The Answers to Your Most Intimate Nipple Piercing Questions
To some, getting nipples pierced may sound like a scene plucked straight out of a horror movie, with words like "pain," "awkwardness," and "discomfort" coming to mind. But nipple piercings can actually function as empowering body modifications with the ability to increase body confidence and self-esteem.
The nipple piercing, once popular in the '90s, has recently gotten trendy again by way of celebrities like Noah Cyrus and Kendall Jenner. If you're considering getting one (or two) of your own, it should be a positive experience, not an intimidating one. That's not always an easy mindset to take on, especially when you're facing the thought of a needle going through your nipple, but there are many things you can do to make the process easier.
Whether you're still on the fence or already preparing to book your appointment, we talked to four different piercers about everything you should know before getting your nipples pierced. Read their advice for safer, healthier piercings you won't be able to resist showing off.
Does a Nipple Piercing Hurt?
Although there are lots of things to consider before getting a nipple piercing, the most common questions piercers get asked are typically about pain. Lisa Marie Mytych, the owner and lead piercer for Straight to the Point in Tucson, AZ, says her go-to phrase is, "Nobody knows what it's like to be you for a fraction of a second."
John Joyce, the owner of Scarab Body Arts in Syracuse, NY, agrees, adding that, although pain differs for everyone, it's often overexaggerated. "Most women will find that — when it's done properly — the piercing is quite a bit easier than they expected it to be," he says.
Nipple Piercing Healing
While the pierced area can remain swollen or tender for a few weeks after your appointment, your body is still healing even after that. In fact, a nipple piercing generally takes anywhere between six to eight months to fully heal. To help speed up the process, try to leave the area alone and minimize intervention as much as possible.
After the piercing itself is done, Mytych says, "We don't twist, turn, or rotate, we leave them alone, [and] we also send you home with saline aftercare spray." Beall adds that for successful healing, people should also avoid partner play and oral contact with their nipples for about six months.
Another thing to try: sleeping with a bra. Beall suggests that clients wear a bra or protective layer of some kind to sleep in, so that nipple piercings stay compressed and don't get caught in the middle of the night.
How Much Do Nipple Piercings Cost?
The price of a nipple piercing will vary greatly depending on your location and the shop itself, but you can usually expect to pay a piercing service fee (which can range from $20 to $50 for the first hole) plus the cost of jewelry. The material of the piercing jewelry is really what's going to determine the price: for instance, solid-gold barbells can be significantly more expensive than surgical steel or other metals. With that in mind, the cost of nipple piercing jewelry can start at anywhere from $50 and cost upward of $300.
How to Clean Nipple Piercings
To clean the area after your appointment, Gottschalk says that saline spray can be applied to piercings twice a day and then dried completely, but not with Q-tips since their cotton fibers can get inside of the piercing and cause serious damage. He also urged clients to throw their loofahs away, saying, "Once you get your nipples pierced, the world is your enemy. Everything is going to try to snag on them."
What Nipple Piercing Jewelry Is Best?
Across the board, piercers agreed that clients should choose safe, implant-grade jewelry for their piercings. According to Anna Beall, a body piercer at CowPök in Buffalo, NY, "If you have a heavier breast tissue, you definitely want to go for something that's a little bit thicker so that it kind of stabilizes the piercing channel and it doesn't tear as much on the sides."
Tom Gottschalk, a piercer at Dorje Adornments in Rochester, NY, adds that barbells typically work better than hoops because they help the piercing remain as straight as possible. "In order to make it straight with the hoop, the hoop would have to be gigantic, which is not most people's aesthetic," he says.
Can You Breastfeed With a Nipple Piercing?
Joyce says that another major concern people have is whether or not nipple piercings will affect their ability to breastfeed. Luckily, according to Joyce, if the piercing is done properly and is fully healed by the time the client needs to breastfeed, it shouldn't be an issue.
The only stipulation he mentions: "If you were to happen to find out you were pregnant right after getting them pierced, then we would suggest taking them out." This precaution will help to prevent any potential irritation, infection, or pain.
Does Nipple or Breast Size Matter With Piercings?
This is a common question and concern all our piercers have been asked at least a handful of time, but the truth is the size of your areola doesn't matter. Even if you have inverted nipples, small nipples, or flat nipples, long as there's enough skin to pinch, any nipple can be pierced successfully.
How to Find the Right Nipple Piercing Studio
The last and most important thing about nipple piercings is that you should have them done in a space that feels clean and welcoming. Because this can be such an intimate experience, Gottschalk reminded people that, "It's not on the person getting pierced to make the vulnerable experience feel more comfortable, it's on the person who's doing the piercing," detailing how he uses color, incense, and soothing sounds to calm his own clients.
Mytych echos this advice and says it's all about finding a studio and staff that makes you feel safe and empowered. "If they're not serving you like you're a queen, then don't give them the time of day," she says. "We're here to adorn and help people step into their most beautiful self."