Kale. Coconut oil. Hyaluronic acid? In the United States, we love a trendy ingredient, even if it isn’t exactly edible. Maybe that’s why hyaluronic acid, or HA, has become the go-to injectable for a variety of cosmetic procedures making headlines this year. From lip fillers to wrinkle reduction and nipple enhancement, it seems like there’s nothing HA can’t do. But now, a trendy new HA procedure is taking even the most seasoned plastic surgery professionals by surprise.
“A growing number of women are using hyaluronic acid to restore the look of sagging earlobes,” says Dr. Bruce Chau, a plastic surgeon from Berkley, Michigan.
Chau says that patients who suffer from loss of collagen in the earlobes due to age or wear and tear are seeing major improvement after injecting the earlobes with HA.
“Over time, our skin sags. That’s just gravity. But for earlobes, the problem can be twofold,” he explains. “First, because we cannot exercise the ears, there’s no way to improve the sagging naturally. And if you wear earrings, or have ever worn earrings, that can permanently stretch out the earlobes.”
And while there are surgical procedures that can trim the earlobes and remove excess skin, Chau says HA injections offer a relatively fast, easier way to combat the problem.
“Surgery is permanent, but it’s also painful and costly,” he says. “An HA injection may need to be repeated, but it’s faster, heals quickly and provides the same look for a fraction of the cost.”
Another downside to surgical earlobe correction?
“We don’t advise you wear heavy earrings after those procedures,” says Chau. “The earlobe may look better, but the skin becomes thinner and more delicate. You can still re-pierce them, but you have to be very careful where the piercing is placed. With HA injections, there is some risk of injecting an artery, but under the care of a trained professional you can improve the look and feel of the lobes and still adorn them in whatever jewelry you want – and still use your original piercings.”