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March 26, 2016
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1 Introduction



In human anatomy|anatomy, the term areola (diminutive of Latin area, "open place") is used to describe any small circular area such as the colored skin surrounding the nipple. While it is most commonly used to describe the pigmented ring around the human nipple, it can also be used to describe other small circular areas such as the inflamed area surrounding a pimple.

There is a reason for the areola being a different color to the rest of the breast. The areola is roughly where the duct|ducts of the Mammary gland|mammary glands are. Careful inspection of a mature human nipple will reveal 15-20 small openings arranged radially around the tip of nipple (lactiferous duct|lactiferous ducts) from where milk is released during lactation. Other small openings in the areola are sebaceous glands which may provide a little oily lubrication during lactation, otherwise known as glands of Montgomery|Montgomery's glands (or glands of Montgomery).

Normal areola color ranges from light pink to dark brown with people with lighter skin tones tending to have paler areolas and people with darker skin tones to have darker areolas (though there can be considerable variation even for the same skin color); the size (diameter) also varies. Areolar color changes to a darker shade during pregnancy. Some regression to the original color may occur thereafter but part of the change is permanent.

In Japan, where many women view dark areolas as a sign of aging, topical creams have been developed for the purpose of lightening (or "pinkening") the nipples.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "areola".

Last Modified:   2005-12-19

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