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Nipple Piercing 101: The Ultimate Guide

Posted by Jessy L. on 18th May 2024

Nipple Piercing 101: The Ultimate Guide

Nipple Piercing 101: The Ultimate Guide

You've heard the cliché, "Body piercings are ugly and will ruin your chances of getting hired!" However, body piercings are becoming more accepted in professional workplaces.

Most jobs are willing to hire pierced employees if it means having good workers. As for how ugly piercings are, that's a matter of subjectivity.

Besides, nipple piercings work a little differently. It's not like many people will see them -- provided you're willing to put in a little work.

Getting a new piercing requires effort and learning the basics, no matter where it is on your body. You should know about the procedure and aftercare.

Whether you hide your nipple piercings is up to you. But we've got you covered there too.

Below is an extensive guide to everything you need to know about nipple piercing. We're here to make your experience as smooth as possible.

What Is Nipple Piercing?

What nipple piercing is, sounds self-explanatory, but it's more complicated than "A piercing in the nipple." Specifically, it's a type of piercing through the base of the nipple itself.

These piercings are often placed horizontally but can be positioned according to client preference. The piercing is placed as close to the areola as possible because the nipples retract.

The areola is the colored patch of skin surrounding the nipples. You can have more than one piercing in each nipple. The jewelry is typically a barbell or captive bead ring.

A barbell is a short bar with little balls on either end. Captive bead rings are rings with little balls on the bottom. These are often the "starter jewelry" people use when first getting pierced.

Once the piercing has healed, the initial jewelry can be swapped with something else. For example, barbells with extra decor around the nipple, or captive bead rings with more elaborate beads.

Why Do People Get Nipple Piercings?

There are various reasons people get nipple piercings. One is because they want to demonstrate they aren't afraid of their bodies.

Piercing is seen as an act of body positivity. What better way to express body positivity than to decorate a body part seen as intimate -- and even vulgar -- by many? At least, that's how many who get these piercings feel.

Speaking of intimate and vulgar, "private" body piercings are seen as inherently sexual. As such, they're often stigmatized. Many report more sensitive nipples after piercing, which can make for more bedroom fun.

But, as we said, many opt for nipple piercings because they're proud of their bodies. Others have even simpler reasons -- they like the way having pierced nipples looks.

Of course, it doesn't matter why you want your nipples pierced. All that matters is you understand the procedure and aftercare.

What to Consider Before a Nipple Piercing?

Before we dive into getting your new piercings, let's discuss what you should consider before the process. Nipple piercing isn't the most dangerous thing you could do, but like any body modification, it has risks.

Illnesses and Medications

Certain medications and health complications can make getting pierced more risky. For example, people with diabetes can heal slower than others.

To specify, diabetics can get piercings. But, they need healthy blood sugar levels before doing it. Blood thinners like Warfarin can make getting pierced a serious risk because the blood may not clot.

Potential Breastfeeding Risks

Expectant mothers should also wait to get a nipple piercing if they plan to breastfeed. Scar tissue around the piercing can block milk ducts.

Milk may have difficulty coming out if a piercing damages the nerves in the nipples. Nipple jewelry can get in the baby's way too. It may be harder for your child to latch on.

Piercings can even be choking hazards. Babies can accidentally swallow a loose barbell or ring. There is an increased risk of mastitis via piercing infection.

Most reputable piercing parlors won't knowingly pierce a lactating client for these reasons. Breastfeeding is possible with nipple piercings. However, it's best to wait a few months after breastfeeding.

Infection and Tearing

Abscesses and infections are also piercing concerns. An abscess is a painful, pustulous lump under or in the breast. You'll need a doctor to treat it.

Nipple piercings are more likely to become infected. Nipples are connected to milk ducts, which make easy openings for germs and viruses. But milk ducts aside, nipples are sensitive tissue, making for easy infection.

Nipples can tear too. If you get the jewelry caught on something, it may tear the skin and require stitches.

Allergic Reactions

Some people have allergic contact dermatitis -- an elaborate way of saying they're allergic to piercings. Many nipple-piercing recipients suffer inflamed, reddened, and sore skin after contact with the metal in the piercing.

Itching is another common sign of infection. The inflamed skin may push the jewelry out of your skin if enough wasn't pierced.

The reaction typically happens 24 to 48 hours after the piercing. Know that you may need to remove the jewelry if you're having an allergic reaction.

Common allergens include nickel, brass, sterling silver, and plated metals. Implant-grade titanium is hypoallergenic, so it's a good option for piercings. Here are a few other great choices for nipple piercings:

  • 14 karat gold
  • 18 karat gold
  • Surgical stainless steel
  • Platinum
  • Niobium

Generally, choosing high-quality jewelry can mitigate contact dermatitis. Barbells and rings aren't the only things that can cause allergic reactions.

Bandaid adhesives and antiseptics can cause allergic reactions too. The piercing gun may contain nickel, which could also cause an allergic flare-up.

Piercing Migration

A nipple piercing can sometimes migrate from its original spot into a new one. This happens because your body sees the piercing as alien and seeks to remove it, the resulting attempt causes displacement.

Piercing migration is also called piercing rejection -- as in your body is rejecting the jewelry. Migration happens slowly and can be hard to spot from the front of a piercing.

We'll give you a few signs to catch it if you get pierced. Firstly, consider having a family member or friend have a look. They may be able to spot what you can't. As for signs of migration, look out for:

  • Consistent soreness or sensitivity
    • You should feel more discomfort than outright soreness
  • Thinning skin around the jewelry
  • Loosely hanging jewelry
  • Piercing holes appear larger
  • Crooked entry and exit holes

What to Do Before and During a Nipple Piercing?

Ok, let's say you've considered all our earlier points and what to get your nipples pierced anyway. Fair enough, but what do you do leading up to getting your nipples pierced?

Choosing the Right Piercing Shop

The first thing you do is choose a reputable piercing parlor. All your considerations are pointless if the people piercing you aren't good at their jobs.

Look up several parlors and research them. Visit their websites and read reviews. Some websites may have reviews, but you can use sites like Google Reviews if you're leery of onsite reviews.

Ask people if they've used your would-be piercer and how the experience was. Visit the studio to see if it -- and their tools -- are clean.

Unsanitized equipment can lead to infections and blood-borne diseases like Tetanus, hepatitis B or A, and HIV. Don't be afraid to call or visit to ask questions about the piercing.

Check if the establishment is licensed. Licensing is a sign they're legally able to perform piercings. It implies they're responsible and will do a good job.

Start Your Piercing off Right

The better you care for your body, the better your piercing and aftercare will go. Sleep and eat well before the appointment. Stay hydrated the night before and on the day of your piercing. Coffee and soda don't count.

It'll help if you have a nutritious snack within two hours of the appointment. The snack will help stabilize your blood sugar and prevent dizziness and lightheadedness during the piercing.

Don't get your new piercing if you're sick or stressed. This will make for a miserable experience and inhibit healing afterward.

Go to your appointment clean and non-drug or alcohol affected. Not only is doing the opposite a bad way to handle your affairs, but it will make the piercing more hazardous.

Unclean skin can lead to infection. Drugs and alcohol can thin your blood and can cause too much bleeding. Wear clean, comfortable clothes to the parlor -- your top will come off for the nipple piercing.

If your piercer makes inappropriate comments or gestures while undressing, feel free to leave. Don't tolerate someone making you uncomfortable. You should be able to trust your piercer.

You can arrange for a friend to go with you -- many piercers allow this. But don't choose someone prone to panic. Pick someone supportive. Most importantly, believe in the best outcome and relax.

What to Expect When Getting a New Piercing

Nipple piercings hurt, but you probably expected that. How much it hurts varies between people and your piercer's skill. If you choose well, the procedure won't hurt as much as you may think.

However, pain is unavoidable. Nipples are sensitive, so sticking a sharp needle through them will hurt. The initial piercing pain will last a few seconds.

Afterward, there may be some sensitivity and discomfort for a few days. It shouldn't be unbearable, though. Sometimes the piercing will bleed immediately once applied.

Other times, you may not experience bleeding until a few days into being pierced. You may even bleed for a few days. It may seem scary, but it's common due to the sensitivity of nipple skin.

Choose bras and shirts you don't care will stain during the first few days. However, if you're still bleeding weeks or months after the initial piercing, talk to your piercer. It could be symptomatic of a larger issue.

Nipple piercings tend to get "crusty." This is from discharge, like plasma and blood. The crust can be itchy and may make your nipples appear unsightly.

Do not pick at them. We'll teach you how to handle them in our aftercare section.

A reputable piercing parlor will do everything to make you feel comfortable. Part of why you make appointments for nipple piercings is so they can reserve a private spot for you.

Let your piercer know if you feel nervous or uncomfortable during the procedure. They'll accommodate you to make the process easier.

How Long Do Nipple Piercings Take To Heal?

How long it takes to heal depends on the types of piercings you get. For example, ear piercings can take between six weeks to a year. Earlobe piercings take six to eight weeks.

Cartilage piercings can take four months to a year. Nipple piercings can take between four months and a year to heal.

Men and women generally take around the same time to heal. But men's piercings are placed slightly through the areola because they usually have smaller nipples and little tissue.

The slightly different placement is so their piercings heal better. Nipple piercings are deceptive in that they look healed externally, but haven't fully healed on the inside.

This tends to cause people to stop their aftercare regimens. They think they're healed but aren't, which often leads to complications. People will change their jewelry and end up damaging the still-healing internal skin.

Removing and exchanging piercings is the usual culprit behind nipple piercing bumps. The trauma from disrupting the unhealed skin appears as little lumps around the piercing site.

It's your body's response to the injury. Yes, changing your jewelry too soon after piercing counts as an injury, or at least your body thinks so.

You shouldn't change jewelry until at least three to six months after getting your new piercing. It's best to get a piercer's opinion on when it's best to switch out jewelry.

Nipple Piercing Aftercare

Piercing care for nipple jewelry isn't much different from any other type of piercing. The first thing to do is wash your hands anytime you plan to touch the piercing. Dirty hands can introduce infectious microbes.

Clean the piercing two to three times daily with a saline aftercare spray or saline-soaked cotton ball. Don't forget to clear away crusted-over blood and plasma from around the piercings.

Allow the saline to soften these crusty spots, then gently wipe them away. Once done, reapply more saline then pat the area dry.

Your saline (salt and water) solution should be the only thing used to clean the piercing. Do not use a saline solution with additives. It's common to add essential oils. Some people will suggest tea tree oil.

Do not use either of these. Healing skin is sensitive -- especially nipple skin -- as the chemical additives can burn the skin and cause piercing bumps. Don't use drying products as they can irritate the skin, these include:

  • Harsh soaps
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Antibacterial soaps
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Iodine
  • Soaps with dyes, fragrances, or triclosan

Infection: What to Look Out For

We cannot stress this enough -- watch out for signs of infection. Here are the symptoms that'll tell you your new piercing is infected:

  • Pain
    • Your nipples are hot, sensitive, or painful -- especially to touch
  • Discharge
    • There is pus, yellow, green, or brown discharge
    • The piercing site smells bad
  • Swelling
    • The piercing site is swollen
  • Redness
    • The skin around the piercing is red, purple, or darkened
  • Itching
    • Or you have a rash
  • Feverishness
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue

If you're unsure something is wrong or feel off, don't hesitate to consult a doctor or reputable piercer. While we're on the subject of infection, remember to keep your nipples out of water.

You should avoid bathtubs and pools altogether. But if, for some reason, you can't avoid taking a bath, keep your nipples high and unsubmerged. Tubs and pools are often breeding grounds for bacteria.

Keloids: What Are They?

A keloid is a thick, raised scar. They often occur from surgical (or other types) cuts. Acne and chickenpox blemishes, burns, piercings, and other types of injections or injuries cause keloids as well.

Keloids are non-cancerous growths and are only removable with surgery, though they can grow back. Keloids can even appear on uninjured skin, although this is rare. These are called spontaneous keloids.

Part of the dermatological diagnosis involves checking your (and your family's) medical history. Your dermatologist may do a skin biopsy to rule out other issues

One-third of people who get keloids have a family history of these benign growths. Being of African, Asian, or Hispanic descent can increase your chances of keloidal growth.

Most people who grow these scars notice them from around ten to 30 years old. All this matters because keloids are often misdiagnosed. Get a second opinion if you don't have a family history of keloids or have never had them.

Piercing Care: What Not to Do

The first thing not to do is nipple play. It's your prerogative if you get pierced for bedroom play. However, you won't get much mileage until your piercings are fully healed.

Hands and mouths contain harmful bacteria and moving the jewelry can cause piercing bumps and migration. Simply fiddling with the piercings can lead to the same. Don't move the jewelry until a piercer says you can.

The second thing you shouldn't do is wear tight shirts -- at least not casually. Opt for loose cotton wear so the piercing can breathe. Tight clothing can lead to bacterial build-up and irritation from rubbing.

The fourth thing to avoid is wearing too loose clothing while sleeping or exercising. We discussed piercing tears earlier in this guide -- loose clothing can lead to painful snags.

Understandably, you don't want torn skin in such a sensitive place. A snag against clothing may also lead to piercing migration. Thick cotton bras, sports bras, and T-shirts will help keep everything in place.

It's important to stick with your aftercare routine. Don't get forgetful or lazy while you're still healing. Avoiding infection is vital to your overall health.

Other Facts About Nipple Piercings

We've mentioned people getting nipple piercings for bedroom fun, but does piercing make nipples more sensitive? Technically, they don't. Your nervous system influences feeling, not the piercing itself.

What happens is the piercing makes nipples stand out more and more pronounced. The difference is you feel them more, not that they're more sensitive.

We mentioned breastfeeding earlier too. We said that it's risky to breastfeed when first pierced, but there's nothing wrong with doing it once you're healed. However, there are still some logistical concerns.

Nipple piercings don't affect milk production, but they may affect flow. The piercings are extra holes milk can come out of and can make feeding harder for your baby. Piercing holes can make latching difficult even once healed.

If you still wish to breastfeed, you'll need to remove your piercing as it's a choking risk. Reinserting the jewelry is unrecommended. But if you do, sterilize it after each feeding.

Hiding nipple piercings isn't as difficult as you might have believed. You can use padded bras, pasties, sweaters, loose clothing, coats, and shirts with logos to hide the jewelry.

Choosing small, easily concealable jewelry is helpful. Barbells are the easiest to hide. Delicate, minimalist designs are also relatively easy to conceal. Although, it may not matter much with fresh piercings.

Your nipples will likely be erect, which will highlight the piercings. Retainers are low-key. A retainer is a clear piece of jewelry that keeps the piercing open while being non-intrusive.

You can't use retainers with a fresh piercing, though. Remember, you can't change your piercing for at least three to six months before getting it.

You Don't Have to Fear Body Piercings

Getting body piercings may seem like a scary and complicated process. Nipple piercings may appear especially extreme. But if you're careful and vigilant, you'll have a great time with your new piercing.

If you want to spice up your life or try something new, shop with Body Pierce Jewelry. We carry high-quality 14-karat gold and surgical-grade stainless steel and titanium pieces.

Express your individuality and shop knowing we've got your back. We offer worldwide shipping and a 90-day warranty.

We also have a 100% happiness guarantee or your money back. Fill out our form if you have any questions or concerns.

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