Nipple piercings have taken the world by storm with their recent popularity thanks to celebrities such as Kendall Jenner, Rihanna, Bella Hadid, Dave Navarro, and even Lenny Kravitz.
If you’ve been inspired to get your nipples pierced, read our guide to the process and proper aftercare.
Do I Get Them Pierced at the Same Time or Separately?
Some people decide only to pierce one nipple. However, if you want the symmetrical look, you may wonder whether you pierce them both in one session or get them done separately.
While the decision is ultimately up to you, there are advantages to getting them both done in one session. When you decide to pierce them both, you will only have to deal with one piercing and one healing session. Another advantage of getting them done in a single studio visit is that it may be easier to get them symmetrical.
A reason to get them done separately is if you want to have one nipple available for play.
A Note on Scheduling Your Piercing Appointment
For menstruating people, if your breasts get sensitive during your period, you may want to avoid getting pierced during this time.
Can You Pierce Inverted Nipples?
Yes! In fact, in some cases, nipple piercings can actually fix this. When you’re pierced, it creates a tube of scar tissue in your nipple. This scar tissue keeps the nipple out and would even if you removed the jewelry.
Can You Have More Than One Piercing Per Nipple?
Yes! However, a nipple can only be pierced once per session. Once you’ve successfully healed one piercing, you can get a second one.
That being said, few nipples are large enough for more than two piercings.
When people get two piercings per nipple, they’re arranged in one of the following ways:
- two vertically
- two horizontally
- in the shape of an X
Nipple Piercing Placement & Jewelry
While other piercings are anatomy-dependent, virtually all pliable adult nipples can be pierced. You also don’t have to worry about having nipples that are too flat—those can be pierced too!
When you get your nipples pierced, you will need to decide on a position: horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. However, piercer and author of The Piercing Bible, Elayne Angel, states, “nipple piercing works best when placed in your tissue’s natural creases.”
Rings or Barbells?
Rings used to be the standard initial jewelry for nipple piercings. However, 14 or 12-gauge straight barbells are the only jewelry you should use in fresh nipple piercings. When you’re first pierced, the jewelry will be longer to account for swelling.
As time passed, professional piercers realized that rings had more potential for catching on clothes or towels. Additionally, bras and chest binders could put too much pressure on the fresh piercing and cause healing complications.
Once fully healed, you can downsize for a shorter barbell or even switch to a ring, clicker, or nipple shield.
How to Prepare for Nipple Piercing Pain
The pain from a nipple piercing is very minimal. If done properly, it should only last a split second. Most people refer to it as a sharp pinch. By the time you feel the actual piercing, it should be over and done with.
Since it’s such a fast/quick sensation, there really isn’t anything you can do to minimize it. Just make sure you find a professional piercer you trust and enjoy the ride. Some of life’s greatest joys and memories come from doing and accomplishing things that we are scared of—it makes you feel so alive afterward!
Nipple Piercing Process
The two most important parts of getting a piercing are the piercer and the jewelry. It is important that you go to a reputable piercing shop where a piercer has experience with this piercing. Most shops have a portfolio and will talk to you about the procedure before starting. They will be able to advise you on which jewelry to select to begin with. Getting high-quality jewelry will help the healing process and make for a better piercing experience.
Once your jewelry is picked out, and you’ve signed all necessary paperwork, you’ll be moved to a private studio room. The jewelry is sterilized with an autoclave, and your piercer will clean your nipples with either alcohol or surgical scrub. Then, the piercer will mark your nipple(s).
One thing to remember is that you should have erect nipples when your piercer marks you. This is because your nipples twist when they become erect, which can make your piercing look crooked if it is marked improperly.
Once you agree on the placement, your piercer will clamp the nipple (some piercers don’t use clamps for this piercing—it goes by preference) and then insert the needle. Once the needle is through, the jewelry will be inserted immediately after.
Tandem Nipple Piercing
Some studios have the option to get each nipple pierced in tandem. In other words, two separate piercers will each pierce one nipple in synchronization.
Nipple Piercing Healing & Aftercare
Nipple piercings take quite a long time to heal, and the healing time varies from person to person. On average, it can take between 4 to 6 months for a nipple piercing to heal. However, it can take as long as 9 to 12 months.
It is crucial to keep the piercing clean and comfortable during the healing process. In the first few weeks, you may want to wear a loose-fitting cotton shirt, which allows the piercing to breathe better.
You’ll also want to clean your piercing two to three times a day with saline piercing aftercare spray, such as the one NeilMed makes.
What Not to Do
When healing a nipple piercing, you don’t want to touch the jewelry at any point. You should also avoid letting someone else touch your piercing. This helps prevent the spread of bacteria from your or someone else’s hands. If you do have to touch your piercing, you need to wash your hands with antibacterial soap beforehand.
Do not attempt to clean your piercing with bottle cleaners like Bactine, rubbing alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide. You also want to avoid putting any Neosporin on it. These are too harsh for your nipple piercing as it heals.
You also do not need to rotate or spin the jewelry for any reason. The goal is to make the jewelry as stationary as possible during the healing period. Every time the piercing is moved, the healing barrier starts to break. This is similar to picking a scab; when you pick a scab, it reopens the wound, takes longer to heal, builds more scar tissue, and introduces bacteria into the healing wound.
Do not go into any public bodies of water, including swimming pools, the ocean, hot tubs, etc. This could also possibly introduce bacteria or detritus into the piercing, and slow down the healing process/cause an infection.
If something seems “off” with your piercing, you should never try to fix it yourself. Instead, make a trip to your local piercing spot and consult with a professional piercer.
Do Nipple Piercings Make the Nipple More Sensitive?
Nipple piercings are exquisite because of their placement. The nervous system is what causes the nipples to become sensitive.
A nipple piercing doesn’t make the nipple more sensitive per se; it makes them more pronounced. This makes them stick out, making you more aware of them, which can be enough to make a difference in feeling.
To learn more about this, check out our blog post answering the question.How Much Does a Nipple Piercing Generally Cost? The cost of a nipple piercing will vary widely depending on the shop you go to get it done. You’ll probably spend around $45 to $55 per nipple on the low end. On the high end, you’ll probably spend anywhere from $80 to $100. Most high-end ships will usually charge around $55 per nipple, not including the cost of jewelry.
Can You Breastfeed with Nipple Piercings?
The topic of whether or not you can breastfeed with nipple piercings is a tricky one. Technically, a nipple piercing wouldn’t interfere with lactation. The nipple has up to 20 milk ducts, so a standard gauge nipple piercing wouldn’t be able to block them all.
However, leaving your jewelry out while breastfeeding is the safest choice for your infant. This will prevent any choking hazards that could occur should your jewelry become loose at any moment. It also helps reduce any chances of other nursing problems, like issues with your child latching or damage to the soft tissue at the roof of your baby’s mouth.
It’s important to note that should you remove your jewelry, there is a strong likelihood that your piercings will shrink or close by the time you’ve finished weaning your baby. Should you need to get them repierced, it’s best to wait at least three months after you’ve stopped breastfeeding completely.
How Do You Know If Your Nipple Piercing Is Being Rejected?
The best way to know if your nipple piercing is starting to reject is to go see your local professional piercer and let them take a look. If you don’t have access to a reputable shop in your area, then the signs should be pretty obvious. First, can you see the bar through the middle of the piercing? If yes, then take it out. Is there a lot more bar showing than when you first got it pierced? If yes, then it could be rejecting, or maybe it just migrated slightly. Is the nipple swelling over the ends of the barbell? If yes, then this might not be a rejection issue. Instead, this is caused by your jewelry being too short.