Nipple Piercing: Healing, Cost, Pain, Jewelry, Risks, Aftercare
Nipple piercings date back to the fourteenth century and had a brief period of popularity and revival in Victorian England. Historians believe that nipple piercing symbolizes erotic and lustful ecstasy.
However, nipple piercings can be quite painful, especially right after the piercing, not to mention when you rub against it or bounce up and down.
Nipple Piercing Pain Scale
Does nipple piercing hurt? On average, a nipple piercing ranks an 8 on a scale of 1-10. Compared to other types of piercings, a nipple piercing will hurt more than getting your ears pierced but will hurt less than a genital piercing.
That being said, nipple-piercing pain varies from person to person. How painful a nipple piercing is will ultimately depend on how sensitive your nipples are.
Nipple Piercing Healing Time
On the faster end, your piercing might be healed in 4 to 6 months. However, it's not uncommon for a nipple piercing to take 1 year or even longer to completely heal.
Generally speaking, nipple piercings take longer to heal than many other body piercings. And it's impossible to know exactly how long the healing process will take until you get a piercing.
When Can I Change My Nipple Piercing?
To avoid infections and other complications, it is best to wait 12 months to change your nipple piercing. You'll need to be patient: nipple piercings can take 3 to 12 months to heal completely!
Nipple Piercing Cost
How much is a nipple piercing? On average, you can expect to pay $30-$60. That being said, the cost of an industrial piercing will depend on the piercer and the type of jewelry you get.
Remember that paying extra will likely be worth it if you get high-quality jewelry with an experienced, safe piercer. This is because you’re more likely to have a positive experience during and after your appointment as your piercings heal.
Nipple Piercing Jewelry
1. Types of Nipple Piercings
Common types of nipple piercings include straight barbells, horseshoe barbells, captive bead rings, segment rings, and dangles.
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This is one of the most popular types of nipple piercings. The straight barbell origin can be traced back to ancient cultures, where body modification was revered as a powerful form of self-expression and spirituality. From ancient Rome to indigenous tribes, it symbolized strength, balance, and symmetry.
This type of nipple piercing consists of a straight metal rod, typically made of high-quality materials like surgical steel or implant-grade titanium. The barbell features threaded ends that secure the jewelry in place.
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The horseshoe barbell derives its name from its distinctive curved shape, resembling the eponymous footwear. It features two removable balls or decorative ends that secure the jewelry.
Captive Bead Ring (CBR)
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With no specific historical origin, this circular jewelry design offers a timeless appeal. It features a continuous ring made of materials like implant-grade titanium or K gold, with a small opening where a removable bead is held captive between the ends of the ring.
The CBR gets carefully inserted by opening the ring slightly, sliding it through the piercing, and then closing it securely with the bead in place.
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Segment rings comprise multiple segments that fit together seamlessly, forming a complete ring. These rings offer a sleek, modern aesthetic with a smooth, uninterrupted surface.
They come in various materials, such as surgical steel, titanium, or gold, allowing for customization to suit individual preferences.
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These types of nipple piercings typically feature decorative elements like beads, charms, or chains that hang below the nipple jewelry. Dangles offer a playful and flirtatious look, allowing you to express your style with sophistication.
Nipple dangles can be paired with various types of nipple piercings, such as barbells or captive bead rings, to create a stunning and eye-catching combination
2. Nipple Piercing Size
- The standard nipple piercing size is 14 gauge (14G), which translates to a 1.6-mm-thick piercing. 16 gauge (1.2mm) also works.
- The length of the nipple piercing is usually 9/16 inches (14mm) and can range between 3/8 inches (10mm) to 5/8 inches (16mm) long.
- For your first nipple ring, at least 1/2 inch (13mm) in diameter is recommended, and larger may be necessary.
3. Recommended Materials
- Titanium: Implant-grade titanium nipple jewelry is strongly recommended. It is lightweight, nickel-free, and won’t tarnish. It’s often recommended for those who are allergic to brass, nickel, and other metals common for jewelry.
- Precious metals: Platinum and 14-karat gold jewelry can offer an elevated look. However, they may be more pricey and could tarnish over time. Also consider if you have allergies, such as an allergy to gold.
- Surgical-grade stainless steel: If you opt for stainless steel, you should opt for surgical-grade steel. It often contributes to a smooth healing process and is extremely durable.
However, it does contain small amounts of nickel that could cause allergic reactions in those with skin sensitivities. Talk through all material options with your piercer to figure out what’s best for you and your skin.
Can You Breastfeed With a Nipple Piercing?
Some mothers want to know whether breastfeeding will be affected by nipple piercings, and the answer is normally No. A woman's nipple naturally has 8-12 openings which cannot all be blocked by a well-healed piercing.
In some cases, piercing the nipple can damage milk ducts and cause them to break in severe cases. When the milk ducts are damaged, body tissues will repair them with granulation, which may obstruct the milk ducts and compromise their functionality.
In addition, obstructed milk ducts can impede milk flow during breastfeeding and cause milk retention, breast enlargement, or even the formation of lumps.
With proper care, your nipple piercing is likely to heal beautifully with no issues. But sometimes, despite your best efforts, you'll notice problems. The two main ones are a bump on or near the piercing and pus leaking from the piercing.
1. Bumps on Nipple Piercing
In many cases, a bump near the piercing is a sign of an abscess. If you notice a bump, it's a good idea to visit your doctor.
However, if you're hesitant about going, you can also get your piercer's opinion on the bump first. Experienced piercers are familiar with potential complications and should be able to identify a piercing-related abscess.
2. Nipple Piercing Crust
You notice crusting on the edge of the piercing. This can happen for several months, and even some healed piercings form crusts from time to time. As your piercing heals, you should notice the amount of crusting start to decrease.
Cleaning is important, as the crust can grow bacteria. If that bacteria enters the healing piercing, it can lead to infection.
3. Your Piercing Is Leaking Pus
If your piercing is leaking pus, you'll see fluid that looks different from the clear to the slightly yellow lymphatic fluid that comes out of nearly every new piercing. Pus is thick and usually looks yellow, green, or brown. In most cases, it has an unpleasant odor.
4. Nipple Piercing Infection
If you notice either one of these signs, you might be developing an infection. Infections in your nipple can quickly become systemic and cause serious issues. Make sure you see a doctor sooner rather than later.
Nipple Piercing Aftercare
If you want to make sure your piercing heals fast so you can try out new jewelry, the best way to increase the odds of that happening is to take good care of your nipple piercing. Here are some general guidelines to follow:
- Get a sea salt spray and apply it three times per day. Salt is a natural antiseptic that can reduce your risk of infection.
- In the first few months, soak the piercing in sea salt twice a day. You can make a sea salt solution by dissolving 1/4 tsp salt in a cup of warm water.
- Protect the piercing so it doesn't snag on anything (women can wear a sports bra while sleeping, and men can wear a thick cotton undershirt).
- Avoid touching the piercing as much as you can. This can introduce bacteria and cause an infection.
- Avoid using lotion and soap on the area, as the chemicals may irritate the piercing.
- Eat a balanced diet and get plenty of rest, as that can speed up the healing process.
How to Clean Nipple Piercing?
- Wash your hands.
- Remove the piercing.
- Soak something like a cotton ball in the saltwater solution. Your piercer may give you a saline solution, or, you can make your own at home by dissolving ¼ teaspoon of sea salt into 1 cup of warm water. If needed, soak it in a sea salt solution for five minutes.
- Then, you’ll apply it to the piercing to saturate the area. If needed, you can use a dampened cotton swab to gently brush away any crust.
- Pat the area dry using a paper towel or low-ply cloth that won’t snag.
- Dry it with a cloth or paper towel.
- Do not apply Neosporin or use bottle cleaners like hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or Bactine.
You'll want to clean your piercing two to three times per day for the first few months, while it's healing. Alternatively, you can clean it with a gentle unscented soap and clean water.
To keep it clean and free from irritation during this time, make sure to wear breathable, loose-fitting tops.
In the End
Even if your aftercare is perfect, you may find that your piercing takes a while to heal. Some people's bodies just take longer when it comes to healing. Do your best to be patient, and you'll be enjoying your new jewelry soon!