It’s a fashion that more and more celebrities are getting the hang of.
But now women’s obsession with huge, chunky earrings has helped fuel a new cosmetic surgery procedure – the ‘lobe job’.
Demand for the so-called ‘eartox’ – a procedure in which the lobes are ‘re-plumped’ using injectable fillers – is rapidly increasing across the country, say surgeons.
And it is the growing popularity of giant ‘statement’ earrings that is partly to blame.
The fashion for heavy metal hoops, jewels and gem-encrusted orbs can be seen everywhere from the catwalk to the high street.
But cosmetic surgeons warn that wearing heavy earrings can stretch earlobes out of shape and, in the worst cases, lead to them splitting.
Women have always found their earlobes becoming saggy as their skin loses its elasticity, but weighty jewellery means that women aged only in their 30s and 40s are now experiencing pendulous lobes.
‘The skin on the ears suffers the same fate as the skin on the face as we age,’ said aesthetic doctor Mica Engel, director of the Cosmetica London clinic.
‘Drooping ears are seen as one of ageing’s big giveaways,’ she added. ‘But wearing heavy earrings or having multiple piercings on the lobe speeds up this process.
‘Ears become saggy and lose collagen and elasticity much earlier. We can use filler to add structure and support back into the ear.’
Using a small needle similar to the type used to administer Botox, cosmetic doctors create a ‘bubble’ of filler under the skin of the earlobe to plump it up and make it more rounded.
The procedure takes a few minutes and is relatively pain-free, requiring only the application of a numbing cream immediately beforehand.
‘It needs maybe two or three injections in one sitting, but the results last over a year,’ said Dr Engel. ‘People who have the procedure can wear earrings again almost as soon as they want to.’
Another practitioner of the ‘lobe job’ procedure is Dr Jonquille Chantrey, a lecturer in aesthetic medicine, who has a clinic in Alderley Edge, Cheshire.
She said: ‘It’s becoming an increasingly popular treatment. Ladies who have worn earrings for years are also seeking to improve the appearance of their earlobes so they can wear earrings for longer.
‘These injections help to shorten and plump the earlobe again, restoring a youthful look. It also helps to prevent ears getting so damaged that they split and need surgery.’ Caroline Hill, 42, from Sussex, underwent the procedure after a decade of wearing heavy earrings.
She said: ‘I’ve loved statement earrings for about ten years and my mother used to say “Don’t wear those big earrings every day, give your ears a rest”, but I didn’t listen.
‘I didn’t notice they were stretching and thinned out until recently when I’ve seen how different mine look compared to friends’ ears.’