Nipple Piercing 101: Everything You Need To Know But Are Afraid to Ask
(Please Note: This post contains explicit images and content which may not be suitable for anyone under 18. Read on at your discretion!)
Today, we’re talking about nipple piercing! With origins that date back to the 14th century, nipple piercing has a long and storied background. With Victorian women, the BDSM subculture and the modern primitive movement all latching on to this intimate piercing trend, this is a piercing that’s socially evolved into the uber popular trend it is today!
In recent months, this piercing has rocketed in popularity, threatening to overtake perennial favourites such as navel, eyebrow and tragus piercings. In fact, here at Blue Banana, we performed 14. nipple piercings in just 3 months! With celebrities such as Kendall Jenner, Dave Navarro, Rihanna, Bella Hadid and Katy Perry all sporting pierced nipples, it’s safe to say that this piercing has found its way into the mainstream. A perfect blend of edgy coolness and devilish daring, this piercing is the ideal option for anyone looking to add a little frisson of naughtiness to their look.
Whether you’re a piercing veteran or a noob to the world of body mods, you’re bound to have a few questions about what nipple piercings entail. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of the most common questions we get asked, so that you can go forth and get pierced armed with plenty of knowledge!
Just how many nipples does Bart have? scratches head
NIPPLE PIERCING FAQ’S
Q: Are nipple piercings painful?
A: Ok, let’s be upfront about this, ALL PIERCINGS HURT! Whilst it’s commonly referred to as being one of the more painful forms of body modifications, most customers report that on a pain scale, nipple piercings come in at around a 7 or 8. Many recipients state that they felt a brief, sharp pain when the needle went in, followed by a stinging sensation that was merely a little uncomfortable after a few minutes. Overall, not too unbearable! It’s essential to remember pain is an extremely subjective sensation, so your personal experience may differ from that of a friend or family member who’s had the same piercing.
Q: If it’s going to hurt, can I have a numbing spray/cream applied?
A: At Blue Banana, we do not use any form of numbing aid prior to performing a piercing. This is not because we’re sick masochists who like to inflict pain, but because numbing agents can pose several issues, such as:
- Possible allergic reactions
- Potentially prolonged healing time
If you’re particularly nervous about the pain of your piercing, we advise that you speak to your piercer about it. They’re not scary people, they’ll simply talk you through the process and do their best to help you to relax beforehand!
Before you get pierced, we strongly advise against drinking alcohol, excessively consuming highly caffeinated energy drinks (I.e. More than 4 in a 4 hour time period) or taking aspirin to try to lessen the extent the forthcoming pain, as they can thin the blood, potentially causing you to bleed more and for longer, as the body can struggle to clot if the blood is too thin.
Q: Will I experience an increase/reduction in sensitivity once I’ve had my nipple pierced?
A: Many people report a significant increase in sensitivity following a nipple piercing, though the evidence for this is anecdotal at best. Conversely, a reduced level of sensitivity is extremely rare, so put your minds at rest! Should you experience any kind of numbness following the immediate aftermath of the piercing, then we recommend popping back to speak to your piercer directly and getting them to examine the area.
Q: How old do you have to be to have your nipples pierced?
A: The age of consent for nipple piercings differs, dependent on your sex. For male nipple piercings, you must be aged 1. or over and for female nipple piercings, you must be aged over 18, due to the differing rates of development between the sexes and the anatomical functions of the female nipple in comparison to the male nipple. Performing a piercing of an intimate nature on a female aged under 1. can also be considered a prosecutable offence (Indecent assault) under UK law. At Blue Banana, we will not perform this piercing on anyone under this age, on moral and ethical grounds.
Q: How much do nipple piercings cost?
A: At Blue Banana, nipple piercings cost:
- 25-30 for a single nipple piercing
- 40-45 for a pair of nipple piercings
Q: How long do nipple piercings take to heal?
A: On average, nipple piercings take 9-1. months to heal completely (3-6 months for men and 6-1. months for women). Hormonal fluctuations (I.e. During menstruation) can cause some pain or irritation to a fresh or healing nipple piercing, thereby prolonging the healing time slightly. Smoking can also hinder healing, as it has a systematic effect that retards the body’s natural ability to heal.
Q: I have inverted nipples, can I still get them pierced?
A: Absolutely! In fact, many people get their inverted nipples pierced to help with the ‘invertedness’, as the piercing and jewellery can help to bring the nipple forward to a more prominent position. We recommend discussing this fully with your piercer before you bite the bullet and get pierced, just so you’re fully aware of what to expect.
Q: Can I still breastfeed with a nipple piercing?
A: Contrary to the many rumours and old wives tales you’re sure to have heard, nipple piercings should not affect your ability to successfully breastfeed! It’s worth pointing out that in some cases, the piercing may lead to blocked milk ducts or a reduced milk flow, which can make feeding harder. In the interests of safety, you will need to remove any jewellery from the area whilst you’re nursing, as the jewellery poses a choking hazard and can make it hard for the infant to successfully latch on to the breast. Many breastfeeding mothers opt to wear barbell style jewellery (As it’s easier to remove and insert than a BCR) made from flexible materials (Such as PTFE) during this period.
Q: Will people be able to see my nipple piercing through my clothes?
A: Only if you want them to! If you wear particularly form fitting clothing, thin bras or are a little cold, your piercing is likely to be pretty visible. However, if you wear a thicker bra, a heavier fabric or layers, you’d probably struggle to see it!
Q: What kind of jewellery can you initially have in your nipple piercing?
A: You can have either a barbell or a BCR inserted at the time of piercing. Once you’ve healed, you can then experiment with different styles, colours and finishes! (Bejewelled nipple shields anyone?) If your piercing’s fully healed and you’re looking for a little something to switch up your style, then check out our full range of nipple jewellery to find your perfect new look!
Q: What should I do if my jewellery is too short/long? Can I change it straight away, or do I have to wait?
A: Firstly, you should wait until your piercing has fully healed before changing your jewellery. This is a precautionary step to prevent you from damaging, irritating or introducing an infection into your piercing. However, if your jewellery is too short (Becoming embedded in your skin) or too long (Catching on clothing), you should visit your piercer immediately, so they can insert jewellery that’s a better fit for you.
Q: How do I clean and care for my nipple piercing?
A: As with any piercing, it’s essential to keep your nipple piercing clean, dry and free from infection. In terms of how to clean your piercing effectively, here’s a step-by-step guide that’s sure to keep your piercing in tip top condition (If followed correctly):
- Using hot water and antibacterial soap, wash your hands thoroughly, then dry them with a non-fibrous paper towel before you touch your piercing.
- Next, make a salt water solution using rock salt and pre-boiled, slightly cooled water (1 part salt to 4 parts water).
- Once you’ve made the solution, begin to clean your piercing by either submerging the piercing fully (This can be done using a shot glass or a small bowl) or by applying the solution to the piercing and surrounding areas using a cotton bud or pad.
- If you have any fluid or crusting on your piercing, try to remove it gently, using the salt water solution and cotton buds. If the build up is particularly stubborn, you may need to repeat this process a few times.
- Lastly, pat the area dry with a non-fibrous paper towel.
Repeat this process at least twice a day for the advised healing time of your piercing.
Whilst nipple piercings typically take 9-1. months to heal, the initial healing period (I.e. the first 4-6 weeks) will require you to ‘baby’ your piercing, as well as following a stringent aftercare regime. For example:
- Make sure you don’t wear any clothing or undergarments that are too constrictive (I.e. Binders, sports bras, compression vests etc) during the initial healing process, as this can apply undue pressure to the area and cause discomfort.
- Try to wear underwear and clothing with a smooth finish so you avoid snagging your jewellery.
- Avoid swimming pools, saunas, hot tubs or dip pools, as they can harbour bacteria that may result in an infection or irritation to your piercing.
- Try to use a non-fluffy towel (I.e. Something with a flat weave and minimal fibre looping) to dry yourself with after a bath or shower and ensure you gently pat the area around the piercing dry to avoid any snagging or pulling on the jewellery. (Trust us, towel snags are the wooooooooooorst.)
- Refrain from letting anyone tweak, pull, lick or suck the area until the initial healing period has passed, as bacteria from the mouth can be spread to your piercing.
- Refrain from using soap or harsh cleansers directly onto your nipple, as you could dry out your skin. Dry skin can crack and tear, leaving it more susceptible to infection.
- Avoid playing with your nipple jewellery! Touch your jewellery as little as possible to reduce the risk of soreness, infection or inflammation.
Looking for further information? Dying to know even more about nipple piercings? Then check out these links for size!
- Want to read some first-hand accounts? Then we’ve got just the thing for you! Allure have interviewed three people about what it’s really like to get your nipples pierced, so take a peek!
- Wanna know more about the history and development of nipple piercing? Then you need to read Broadly’s article on the titillating rise of nipple piercings!
‘Cos knowledge is power! via GIPHY
So there you have it, a complete guide to everything you ever wanted to know about nipple piercings but were afraid to ask! If you’ve taken the plunge and had your nipple(s) pierced, we want to hear your experiences! Leave us your stories in the comments, or connect with us via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to spill the tea!