Oversized hoop and statement earrings are easy ways to glam up your look with minimal effort, but wearing big baubles does have its drawbacks. Besides getting caught in your hair or clothes, these stylish accessories can lead to premature skin aging on your ears.
According to Edward Miranda, a board-certified plastic surgeon, there are three major risks tied to wearing heavy earrings:
- Mild and self-limited infection can occur, generally shortly after initial piercing.
- Since earrings worn at the earlobe add weight across a thin strip of skin, wear and tear from gravity will stretch the earlobe piercing from a round hole to an oval. The earlobe elongates and thins from the weight and ultimately can rupture and split.
- Large, hoop and dangling earrings can get caught on objects or tugged by children and pets, and can cause the earring to be ripped off the ear producing a laceration and earlobe rupture.
Back in 2011, saggy earlobes gained attention among surgeons focused on anti-aging. Women flocked to their offices for a "lobe lift" in an attempt to reverse signs of elongated or sagging lobes. The procedure includes two options: one is for an earlobe where the piercing has become elongated, and the second is for earlobes that have simply become thinner and longer with age.
"If the piercing is part of the problem, the surgeon can reduce or eliminate the piercing and use the available skin to lift and plump up the earlobe with minimal scarring," said Miranda. "Stitches are generally in place for five to seven days and stud earrings can be worn after healing. However, if the piercing is not part of the problem, and elongation of the lobe itself is the issue, a small incision can be made behind the ear and the earlobe can be lifted. Earrings can be worn after healing is completed." He added that costs for both procedures are in the $1,500 to $3,000 range.
Dermal fillers such as Juvederm or Restylane are alternatives to plump the earlobes for an effective and somewhat temporary fix that lasts about nine months to one year. However, Miranda warns that these treatments do not make the earlobe stronger.
According to Dimitry Rabkin, the founder and medical director of Esthetica MD, earlobe lifts using dermal fillers are still used today to revolumize earlobe thickness. Even if the earlobe hole is repaired when it becomes large or tears, Rabkin believes it would still be beneficial to make a it appear more youthful looking with hyaluronic filler. The doctor quoted the cost for bilateral stretched earlobe repair as approximately $500 to $700, depending on where you get it done.
Miranda added, "The earlobe is an unusual body structure as it has skin on two sides. This makes it prone to water loss and sun exposure. Consequently daily moisturizers and sunblock with SPF 15 or higher will likely delay the aging process."
Are you a fan of heavy earrings? Would you consider giving your lobes a lift? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section.
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