Breasts definitely do come in all shapes and sizes. But just like the rest of your body, your boobs are bound to age, too. While they might not be as (sigh) perky as they once were, your breasts are still going to be beautiful no matter what age you are, as long as you take the proper care of them. And since it’s always good to have a heads-up on how your body will transform over time, you might want to know how breasts change with age.
There’s certainly no escaping the aging process, and that holds true for your breasts, too... which is why your breasts will probably look a whole lot different at various points in your life. “I’ve found over the course of my career that as women age, breasts have a mind of their own,” Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, tells Romper. Much of that has to do with the makeup of breasts themselves, which are frankly more functional than decorative.
“The anatomy of the breasts consists of nerves, lymph vessels, lymph nodes, blood vessels, fatty tissue, ducts where milk exits the body through the nipples, and lobules where breast milk is produced,” Liza Janda, a certified lactation education counselor, tells Romper.
Want to know what’s in store for your girls as they get older? These are six of the ways boobs change through life.
1. They Get Stretch Marks
Blame it on weight gain during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or less elasticity in the skin, and at some point you might start to see stretch marks on your skin. While it might not always be realistic to think that you won’t get them, there are ways to prevent them from popping up. “Keep your weight at proper levels and stay healthy and fit,” advises Dr. Ellenbogen. “A lot of it also has to do with good genes, too.”
2. They Become Flatter
As you age, your estrogen levels continue to decrease. And since estrogen is responsible for the growth of breast tissue, having less of it means that your girls can become elongated and flatter. “There’s really no advice I can give to guarantee your breasts won’t sag,” says Dr. Ellenbogen. But if you thought that a good bra could reverse or slow down the sag, think again. Says Ellenbogen: “Unfortunately, there is no bra that will prevent sagging, either.”
3. There’s A Bigger Gap Between Boobs
Chalk it up to sagging and weight gain (or loss), and you might be looking at more space between your girls than you ever had before. But as the years go by, you might notice that they’re even wider-set than they’ve ever been, AARP reported. This can cause you to get side boobs… and not the sexy kind, either. So look for a bra that can create cleavage — and close the gap.
4. They Go Up And Down In Size
Particularly during pregnancy, you might notice that your breasts get bigger. “In the last trimester of pregnancy, the breasts’ size can increase so dramatically that a woman may be more comfortable wearing a bra for support 24/7,” says Janda. After mothers wean baby from the breast, the breasts may or may not return to the state they were pre-pregnancy. “Depending on how large the breasts grew during lactation, the kind of supportive bra she wore, and sometimes the genetics of the skin and how much stretching she experienced will affect the actual state or appearance of a woman’s breasts,” advises Janda.
5. They Get Lumpy
Since your breasts are made of fatty tissue, your boobs become less glandular and more fatty as you get older. Ironically enough, the fat in your breasts makes them feel less (and not more) firm to the touch. And once you hit the big 4-0, you could lose collagen and the skin could become less elastic, Health.com reported. But if you find a lump that didn’t exist before, you should always contact your OB/GYN to be on the safe side.
6. The Nipples Face Downward
It’s not only the breast itself that goes through a metamorphosis of sorts; it’s the areola and the nipples, too. Some women might find that the areola (the area that surrounds the nipple) becomes smaller. And you might even notice that your nipples actually start pointing downwards or inwards, the U.S. National Library of Medicine reported.
It might seem all doom and gloom when it comes to your aging breasts. But don’t worry; if you think about all that they’ve done for you (and your babies if you’ve breastfed), you’ll rock your rack no matter what age or stage of life you’re in.
Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, plastic surgeon
Liza Janda, a certified lactation education counselor