends to leave scarring around the areola. Essentially you would be trading off one issue for another.
The size and the color of the areola tend to change over time. If pregnancy and breastfeeding are in your future, both will have an impact on your breasts and areola which is something else to consider in your decision process.
Most of the time we receive questions on increasing breast size/breast implants. Occasionally we do receive questions about the nipple/areola, but most of them focus on reducing nipple size and/or the areolae. There aren’t many good options for increasing the size of small areolas or creating the appearance of a larger areola.
One way to create the appearance of larger areola is, as you mentioned, to tattoo the area. I don’t recommend going to a local tattoo/body piercing place to have this done but, rather, consult with a few board-certified plastic surgeons experienced in this procedure. The upside is that it does not require surgery or grafting. The downside is that it’s difficult to match the color of your natural areola with the ink. Also, over time, your skin color may change and the tattoo ink may not match, even if it looked good initially.
If you were contemplating increasing the size of the areola with plastic surgery, remember that it will leave scars and the match might not be perfect. Most commonly, this procedure is included as one element of a larger reconstructive surgery and not really what you’re looking for as a targeted solution.
Outside of tattooing, the areolas may be enlarged surgically. This would entail a similar technique as the "donut" or Benelli lift. That would essentially entail removing a ring of skin from around the areola, and then closing it so that the areola is stretched to the new larger size.
Surgery to enlarge the areolas is often possible by basically mimicking what we often do in a breast lift, which is to remove some extra skin around the areola. Sometimes the areola spreads in a way that we DON'T want when we are doing lifts, but we could use that tendency to our advantage in trying to enlarge a naturally small areola. Be mindful, though, that some numbness (usually temporary, rarely permanent) can result from any incision around the areola.
Tattooing is another option to create a larger appearing areola non-invasively.
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More info on nipple/areola surgery can be found at http://www.timsayedmd.com/breast-plastic-surgery-newport-beach/nipple-surgery/