Yes, fillers and anti-aging care for your ears are a thing.
We’ve waxed poetic about the different (and unexpected) ways and places you can use fillers a few times before. But we kind of slipped up—and completely overlooked (TBH, we didn’t really know!) how fillers, Restylane specifically, can be used in your earlobes, too. Now, I know there are two types of people here: those who will read this story and think, ‘But why?’ and then there’s the other half (like me) who have dealt with pierced ears that, over time, have turned from pretty earring holders to stretched-out lobes. Whether it’s from years of wearing heavy earrings, time, age, gravity, poor genes (?), or just a mix of all the above. Having only worn small studs for most of my life, I (wrongly or not) attributed my messed-up earlobes to my Portuguese mother, who pierced my ears basically when I exited the womb.
Unable to wear the earrings I really wanted, like these beauties (and these!), ahead of all the festive outings to come, I enlisted the help of top New York City dermatologist Dr. Patricia Wexler to solve my streched-out earlobe conundrums. During a quick “lunch-time procedure,” Dr. Wexler injected a few vials of the hyaluronic acid filler Restylane around my lobes to increase volume around the piercing and to lift and plump. Twenty minutes later I was on my way back to work. The pain was minimal to none, although there was some mild bruising and swelling that lasted about a week. But once it went down, my lobes looked and felt so much better. And my earrings actually sit upright in their piercings.
Honestly, of all the vain treatments I’ve had—and will have—as a beauty editor in New York City, I would never have thought that injecting my ears with fillers would have been the one that has made me the happiest. Thanks to Dr. Wexler, I can confidently say that for once, I’ll be building an outfit based around my earrings.
While I anxiously awaited the injection needle, I quizzed Dr. Wexler on her ear care advice. (Hint: Don’t forget sunscreen!)
Why the ears are just as important as the face, neck, and décolletage:
“The skin on the ear is the same as everywhere else and is neglected, especially in terms of sunscreen, as very few people remember to apply it to their ears. Anti-aging skin care should be applied outwards to the ears the same way as we use it on our face and neck. We lose volume in our lobes as we get older, just like in our face. The combination of sun damage, wrinkles, and a loss of collagen and elastic tissue changes the shape of the earlobe, expanding it and causing the piercing to hang lower.
“Skin cancer on the ears is very common (especially on the outer part of the ear, because it’s more exposed to the sun). Make sure to apply sunscreen regularly and have a dermatologist check anything that’s rough, scaly, or pigmented.”
Her top three ear-care rules:
1. “Don’t wear heavy earrings frequently, because it will cause dragging on the piercing. What we see as we age is an elongation of the hole itself, so the hole can get wide and long. The second thing we see is the lobe itself can get very thin. There’s two options for this: fillers or complete lobe repair.”
2. “Use earring support discs with hanging jewelry or even studs. I also recommend adhesives that go the length of the back of the ear to support heavier or multiple earrings.”
3. “Never sleep in your earrings—take them off when you get home! Unless you’re going out, opt for minimal earrings because you’re on the telephone all the time and it puts stress on the ear. Heavy earrings should be reserved for a special occasion.”
If you have stretched-out lobes:
“With mildly or moderately stretched piercings, we can fill with Restylane or other hyaluronic acid fillers. We use the same fillers as in the face to volumize earlobes. Restylane is easy to inject and adds support to the lobe, both on the outside and to compress the hole, making it tighter. Our patients are always pleased with the results, because not only do you close the hole, but [it] plumps the entire ear and removes wrinkles. After injection, it’s possible to get some bruising, but it’s a five- to 10-minute procedure and patients can go right back to work with zero downtime.
“For an extremely damaged situation where the lobe is separated or very long and pendulous, we recommend surgical repair. It’s simple and usually includes removing a small piece from the lobe and suturing back together. This takes about eight weeks to heal, and then you re-pierce the ear. Ultimately you have to change your habits: Stop wearing heavy jewelry, and use back support for your earrings.”