Nipple piercings are all the rage right now thanks to trendy celebs like Kendall Jenner, Rihanna and Bella Hadid who rock their metal-studded nipples in all kinds of clothing. While not all of us can walk around in a mesh top the way these people often do, we can still jump on the bandwagon and pierce our nipples — which makes us just as cool, right?
Before you run out to the nearest piercing shop, it’s important to really understand what you’re getting yourself into. With these 10 tidbits of information, you’ll be set to head to a piercer and take the plunge.
1. It’s going to hurt, but it’ll be brief.
As with any piercing, there is going to be some pain involved. Just thinking about having a large needle piercing through my nipples is enough for me not to go through with it, but according to those who have been bold enough to follow through, it’s actually not a horrible experience! Kendall Jenner even says it’s not as bad as people hype it up to be — if she can do it, so can you. Depending on your pain tolerance, you’ll either feel a slight pinch or feel extremely uncomfortable, but either way, it will only be brief. Expect the the site to be tender for a few days, but the real pain will only last during the actual piercing process.
2. You won’t want to wear a bra for a few days.
As mentioned above, you’ll probably be pretty sore for a few days after the initial piercing. Many opt to go sans-bra to avoid having anything pressed against the fresh piercings. However, if you do this, you’ll want to be sure you’re wearing a soft, clean shirt that won’t snag the piercing at all. And after they do begin healing, you’ll definitely want to be wearing a clean bra each day to avoid irritating them further.
3. You won’t be able to change the jewelry out yourself.
Finding cute bars and hoops to take the place of the traditional starter jewelry will be exciting, but be aware you most likely won’t be able to change the jewelry yourself. This piercing is unlike what goes on in your ear or belly button — it usually requires a professional’s help to swiftly change out this piece of body jewelry. Even if you think you can try doing it on your own, it’s best not to attempt it and risk having the holes close or even rip because of your lack of experience. Plus, it sounds a whole lot less painful to just have a professional quickly swap in the jewelry instead.
4. The healing process takes about a year.
The healing process for nipple piercings will be quite long; it typically takes about nine months to one year to heal completely. As a general warning, you’ll most likely bleed for the first week or so, and you should expect to have some of that crusty goo surrounding the jewelry (it’s totally normal). As with all piercings, cleaning the site will be extremely important. A professional piercer will help you set up a cleaning regime, but it typically involves some sort of salt water or saline solution one to three times per day. It’s quite the commitment, so definitely consider this before you decide to get the piercing.
5. Sometimes your body can actually reject a nipple piercing.
The biggest risk associated with getting your nipples pierced is your body may start to reject them, aka push the jewelry out of your body. Yes, it is as painful as it sounds. Luckily, this doesn’t happen often and there are warning signs to heed in order to catch it early enough. Sometimes, the only solution is to remove the jewelry altogether (that is, with the help of a professional), which is a real bummer since you just went through the entire piercing process.
6. The jewelry will snag.
When I asked my friend about her experience with pierced nipples, she advised to never, under any circumstances, brush your hair naked because you’ll be in excruciating pain if you accidentally catch one of the bars with your brush. Ouch. The same holds true for drying yourself off with a towel too fast, or wearing a sweater with small holes without also wearing a bra. Basically, you’ll just need to be cautious with anything that comes near your nipples.
7. Speaking of jewelry, the type of metal is important.
The type of metal ring or bar you’ll be pierced with can vary based on your price range. If you stick with the classic stainless steel, make sure it’s of medical grade or implant grade in order to avoid any allergic reactions caused by cheap metals — these are often present in jewelry purchased from overseas. More expensive options include gold, silver or platinum. While you don’t need to purchase extremely expensive jewelry, you should avoid buying cheap metal for the safety of your nipples.
8. Your nipples will be way more sensitive.
Unfortunately, this can mean so many different things for different people. Some say they have heightened sensitivity in the sense that their sexual arousal and satisfaction is increased due to the piercings, while others remain so sensitive that they don’t allow their partners to ever touch them. Some people even say their nipples remain hard all the time, while others say that’s a total myth. While it’s tough to say how things will turn out for you, it’s important to discuss all of the potential outcomes with your piercing professional and your partner, as well as consider yourself if you’re willing to accept all of the possible results.
9. You’ll still be able to breastfeed.
One of the most common misconceptions is that getting a nipple piercing will affect your ability to breastfeed afterward. Luckily, this typically isn’t the case. The common breastfeeding functions of the breasts can only be affected through the actual piercing experience itself, so as long as your professional knows what he or she is doing, you’re in the clear! We also suggest either removing the jewelry six months into a pregnancy for sensitivity issues, or replacing the standard bar with a longer one or even just a retainer. A major tip is to try to plan out the timing of your piercing to ensure that your nipples have plenty of time to heal before potentially breastfeeding — an estimated 18-24 months in advance, if possible.
10. Beware: nipple piercings can close fast.
One of the saddest things about piercings is their ability to close right back up. Nipple piercings tend to close faster than most piercings, which means you only have a few minutes to leave them jewelry-free before the holes start slowly shrinking. The only positive side to this point is if you decide your nipple piercing days are over, you’ll be able to close those babies up with little to no scarring in no time at all.
Nipple piercings definitely aren’t for everyone, but there’s no denying their trendiness lately. If you’re considering taking the plunge, I’d suggest doing your research and ensuring you really want to commit to the process.