The Nipple Piercing: Everything You Need to Know

In recent years, nipple piercings have taken the piercing world by storm, exploding in popularity among both men and women.

When it comes to piercings in sensitive areas, there tends to be a sexual stigma surrounding them. While these stigmas aren’t entirely unfounded—many who get their nipples pierced claim that it increases nipple sensitivity, adding to the bedroom fun—it’s not the only reason that people love to get their nipples pierced.

Getting your nipples pierced is a very body positive act. Often, pierced nipples protrude more, ensuring that they go unnoticed in a tight t-shirt. Both men and women who get their nipples pierced for this reason wear their nipple jewelry proudly in order to show that they aren’t afraid of their bodies.

Others who get their nipples pierced simply love the look. Your jewelry doesn’t always have to be showing, and sometimes it’s fun to have a more exotic piercing that only you know that you have.

Whatever your reason for getting your nipple pierced, you’ll have to be prepared for a long aftercare journey. The nipple is not an easy piercing to heal, and you must take care of your piercing for the duration of its healing time, which could be up to a year.

Here’s everything you need to know about the nipple piercing.

How much does the nipple piercing hurt?

It might not be too difficult to guess that this is going to be a painful piercing. Many report that it’s not as painful as they expected, but you’re going to feel some pain. The nipples are an incredibly sensitive area of the body. Sticking a needle through them will hurt.

With the nipple piercing especially, you want to find a piercer that you trust and are comfortable with. Often, you must make an appointment to get your nipple pierced because they will reserve a private area for you. Don’t be afraid to specify if the gender of your piercer is important to you, and if you’re nervous, stop by to chat with your piercer before the procedure to help ease your mind.

Nipple piercing healing process

The nipple takes its time to heal. Expect healing to take around 12 months. It can take as little as 9 months, but the interior of your piercing will heal after the exterior, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re eager to be done with aftercare, you can talk to your piercer after 9 months to see if your piercing has fully healed.

Aftercare rules

Your nipple is not a place that you want to get an infection. Since it will sit beneath your clothing most of the time, it will come into contact with foreign microbes that could cause infection. In addition, its location makes it susceptible to snagging, which is incredibly painful.

The nipple piercing is great, but its healing isn’t easy. Here are some tips to make your time easier.

Conduct saline soaks and sprays. You want to make sure that your nipple piercing stays clean and free from infection. In most piercings, you want to keep clothing and other foreign objects away from the piercing. Since the nipples sit beneath your clothing, you won’t be able to offer the same protection to your nipple piercings. Instead, conduct both saline sprays and soaks throughout the day. To conduct a saline soak, fill a small cup or shot glass with saline solution, dip your nipple into the solution, and suction cup the shot glass to your chest or breast. Let it sit for 2 - 3 minutes before carefully removing the cup and patting the area around the jewelry dry. In between soaks, make sure that you take time to quickly spray your nipple for spot cleans throughout the day.

No nipple play. This rule will be especially difficult if you got your piercing with the intention of spicing things up in the bedroom. Unfortunately, you must wait until the piercing has fully healed. Not only do hands and mouths contain bacteria that could cause infection, moving the jewelry can cause trauma to the healing skin that could lead to scarring or jewelry rejection. Play it safe and leave the ladies alone until your piercer says you’re fully healed.

Wear tight shirts or cotton bras during healing. Jewelry snagging can be a major issue with nipple piercings. Not only are jewelry snags painful, they can cause enough trauma to the skin to cause jewelry rejection, so a bad snare could mean the end of your piercing. Women can wear a cotton bra or sports bra to keep their jewelry safe, and men or women who prefer to go braless should wear a tight t-shirt beneath their clothing for the same result.

Choose the right starter jewelry. Fleshier areas, like the nipples, are more susceptible to jewelry rejection. Much of jewelry rejection can be avoided by choosing the right starter jewelry. You should choose high quality metals, like 14k gold or titanium, for jewelry. Anything with cheaper alloys can cause skin irritation. Additionally, you want to choose jewelry that’s lightweight and won’t tug at the piercing holes while remaining large enough to accommodate swelling during healing.

You’ll see some excretion. Don’t be too alarmed. Every piercing excretes some fluid during healing, but the nipple tends to be a little more oozy. If the excretion is clear or creamy white, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. If it starts to turn bright white, yellow, or green, it could be a sign of infection. Always play it safe; when it doubt, talk to a professional.

Nipple jewelry styles

Once you’re successfully healed, the fun can begin.

It might not seem like it, but the nipple provides the perfect location for a wide variety of jewelry styles.

The straight barbell is one of the more common choices. Stay simple with a solid 14k gold barbell, or choose one with opal or pearl ends or different charms.

Offering a similar aesthetic as the straight barbell, the curved barbell won’t stick as far out to the sides as a straight barbell. This is a great piece to have when you want your nipple piercings to stay subtle.

All sorts of hoops go well in a nipple piercing. Captive bead rings are wildly popular since the bead makes it easy to change and offers flair beyond the standard hoop. Clickers are also popular for their ease of use and intricate designs.

Nipple shields are where things get super fun. Whether you’re getting crazy in the bedroom or you really want your nipple piercings to pop, these provide an intricate and beautiful addition to any nipple piercing.

Why shouldn’t I get a nipple piercing?

The long healing time makes the nipple piercing one that you really want to think about before getting. You’ll want to consider your plans for the next year and whether the piercing will affect them.

If you’re already pregnant or planning to get pregnant within the next year, then you want to wait on your nipple piercing. You’ll have no problem breastfeeding with healed nipple piercings, but you can’t breastfeed with nipple piercings that are in the midst of the healing process; the milk can get stuck in the piercing holes and cause infection, not to mention the fact that you can’t breastfeed with jewelry in your nipple.

Women should wait until they’re between menstrual cycles before getting their nipples pierced. It’s a painful piercing already without the added discomfort of sensitive breasts.

If you’re planning a beach vacation in the next year, think about waiting. While the piercing is healing, you won’t be able to swim, and you’ll need to stay away from sandy areas, lest sand gets in your healing piercing. Although your new nipple piercing won’t keep you from your vacation, it could put a cramp on your plans.

How much will it cost?

The nipple piercing will cost somewhere around $20 - $50, not including the jewelry. Since it’s such an intimate procedure, you want to vet your piercer carefully. Make sure that they’re someone that you can be comfortable with who will approach the procedure professionally and kindly.

Don’t skimp on the jewelry. Make sure that you buy high quality starter pieces so that your body doesn’t reject them. If price is an issue, you can always get one piercing at a time.

Nipple piercing variations

The nipple piercing is pretty straightforward. There’s not much else that you can do besides piercing it right down the middle. However, if a horizontal piercing is too mainstream for you, you have a couple of options.

The vertical nipple piercing pierces the nipple up and down rather than sideways. Can you guess what the diagonal nipple piercing looks like?