What Can Cause Large Areolas and Is This Normal?
Is there anything abnormal about my large areola? Do I have a condition that needs treatment?
These questions may come up when discussing your large areola with others. Many people do not realize that the size of one’s face does not necessarily indicate any other physical problems. Some people believe that having a large face means they have some sort of disease or illness. However, this is not always true. There are many reasons why someone might have a large face such as:
Family history of enlarged facial features
Genetic factors (some people inherit extra fat from their parents)
Age – A person’s facial development tends to slow down with age.
Hair loss due to chemotherapy or radiation treatments
Tumors in the brain, nose, ears, thyroid gland, lungs and other organs (such as the pancreas)
Excessive sun exposure or tanning beds
A congenital abnormality (a birth defect) that affects growth and development of certain parts of the body. For example a baby born with spina bifida will have a smaller than normal head circumference.
Age, heredity, and medical conditions cannot be changed but there are other steps you can take to make your large areola appear smaller such as:
Wear clothes that have a baggy fit. Baggy shirts and blouses create the illusion of extra space within your clothing.
Choose necklaces and other types of jewelry that cover the area surrounding your areola.
Choose clothing that come up high around the neck. This will draw attention upward instead of towards the areola.
Wear a skin-colored bra or a bra that is the same color as your skin. Wearing a black bra against your light skin will create the illusion of a darker circle within your clothing.
Buy clothing that has padding in the chest area. This will give the appearance of extra tissue around your areola.
Wearing layered clothing tends to make everyone look a little bigger.
Does their color affect how big or small they look?
No, your areola’s natural color does not change its size or appearance. Some people believe that having a light colored areola, like pink, makes them appear smaller than if their areola were a darker color. This is just a common belief and is not scientifically proven to be true. There are people that have very large areolas but still have small circumferences around the base of their nipples.
Can areola size change over time?
Over time, many changes can occur to the size of your areola. During puberty, many girls begin to develop larger areolas. This is a natural part of maturing. A person’s areola may also become slightly larger if their nipples become more sensitive. The sensitivity, or the degree of it, can increase due to any number of reasons such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, or even playing a musical instrument. Some people have naturally large areola, and their size can even increase within the same category.
Why do I have a single or double crease around my areola?
An areola usually has a natural crease or ridge that goes around the circumference in either a single or double line. The width of this ridge is usually the same all the way around, unless there has been a recent change in the size of your areola. This natural ridge is nothing to worry about and in most cases, it is barely noticeable.
How can I cover my areola without using a band-aid?
If you do not have a band-aid large enough or the right shape to cover your areola adequately, then try the following tips:
Wear a shirt with a collar that is high enough to cover your areola. This can be tricky if you also tend to sweat a lot.
A band-aid worn under the shirt works well too.
Use two band-aids; one for each areola. Try to match the color of the band-aid to your skin tone as closely as possible.
Sometimes clothing stores have a “tanning” section with band-aids that have a tannish color.
Can men have large areola too?
Yes, both men and women can have large areola. One man I know said his areola started to grow during puberty, and he began to feel embarrassed because none of his friends had developed yet. He thought something might be wrong with him. Fortunately he went to the doctor, and his areola size remained the same throughout his life. Sometimes men have larger areola due to normal hormonal changes or an injury.
I sweat a lot.
Does it make my areola wet and uncomfortable?
Some people sweat more than others. Some things that may cause you to sweat are certain foods you eat, how physically active you are, the weather, your emotions, or even your menstrual cycle if you are a woman. Areola can become sweaty and chaffed just like any other part of your body. Try the following tips to make it more comfortable:
Always wipe your areola with a dry cloth after you wash it.
If possible, wear clothing that allows your skin to “breathe.” Some people say that polyester is one of the best materials to wear against your skin if you tend to sweat a lot.
Some fibers, such as cotton, can hold moisture against your skin and cause you to sweat even more.
Wear a band-aid if necessary. You can match the color of the band-aid to your skin or wear a tan one under lighter clothing.
How do I increase the size of my areola?
There is no proven way to increase the size of your areola permanently. However, some women say that cold temperatures can cause their areola to shrink somewhat. If you want larger-looking areola, try exposing them to the cold on a regular basis.
Is it normal for my areola to be mostly one color and have a slight tint of another?
Yes, it is common for your areola to have more than one color. For example, your areola might be pink with a brownish tint or even brown with a reddish tint. The colors may vary in different lighting or even throughout the month due to hormonal changes. Your areola might also contain small moles or freckles.
Is it true that some women have three or more areola?
Yes, it is certainly possible to have more than two. In fact, it is very rare, but some women have been known to have three or more sets of areola on their nipples. The condition is called polythelia and is sometimes inherited. It is not dangerous and does not cause any health problems. Some women have taken this as a sign that they should become a model!
Sources & references used in this article:
An unusual case of gigantomasty by UT Hinderer, L Juan – Aesthetic plastic surgery, 1985 – Springer
Areola-nipple perception threshold to faradic electricity: a new measure of sensibility of the breasts by A Prado, P Andrades, S Benitez, F Parada – Aesthetic plastic surgery, 2008 – Springer
Areolar scar in mammaplasty without loss of peripheral pigment shading by A Marques, E Brenda, MD Pereira – European Journal of Plastic Surgery, 1996 – Springer
Clinical abnormalities of the nipple-areola complex: the role of imaging by D Geffroy, I Doutriaux-Dumoulins – Diagnostic and interventional imaging, 2015 – Elsevier
Studies on Intradermal Sensitization, I: Intradermal Reactions to Emulsions of Normal and Pathologic Skin by JH Stokes – The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 1916 – JSTOR
Evaluation of nipple-areola complex with ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging by O Sarica, E Zeybek, E Ozturk – Journal of computer assisted …, 2010 – journals.lww.com