Our Nose and Ears Get Bigger As We Age

Our nose and ears get bigger as we age. Did you know? I didn’t, but recently my husband said “Babe, I’ll love you even when your nose gets bigger”. I was like, WTH? So, I decided to look into it and sure enough, it’s true!

In 2011, investigator at the Researchers at the Functional Anatomy Research Center in Milan discovered that the tip of your nose begins to point downward and the overall nose size increases with age. Nasal volume typically increases by 29 percent in men and 18 percent in women.

What are the Factors Contributing to this Issue? 

It turns out there are a number of factors contributing to this issue. At the root of this problem is aging connective tissue. Physically speaking, your nose and ears are very similar: They are both soft and flexible, yet maintain their shape. This is because your nose and ears are made of collagen. The skin surrounding this collagen scaffold is rich in elastic fibers. As we age these fibers tend to break down. This brings us to the next major contributor: gravity.earlobes

With fewer elastic fibers supporting it, the skin around your ears and near the tip of your nose succumbs to the effects of gravity and begins to droop and elongate. The nose also has a large number of sebaceous glands on the surface which tend to grow a bit, thereby contributing to its overall size.

Earrings definitely play a role in sagging earlobes. I had an aunt who wore heavy gold earrings all throughout my life and over time I noticed her lobes becoming elongated. There are trends and cultures that encourage lobe stretching, but if you are not looking to do that, you may want to consider wearing lightweight earrings. If you’d like to reverse the effects of over-stretched lobes you can have an in-office procedure with a plastic surgeon to restructure the area.

Preventing Our Nose and Ears from Getting Bigger As We Age

earlobesAs always, prevention is key. I haven’t found anything fool-proof but there are a few things you can try. You can take steps to reduce the collagen and elastin breakdown by wearing hats and sunscreen. I know it can be a pain to carry around a bottle of SPF, but it is an investment in your skin, and now…the shape of your ears and nose.

To prevent your nose and ears from getting bigger, apply retinol cream onto your face (nose included) you can add your ears into the routine. The retinol will help with improving texture and skin firmness, but it will probably not penetrate deeply enough to strengthen the structural fibers. 

Aging can be a tough pill to swallow. There are so many things we forget to mention as we age when passing down generational tidbits. As I learn more, I promise to continue to share these nuggets with you. Please feel free to send me your findings as well!

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