A common problem for those who wear earrings is the gradual enlargement of the earring hole due to the repeated downward pull on the hole. In some people the earring will pull completely through creating a cleft in the earlobe. The traditional treatment for this has been a surgical repair, removing the skin at the edges of the hole and suturing the edges together. Now a non-surgical approach has been described for people who have an enlarged hole, but not for people who have a cleft in the earlobe.
In the March 2009 issue of the journal "Dermatologic Surgery" there is an article reporting the use of 90% trichloroacetic acid to treat this problem. Trichloroacetic acid is a caustic that destroys cell proteins causing local inflammation and crust formation, followed by local scar formation. This may be accompanied by mild to moderate local pain and inflammation in the area. Temporary local swelling and redness occur. There may also be a temporary increase in pigmentation in the treated area. The number of treatments required varied from 2 to 6, and the minimal interval between treatments was 2 days. This technique was used on 32 women of varying ages, and all were reported to be satisfied with the results.This concentration of trichloroacetic acid has been used previously in the treatment of acne scarring, but its use in ear lobe repair appears to represent a significant advance in the treatment of enlarged earring holes.