What To Know Before Getting Nipple Piercings

What To Know Before Getting Nipple Piercings

What is a nipple piercing?

A piercing usually at the base of the nipple. To be exact, it is based in the creases at the base of the nipple where it rises from the areola.

How long has it been around?

The history of such piercings is full unlikely candidates and surprising trends. Julius Caesar was the Roman general and statesman who played a critical role in the rise of the Roman Empire, but was also the lover of the ever seducing Cleopatra. This powerful figure who is known for his historic feats as well as romantic drama is said to have had nipple piercings. During that time, Roman men (especially warriors) were known to have pierced their nipples to signify strength and masculinity. One could wonder if Cleopatra herself was seduced.

After crossing an important latitude or longitude traversing through the unforgiving seas, American and British sailors would have their nipple pierced as part of tradition. Their own sort of rite of passage. 

In Texas, the now extinct Karankawa Native Americans that played an important role in the states early history also pierced the nipples of each breast and the lower lip with small pieces of cane. 

The female history of nipple piercing is said to have been an even longer one than of men, "... [it] may date back to the fourteenth century when wealthy women wore low-cut dresses and exposed their rouged and adorned nipples...The end of the nineteenth century also saw a brief fashion trend of nipple rings also known as the 'bosom ring'" (Encyclopedia of Body Adornment).

Imagine a time where a woman showing her ankles and god forbid her legs would've been more scandalous than showing off her nipples! During the end of the nineteenth century, the Victorian Era, there was a brief trend of women having pierced nipples. It was said to have been popular in London as well as Paris where "bosom rings" were sold in expensive Parisian jewelry shops. An English newspaper style publication " English Mechanic and World of Science" published in 1889 sports an article about two sisters getting their nipples pierced while on their trip to Paris, "the piercer went through her nipple the first time she uttered a little scream; but I think she was more frightened than hurt, as she did not scream at the second piercing... [the piercer] She had told us we were the first English ladies for the purpose of having their nipples pierced, but that she had several American ladies visit her, and many from France and other parts of the continent."

Since the Victorian Era, it wasn't until the 1960's till nipple piercings would become a fad again with the body modification and BDSM communities. Today, the piercings are common and do not have a set meaning. They can be just for adornment, pleasure, or to signify a personal meaning with all genders and peoples.

What kinds of nipple piercings are there?

  • Horizontal
  • Vertical
  • Cross shape - usually horizontal piercing in front and vertical behind
  • X shape - two diagonal piercings
  • Double horizontal - two bars parallel

What jewelry is best for nipple piercings?

  1. Barbell (straight) - Great for initial piercings

  1. Rings: Good for initial piercing jewelry
  • Captive cylinder or tube or clicker ring - helps to diminish the visibility of nipple rings through clothing

  • Captive bead ring 


    Do nipple piercings make metal detectors go off?

    Elayne Angel, author of The Piercing Bible, states "Many piercees are concerned that their piercing(s) will set off a metal detector in an airport or other venue...Many heavily pierced people will tell you in all honesty that they have traveled extensively without so much as a single beep. Other stories circulate regarding piercees enduring strip searches or being required to remove body jewelry before boarding a plane. When your travel companions are unaware of your penchant for piercing, you may be concerned about an unplanned disclosure during the security screening. If revealing your piercings during travel is unacceptable, wear nonmetallic jewelry. Quality metal body jewelry is non-ferromagnetic and will not set off the large walk-through metal detectors. However, the hand-held wands are often more sensitive and frequently do sound an alarm when scanning directly over metal body jewelry...Depending on the location of your piercing, you may be examined in a private room by a security officer of your own gender. If you wish to take your trip, it is best to be calm and cooperative. Don’t wear or carry long spike-style jewelry during travel, as these are sometimes construed as weapons and confiscated. Spikes aside, you should not be compelled to remove body jewelry, since it isn't a security threat."

    Can you see nipple piercings through your shirt?

    If not wearing a padded bra or some kind of undershirt then, yes, you may be able to see the shape of a nipple piercing. If concealment of your piercings may be of interest to you, clicker rings can help conceal the piercing shape.

    What to expect when getting your nipples pierced?

    As with any piercing, make sure the shop location is cleared by the local board of health officials and has a separate clean room for piercing. It is important that your piercer only uses sterile needles that are individually packaged and wears sterile gloves. To make sure the needle is sterile you can ask to be in the room while they unpackage and set up. Before getting pierced, it is smart to check out professional piercers portfolios to see pictures of their previous nipple piercings to check if they were done right in the correct positions. This can save you from future regrets. To know more about what a safe professional piercing shop should look and be like, and how to pick a piercer, check out the APP Picking A Piercer Guide

    As always when getting a new piercing, it is important to keep your immune system a priority to help with healing. Getting a healthy dose of sleep, staying hydrated, and surrounding yourself in a low-stress environment can do wonders.

    When getting your nipple pierced, keep in mind that everyone has different nipples and there will be different ways to deal with their uniqueness, as your piercer should explain. If they are pliable, this piercing could be of help for inverted nipples.

    Women may find that their nipples are more sensitive than normal just before their menstruation cycle, so it is best to keep this in mind when scheduling.

    If you are planning to pierce both nipples, you can ask your piercer if it may be possible to do tandem piercings, where two piercers pierce each nipple at the same time (one does the markings to ensure they are even). A nipple can be pierced only one time each session, so you will have to wait for it to fully heal before getting another if you plan to do the cross, X, or double horizontal shapes.

    Should I wear a bra to get my nipples pierced?

    All undergarments and clothing need to be removed when getting a nipple piercing so it's best to wear something that is easily put on and taken off. After the procedure, a pad or panty-liner can be placed inside a bra, or a clean ace bandage around the chest works to absorb blood and sweat and help the fresh piercing feel a little less tender.

    How long after nipple piercing can they be played with?

    Male nipples take about 3-4 months or longer to heal, and female nipples take about 6-9 months or longer to heal. They have different healing times because of their different functions. When they don't hurt to the touch or feel sore afterward the piercings are most likely fully healed and okay.

    Is nipple piercing worth it?

    Angel's advice is, "If you have undergone radical breast surgery and reconstruction with nipple replacement using non-areolar tissue, you are generally not a good candidate." She also mentions that if you have implants the risks are more serious because "an infection and spread to your implant". If you have had a breast reduction or augmentation and it is fully healed there are still chances for you to get nipple piercings. Make sure to use sound judgement when selecting a piercer and follow aftercare routines strictly.

    How do you take care of nipple piercings?

    Your piercer should provide you with aftercare instructions, if not make sure to ask before leaving the studio. Nipple piercings take longer than other piercings to heal because of its' shape constantly changing throughout the day. It is very important to follow all aftercare protocol that your piercer assigns to ensure a smooth healing process.

    If you feel your piercing is not healing properly, there is an infection, or there is yellow, green, or brown colored discharge, or hot skin around the piercing, call your doctor.

    Here are some nipple piercing aftercare guidelines:

    • WASH your hands before handling or touching your piercing!
    • Be very careful when getting dressed and handle your new piercing gently. Wear a sports or padded bra, or a clean ace-bandage around your chest at night to sleep and during any physical activity.
    • SALINE rinse twice a day or as needed. Try holding a small shot glass with the saline solution up to the nipple and soak it for about five minutes, or dab with clean saline soaked cotton balls.
    • RINSE as needed to remove the cleaning residue. Moving or rotating your jewelry to clean is not recommend. If you have crusties, they can be cleaned off gently around the piercing with a q-tip dipped in the saline solution. If they are too hard, soak in the saline solution again to soften.
    • DRY by gently patting with clean disposable paper products.
    • To help with the healing process you can moisturize your nipple piercing with a combination of organic Jojoba oil and Tea Tree oil (helps to keep the piercing sterile).


    That concludes our article. If you have any anecdotes to share, please leave us a comment! We will add it to this post.




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