7 Things Every Woman Should Know About Her Areolas

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things women should know about their areola

Middle school was the first year that I ever was faced with my own inhibitions of feminine body consciousness. Our physical education teacher informed us on the first day of school that we would have to dress out (no problem) and then after P.E., all girls were required to take a shower. 

The shower room was a giant space with wall to ceiling tile and shower heads all around. The only problem is that the showers were open. There weren't any curtains or shower doors to shield onlookers from watching. 

The following week, our first disrobe session in the girl's locker room began. We were all awkward teenager girls — some with fully grown breasts and others, like me who just started to experience maturity. 

The one thing that we all did have in common was the desire to cover up our breasts at all costs while disrobing. Hands cupped over nipples and areola, each arm would slip through a shirt held by our teeth. It was a sweet victory if you could change from brassiere to sports bra without a reveal of the circles that made a bull's eye on the center of our breasts.

Back then, I did not have any curiosity or desire to see another woman's boobs. No one dared mention the word breast in public, let alone display their boobs with pride. But now that I'm older, thanks to television, my frequent bouts at the gym, and having to change, once again around other women, it's pretty obvious that no woman's breasts or their unique features are alike.

Perhaps you've noticed the differences in shape and pattern of your own areola. Some women have opted for unique surgical enhancements, and others tattoos to change the shape from circle to heart

But no matter what you do know, there are 7 commonly asked questions about areolas, and all answered here:

1. What is areola pigmentation?


Areola pigmentation is the color of the area surrounding the nipple. The area around the areola isn't always proportioned, and that's is natural. However, some women are born with very light areolas. The color is faint and barely noticeable so they wish to have that coloring enhanced.

For others, the areola color changes over time due to hormonal changes caused by childbirth or a medical condition.

And, for some extreme circumstances, such as breast removal, women want to have the natural appearance of an areola. So, they opt to have areola re-pigmentation surgery to enhance the look of their breasts. 

2. Why are some women's areolas brown and others pink?


It's interesting that women come in different shapes and sizes, and the same is true about the area around the breast.

Areolas come in various shapes and sizes, yet, they are often described as pink or brown. Although it might seem logical to assume that race determines areola color, but that's not always true. African American women and Latino females can have pink areolas, and Anglo females can have brown. What determines areola color is a person's skin pigmentation mixed with hormone fluctuations. 

3. Are areola bumps normal?


The first time you really look at your breasts and example the area around your nipple, you might have thought you had pimples on your chest.

Areola bumps are also called Glands of the Montgomery are sebaceous glands which look like tiny bumps surrounding the nipple area. These glands are there to secrete oily fluid to keep the surrounding skin lubricated. This lubrication protects the sensitive skin around the nipple and helps to prevent the skin from drying out. 

This little natural oil factory is extremely important especially when breastfeeding to prevent the mother from get cracked skin — it's also the reason why moms are told not to wash their breasts with soap while breastfeeding!

4. What does it mean if your areolas are bigger than usual?


Sometimes natural breasts look unnatural when things don't appear perfectly symmetrical. One areola on one breast may seem to have a little more roundness or unique shape to it than the one on your other boob. 

It's completely normal to have one areola a little bigger or smaller than the other. The reason that one size might be different from another is due to the way your body developed in the womb. But don't be surprised if a woman has small areolas, but after pregnancy, they grow in diameter.

The purpose for an areola is to help a baby see where to nurse when with the mother. That's how nature takes care of itself and it's own.

5. Why do my areolas sometimes feels sore?


An intense love making session focused on your breasts may make your areolas feel sore, but this isn't the only reason pain in that area happens. Just before a woman gets her period her body produces certain hormones that cause changes in her breasts that increase the sensitivity of the areola area. But if you're not due for your menses and your areola area feels sore then it's time to consider if other environmental changes are making your boobs uncomfortable. 

Remember, the areola area is made up of glands and sensitive tissue. Constrictive clothing. wearing sports bras with sweat too longer after working out, even a change in a person's body wash, or laundry detergent, can kick up the areola sensitivity and make things very uncomfortable.

6. Why do areolas get darker during and after pregnancy?


A normal breast change is the color of the areola in pregnancy. Melanin is the hormone responsible for making areolas darker during pregnancy. In fact, the darkening of the areola area is an early sign of pregnancy along with breast tenderness. Women with pink nipples may be surprised that their areola area now is a darker shade of pink, even brownish, and wonder if there's something wrong with their body. There's nothing wrong. In fact, those hormonal changes let you know that your body is coming along just as it should. 

Also, the changes caused by the body's production of melanin will reverse after the baby is born letting your body, and areolas go back to normal. However, to try to reduce the amount of melanin that your body makes while pregnant, stay out of the sun. 

7. Can I make my areola smaller?


Some women feel really self-conscious about having smaller breasts with really large areolas and want to find a way to reduce the color naturally. Unfortunately, a lot of the treatments online that promise a natural solution are not likely to be successful. So, if you really can't embrace your body the way it is naturally, there are nipple reduction surgeries or tattoo artists that specialize in areola enhancement. But using bleaches, subliminal message, or any other types of products are not going to change your natural beauty.

The most important thing to remember is that your areola is as unique as you are, and for that reason alone, you should celebrate this wonderful part of your body.