Our breasts can tell us a lot about what is going on in our body. If the function of the breasts is well known, and we give them (and this is important) special attention, what do we really know about the functions of the areola? Everyone who has a nipple has an areola, this is normal. But why do sizes and colors differ so much from person to person?
The little shocking truth is that all nipples are a different size, and this is completely normal. “Areolas are as variable as the breast they are on.” This means that in terms of size and shape, there is a very wide range of values considered “normal” for the areola.
So what determines the size of a person’s areola? “Genetics play the biggest role in the size, appearance and even the color of the areola.” The size of the areola is something you inherit from your parents, just like the size of your breasts, feet, or freckles.
That said, there are a few things that can cause your areola size, color, and shape to change over time, such as puberty, your period, and of course, pregnancy. “When you think about the primary function of [areolas], it makes sense that they get bigger and darker.”
There is absolutely nothing wrong with your areola, whether you’ve been pregnant or not – it’s just part of who you are.
Areolas are made up of tissue and fibers that constrict so that the nipples can stand up when you’re cold, aroused, or breastfeeding. If you are breastfeeding, your areolas will grow to make breastfeeding easier and change color because they are needed more than ever. The areolas act as a “focal point” that allows the baby to find your breast and her milk. “Babies have very poor eyesight, so the stark contrast between the areola and breast color helps point the baby’s eyes in the right direction.”
After pregnancy, areolas tend to shrink, but they don’t necessarily return to their previous size. “The color also lightens, but does not necessarily return to the color before pregnancy.” This is just one of the extremely common changes your body goes through after pregnancy, and there really is no need to worry if you notice your areolas getting larger.
However, some people are very sensitive to this change in the appearance of their nipples, and nipple reduction is becoming more and more popular, especially with women who have just given birth. 50% of postpartum patients who go for a facelift or breast augmentation also ask to modify their nipple or areola. Some patients who have not had children also request nipple reduction, but this is less common.
Ultimately, you can do whatever you want with your nipples, but these procedures are unnecessary from a purely medical point of view. “There’s absolutely nothing wrong with your areola, whether you’ve been pregnant or not – it’s just part of who you are, and that’s what makes us all different.” “Beauty is the diversity of what human bodies can look like.”