What procedures will help make my nipples smaller?

What are the best procedures available for making my areolas smaller? I am happy with the size of my breasts, but my nipples have always caused me to be self-conscious. It’s weird because my areolas are almost the same color as my skin, so it almost looks like I just have boobs and nipples. I would like to maybe darken them a bit too if that’s possible.


F, 34, Virginia

Tags:discoloration nipples too large

I perform both nipple reduction surgery and areola surgery at my practice for precisely these purposes. These procedures can be suitable for both women wanting normal size nipples/areolas and men that want surgery to address gynecomastia (“man boobs”).

To determine how to approach the nipple and areola, the surgeon will need to gain an understanding of your goals and concerns. The best way for the plastic surgeon to know for sure is to conduct a personal assessment of your breasts and other factors.

Schedule an appointment with a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgery to learn more.

For some women self esteem is adversely affected by big nipples or areolas (pigmented skin around the nipples). Often these issues are a matter of genetics, but nipple swelling and nipples size in general can also be caused by changes in weight, pregnancy or the aging process.

If you are one of these patients, you may choose to boost your self-confidence through surgery to achieve smaller nipple or areola size. Many women combine nipple or areola reduction with another breast surgery, such as breast lift, for a more comprehensive result.

For some patients wishing to reduce their areolas, a complete breast lift with areola reduction can be performed. This procedure involves a “lollipop” incision, whereby the incision follows the pigmentation line around the perimeter of the areola and down the front of the breast to the breast crease.

Another type of incision sometimes made for areola reduction procedures is the donut incision, which goes around the areola and only removes excess skin. This can be a plus for some women, depending on how much extra areola and breast skin they have. The principal advantages of this method over a complete breast lift are minimized scarring and less disturbance of natural breast tissue. On the flipside, there is a higher risk of stretching out the areola. There’s also a higher risk of bunching of skin, which can occur if a big areola is reduced and none of the breast skin in the area is excised along with it. Excising too much areola skin can also cause tension on the incision that might create additional problems.

During you initial appointment your plastic surgeon should assess the anatomy and condition of your breasts to understand how much skin can be removed.

Another related procedure surgeons perform is nipple reduction to reduce the width and height of the nipple. If performed correctly the surgery can leave the nipple intact so sensation remains unaltered and the milk ducts are not disturbed. It’s still possible to lose sensation with this procedure, but much less likely if a board-certified plastic surgeon performs it.

Dr. Landon Pryor has 1 Nipple procedure (Nipple reduction) before & after:

Nipple procedure (Nipple reduction) before image performed by Dr. Landon PryorNipple procedure (Nipple reduction) after image performed by Dr. Landon Pryor

» View Dr. Landon Pryor's full profile

The exact technique used to reduce the size of your nipples and/or areolas depends on your unique circumstances.

First let us dispense with the idea that there are natural ways to reduce the size of your nipples or areolas. There are none, so please ignore any suggestions of remedies such as vitamin B, magnesium fish oil or green leafy vegetables. All of these can be good for your health but won’t reduce larger nipples or change their size in any way.

If you want smaller nipples because you have puffy nipples, you might need excision. This involves an incision around the areola to remove extra tissue.

With regard to the areolas, a plastic surgeon should be able to make them smaller through areola reduction surgery. This involves making an incision around the areola and creating a smaller nipple/areola complex. It is sometimes performed as part of a breast augmentation, breast lift or breast reduction procedure.

Note that these are invasive plastic surgery procedures so expect a visible scar later; and possibly raised, pigmented and/or thick skin in the area. There is also a risk of asymmetry and a very slight risk that loss of sensation will occur.

As with any cosmetic surgery procedure, if you are interested in having surgery to change your nipple shape or reduce large nipples, you are advised to consider the potential risks and complications along with the benefits. Consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to learn more.

Hi Wendywilt,

You may be a good candidate for a nipple/areola reduction procedure.

Enlarged nipples or the stretching of the areolae are often the result of significant weight gain, the aging process or breastfeeding. It is extremely common for women’s nipples and areolae to become larger and darker in color after childbirth. While the breasts will eventually return to their pre-breastfeeding state for some, this does not happen for all women.

It is also possible to just be born with a large areola/nipple to breast ratio.  To learn more about the procedure, you can read our guide.