Can Stretched Earlobes Return to Normal?
So, you have decided the stretched earlobes, that were once so much apart of your personal identity, are no longer who you are. You want your old ears back, but will those large holes ever close? Can stretched earlobes return to normal?
A Real Earful
Earlobe stretching (often referred to as gauging) is a trend that is popular with young people. “A traditional ear-piercing hole is stretched to hold thicker rings or plugs,” says Dr. Adam Mamelak, board certified dermatologist and skin surgeon in Austin, Texas. Sometimes, using a large gauge needle or dermal punch, a person starts with a larger than traditional initial piercing. This can leave a hole to accommodate jewelry of 14, 12, or 10 gauge thickness. After the initial piercing heals, one stretches the earlobe over time by inserting larger jewelry.
“I’ve has a number of patients with gauges and eventually decide it is no longer right for them,” says Dr. Mamelak. “These patient often wonder if could ever have normal looking earlobes again. Are there any rejuvenating options for the ears?” There are several solutions to this problem.
Lend An Ear
In some cases, particularly if they have not stretched their earlobes beyond 00g (or 10mm), there is a potential the holes can shrink over time. “One simple solution is to step down one size, allow the lobe to shrink, then repeat as often as necessary until the earlobes can accommodate a traditional earring,” says Emily Johnston, certified Physician Assistant at Sanova Dermatology.
The key to this method is not reducing too quickly. “Keep the smaller jewelry in for a number of weeks before reducing again,” says Emily. “Regularly massaging the lobe with Vitamin E oil and other preparations can help repair scar tissue.”
While this is an effective method in many cases, the ear will never completely return to normal. Many individuals will find, while the hole does shrink, it never completely closes. Also, one will most certainly be left with a dimple mark where the piercing once was.
As the earlobes shrink, one may find that they have an abnormal appearance. A quick and easy fix is with dermal fillers. “Injected into the lobe, the dermal filler will plump it up, giving it a restored appearance,” explains Dr. Mamelak. “The results are long-lasting, with no downtime.”
Bend An Ear?
The most consistent and reliable solution however, is reconstructive surgery. “When stretched beyond 00g, or the lobes just don’t shrink, surgery is the best solution,” says Dr. Mamelak. The procedure is typically performed as an office visit, with local anesthesia. “It is actually a relatively quick and simple procedure, performed in a similar manner to a split earlobe repair.” An incision made in the earlobe, then stitched back together to fill the hole.
If you are concerned about the appearance of your ear, or are interested in repairing a piercing or stretched earlobe, we can help.Please contact us at Sanova Dermatology for more information about earlobe repair, or to schedule your consultation.