Nipple Piercing 101: Aftercare Guidelines For Your Nipple Piercing

With nipple piercing, your aftercare routine is as important as the process itself. Get to know all the aftercare regime to follow to prevent infections.

By Emmanuel Onitayo
Nipple Piercing 101: Aftercare Guidelines For Your Nipple Piercing

Nipple Piercing: A Painful Pleasure

In all honesty, you deserve some accolades if you've just gone through the nipple piercing process. Among other things, piercing one of the most sensitive parts of your body is courage that is worth commending you for, especially if you are a female. Not very many people that cherish a pierced nipple have enough courage to go through the nipple piercing process. It's now time for you to rock the world with your amazing nipple piercings; you worked for it and as such, deserve to get all the praises and recognition it has to offer. Indeed, for certain things in life, it is true that no pain, no gain. But wait a minute; how well are you managing the healing process? Are you aware that it can take up to a year for your nipple piercings to heal completely? During this period, you need an authentic aftercare regime to keep your nipple piercings off infections. In the next section below, we would look at the possible things to expect days after you've had your nipple piercing. They are the possible aftermaths of having a nipple piercing done.

Possible Aftermaths Of Nipple Piercing

For a process like a nipple piercing that affects the state of your being for as long as six months, it is good to know what to expect so you don't become unnecessarily perturbed at the turn of events after your nipple piercing. Of course, your fate after having the needle pass through your nipples would depend largely on how healthy you are personally and the professionalism of your piercer. There are a few things to expect after undergoing nipple piercing. While some of these things are typical of what happens after an injury, many are signs that your nipple piercings have been infected. As such, you may need to see a doctor or your piercer swiftly. Here are some of those things.

Nipple Piercing Aftermath #1: Swelling With Sore

Your nipple piercings can become swollen with sore, and the reason can range from the irritation caused by the procedure to infection by bacteria and other microbes. A way to know whether the swelling of the nipple piercings is as a result of infections or not is to observe its progression for three days. If after three days the nipple is still swelling with sore, you should suspect infections. An infected nipple will be accompanied by sore, but not all sores are arising after the piercing is an infection. That's because soreness is even expected for up to a week after the nipple piercing. There are some home remedies for a swelling nipple piercing. If you have some ice packs, bring them closer to the swollen nipples intermittently, or you can place the ice on the nipple piercing for some seconds before removing it. The result can be very surprising. Similarly, soaking your nipple piercings in sea salts and water for a few minutes before rinsing it off can effectively address the swelling if an infection or rejection isn't what you are experiencing.

Nipple Piercing Aftermath #2: Rejection

There is the possibility of your nipple piercings rejecting the jewelry inserted into it, and this can lead to some complications as well as a delay in the healing time.
Jewelry rejection by a pierced nipple is usually because of the quality of the material of the jewelry. It can also surface as a result of an improper nipple piercing technique. For instance, if your nipple piercer did not get the calculation of the hole and the size of the jewelry right, it can lead to rejection.
The narrower the piercing, the higher the risk of jewelry rejection. Be sure to choose jewelry of high quality to reduce your chances of your nipple rejecting it after piercing. In the same way, you need to guard against tugging or pulling the nipple, especially in the first two weeks after the piercing has been done as this can also heighten the chances of jewelry rejection too.
You would see a red streak around the nipple piercing area showing that it has rejected the jewelry. If this happens, see your piercer again to put you through on which jewelry would be best. That said, you need a sound aftercare regime to prevent an upsurge of infection where a jewelry rejection has taken place.

Nipple Piercing Aftermath #3: Bleeding And Pain

Before piercing your nipple, you probably didn't have an idea of how many times your nipple crushes your bra or clothing. The nipple piercings would among other things let you know your bra and nipple had always been in a close association because it's going to hurt each time the nipple tip touches your bra.
So, this is one thing you have to keep managing till the healing is completed. It is also normal that in the first week of the nipple piercing you experience some minor bleeding and crusts on your nipple. That's because the nipple piercing process is essentially an injury inflicting one and the crust and blood you see are just normal aftereffects. Your aftercare regime needs to be diligently followed, so bacteria don't hijack the bleeding.

Nipple Piercing Aftermath #4: Smelling

This is one thing most females who have had their nipple piercings complain about. To a certain degree, the smelling of a nipple piercing can be subjective as each person's sensitivity to smell differs.
However, it is not impossible for a nipple piercing to smell especially if the best aftercare routines have been neglected along the line.
The crust, pus, and other fluids often released because the piercing can cause it to smell. If your pierced nipple brings out too much odor, which might be a strong indication of an infection, and you need to see your piercer or a doctor for a plan to address it. Usually, some medications can be prescribed, or your aftercare routine is reviewed to help address the smell.

Nipple Piercing Aftermath #5: Sensitive Nipple

Of course, this is among the top reasons many females opt to have their nipples pierced. The nipple piercing process is said to increase a woman's nipple's sensitivity, and to a great extent, this can be true. Just a little caressing of the nipple after piercing can get you wet down there. It must also be stated that this experience is not uniform among all females who have had their nipple pierced.
Some had stated that there was no significant difference in sensitivity between when their nipples were pierced and when it wasn't. Of course, this notion can also be predicated on each person's sense of justice. Similarly, your state of mind at a particular point in time and not just what is being done to you plays a great role in determining whether you'll respond to stimulations or not. But in general and on the average, piercing the nipple increases its sensitivity and can greatly enhance the pleasure a woman experiences in bed.

Nipple Piercing Aftermath #6: Period Discomfort

If you are a female and you have your nipple piercing during your menstrual days, the chances are that you would witness more pain, discomfort, and soreness than if it were to be done at any other period. The reason for this is that during menstruation, there is a general swelling of the breast due to milk production. The breast also becomes tender during this period too. So, the nipple piercing discomfort arises from a fuller breast and a more tender nipple.
Some females with relatively small breast are less likely to experience discomfort with their nipple piercing during their periods. The only way to avoid this challenge if you know you are gifted upfront is to arrange your nipple piercing in such a way that the healing wouldn't fall on those days you know you would be having your period.

Nipple Piercing Aftermath #7: Susceptibility To Infections

The nature of the breast and its position in the body makes nipple piercing an adventure that can easily play host to infection. Even when you follow all the aftercare guidelines, that does not remove the possibility of coming down with an infection. Most times, the onset of infection in nipple piercing is heralded by a continuous discharge of a thick, yellowish, and crusty fluid from the piercing area. You can also witness a significant rise in your body temperature as a mark that your nipple piercing has been infected. Where this has happened, you would have to include an antimicrobial agent such as tea tree oil into your daily saline solution with which you soak your nipple piercings.
There are some antiseptic piercing rinses on sale over the counter which you can equally include in your aftercare routine. You shouldn't try to break the crust formed by yourself as that can lead to further injury. When you review your aftercare regime, and there appears to be no improvement even after three days, endeavor to consult a doctor straight away.
Sometimes, your doctor may recommend that you remove the jewelry completely or he/she gives you some medications.

Nipple Piercing Aftermath #8: Scarring

Scars are among the possible things to expect after doing a nipple piercing. And for nipple piercings, two main types of scars are possible which are atrophic and hypertrophic scars. Those are not the only two types, but out of a hundred cases of scarring after nipple piercing, about 80% of it falls between these two. Another scar type is keloid, but it is more of a genetic issue. If you have a family history of keloid, the best thing is to abstain from all types of body piercings, not just nipple piercing. The keloid can do a lot of cosmetic damages to your nipple. To get rid of keloid scars from your nipple, you would need to see a doctor to carry out the process. Hypertrophic scars are raised and they occur around the nipple piercing. Their texture at the top is usually rough but they still have a fleshy tone beneath. Atrophic scars, on the other hand, are not raised, but they assume the configuration of a recessed skin around your nipple piercing which appears to have been sunken into your nipple skin. For both atrophic and hypertrophic scars, jojoba oil or silicone scar therapy gel can be used. But because these things are oily and can clog to block your nipple piercing hole, it is not advisable that you apply them in the first year of having your nipple piercing. You would need to allow your nipple piercing to heal successfully before making efforts to get rid of the scars.

Nipple Piercing Aftercare 101: Signs Of Infection

One thing you want to ensure after piercing your nipple is that it doesn't get infected. The skin itself is part of the body's immune system and cutting through it means that to an extent, some levels of immunity have been compromised. It would, therefore, be your responsibility to perform the roles an intact nipple skin would have performed if piercing didn't take place. That said, infections, after piercing the nipple isn't unusual especially, if the best aftercare practices are not followed. In most cases, if the onset of the nipple piercing infection can be detected early enough, a lot of possible complications can be averted. Nipple piercing infections can surface through all or some of the symptoms below.
1. Continuous irritation around the nipple piercings which has defiled all remedies.
2. A hot sensation around the nipple piercing.
3. Your nipple piercing pains a lot. In other words, the pain is just unbearable.
4. Offensive and colored discharges in the form of crust or pus from the nipple piercing.
5. Continued swelling of the piercing area.
6. Unexplainable fatigue and fever.
7. General body pain after the nipple piercing.
The above symptoms when witnessed should not be taken for granted because they signify that something has gone wrong with the nipple piercings. It's good also to state that an indiscriminate touching of your nipple piercing can introduce infection to it than you think.
Similarly, if your bra or clothing is too tight, your nipple piercing can become irritated and lead to discomfort. As such, you should watch for these two things too.

Nipple Piercing Aftercare 102: What You Should Do

Usually, your nipple piercer would give you some aftercare products and rules which are meant to hasten the healing process; you should use these aftercare products as instructed and follow the professional advice too. In addition to these pieces of advice and aftercare products, you should also note the following things for your nipple piercings to proceed smoothly.
1. A balanced diet taken at the appropriate time would make your nipple piercing to heal quickly. So, after piercing your nipple, you cannot afford to live on junks or go starving. That can elongate the healing time. It is also good that you take enough water daily to keep your body hydrated. Doing this would put your immune system at its best to heal your nipple piercings quickly.
2. Be intentional in the type of bra you wear if you are a female. For the minimum irritation of your nipple piercing, the bra to be worn in the day should be padded, but at night when you want to sleep, you can change to a sports bra. If you are a man, of course, you don't need a bra; all you need is sufficiently thick cotton clothing as underwear to keep your nipple protected.
3. You should take extra care when dressing to forestall the possibility of snagging the jewelry on your nipple piercing as this can traumatize your nipple and result in bleeding. As it is, every case of bleeding is a potential entry point for infection. So, it's good you take your time when dressing.
4. Uphold the highest standard of hygiene when cleaning your nipple piercing. As a rule, do not allow any water you can't drink to touch your piercing especially in the first three weeks it was done. When cleaning your nipple, endeavor to use an aftercare product that is sea salt based. There are abundant pieces of evidence too that soaking your pierced nipple in sea salt solution at least three times a week hastens its healing.
5. Of course, in the first few weeks of the nipple piercing, you would have to sleep with your back on the ground for an apparent reason. Occasionally you may want to turn sideways to vary your sleeping position, but you should never sleep with your face down. This might irritate your healing nipple piercings and cause bleeding.

Nipple Piercing Aftercare 103: What You Should Not Do

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When it comes to nipple piercing aftercare, what you don't do is as important as what you do. To avoid subjecting your nipple piercings to complications, avoid the following just the same way you would avoid a plague in your nipple piercing aftercare. 1. Forbid yourself from scratching your nipple piercings or playing with your nipple no matter how urgent the urge might be. Granted, the area around the piercing can become itchy at some points, and you would feel like touching it even if small; however, you shouldn't. Instead, use the sea salt treatment. Many things can go wrong if and when you scratch the skin around the nipple piercings. 2. In cleaning your nipple piercing, never use alcohol, methylated spirit, hydrogen peroxide or any of those common products for treating wounds. These things would only make the wound on your nipple piercing to dry up without healing. And of course, you would surely develop scares on your nipple too. 3. Avoid the intake of anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and limit your intake of caffeine especially in the first 3 weeks of having your nipple piercing. It is important you heed this warning because these things are capable of thinning your blood and hence making it difficult for it to cloth should an occasional bleeding of your nipple piercing occur while it is still trying to heal. 4. Piercing your nipple and smoking are not compatible and so, you have to let go of one to accommodate the other. You may not have to forsake smoking permanently to have your nipple piercings but for a faster healing, you have to limit the amount of nicotine you introduce into your system. Once your nipple piercing is healed, you can resume your smoking once more. 5. In the first three weeks of piercing your nipple, if possible, you should avoid having sex. That's because as a female, it's hard to resist the urge of a man wanting to caress your nipple when both of you might have been aroused. And with touching, there is the risk of introducing infection and even causing some complications around your nipple piercings. 6. As a female, it's best to have your nipple piercings done ar a period in between your menstrual cycle. The reason is that swelling and tenderness accompany menstruation, and these two things can make piercing more painful and with the swelling, the healing time can be elongated. 7. It is possible that you notice some dried lymph forming around the nipple piercing; do not attempt to remove them by twisting or sliding your nipple. These things are called crusts and crusts are formed as part of the body's way of healing any wound. If you do the sea salt treatment regularly, the crusts are likely to be dissolved and washed away that way. But if it doesn't there are some aftercare spray specifically meant for nipple piercing that can dissolve crusts and you can easily use a cotton swab to get rid of it. 8. Depending on the weather condition during the time you have your nipple piercing, you can witness drying of the skin around your nipple piercing. Never apply any moisturizer or lubricant to the piercing because these things are oily and can clog to block the piercing hole. Usually, what you can do in this case is to include a little bit of tea tree oil into the sea salt solution that you use. 9. Resist the temptation of changing your starter barbell prematurely. The more you change the jewelry, the higher the possibility of something going wrong. If for whatever reason you have to change your jewelry, make sure you visit your piercer again to have it done for you professionally. That's because, with time, the piercing hole also known as fistula starts to close up with the barbell and if care is not taken, re-inserting another jewelry by yourself can lead to you inflicting wounds on yourself.

Nipple Piercing Aftercare 104: How To Clean Your Nipple

In cleaning your nipple after piercing, one important thing you need is sea salt. Your piercer is likely going to give you a spray that is sea salt based but then; you would need to soak your nipple piercing in the sea salt solution continuously. Sea salt aids in fast-tracking healing and it is very gentle on the skin especially on a body part as soft as the nipple. Our body naturally needs salt for a lot of metabolisms, and although sea salt isn't the type we use in cooking, it has a lot of healing properties which your nipple piercings need. As such, when planning for a nipple piercing, sea salt is one thing you don't want to miss out. That is the major thing used in cleaning nipple piercing. You can buy the saline wash from the store, and if you like, you can make the sea salt solution on your own at home. All you need to get this done is a sterilized bottle or a clean container and some sea salt powder. You would have to dissolve the sea salt inside the water in your container in ration 3 to 1, water being 3. You would not need to use sponge or clothes in cleaning your nipple piercings. All you are to do is lean forward and allow the nipple to rest in this saline solution for up to 5 minutes. If you find bending inconvenient, you can raise the container up in a way as to allow your nipple piercings rest in the fluid but not make contact with your breast. Like we earlier mentioned, if you hope or want to moisturize your nipple piercing area, add a few drops of tea tree oil to the sea salt solution before soaking your nipple. This would keep the skin around the piercing supple and resistant to breakage. This procedure should be done up to two times a day in the first week of the piercing, and subsequently, it can be reduced to once a day. If you start witnessing a yellowish discharge and swelling of the surrounding tissue of the piercing, this is a sign of infection. You should consider applying an antiseptic piercing spray to your nipple after soaking it in the sea salt solution to address this problem. You should not apply this antiseptic treatment more than twice a day, and it should be after the sea salt treatment, so the saline solution doesn't wash it off.

Nipple Piercing Aftercare 105: Changing Your Jewelry

Of course, it has been advocated in this piece that you should not change your nipple piercing jewelry yourself; that is very valid especially if your nipple piercing is still at the stage of healing.
A common way to know when you can now safely attempt to replace your nipple jewelry by yourself is to check if the swelling has stopped and how comfortable wearing a bra makes you feel. These two things tell whether your nipple piercing has been healed successfully or not. Once you have this assurance, you can replace your nipple jewelry by yourself based on your choice. One thing you, however, need to put in mind while purchasing jewelry to replace an existing one is the size. It must match the hole on your nipple so it can fit properly. And that means you need to know the gauge of your nipple piercing, so you don't buy oversize jewelry.
You need a piercing tapper too so that if the perforated hole in your nipple appears to be closed, you can use the piercing tapper to retrace it without accidentally re-piercing your nipple. Many people especially females have found it soothing and easy placing a lubricant either on the piercing tapper or on the side of the nipple they wish to start inserting the jewelry.
Depending on the nature of your former nipple jewelry, you may have to unscrew at one end of the nipple before using the piercing tapper to push the jewelry out gently.
This is not a first-to-finish race and hence, you really need to take things slowly. Perform this same procedure on the second nipple not forgetting the lubricant and you are done replacing your nipple jewelry. Don't forget to always use the piercing tapper to find out where the hole is if it has started closing up.

Nipple Piercing Aftercare 106: Stretching

It is possible after piercing your nipple to want to stretch it; that is, you want to insert jewelry that is bigger than the original size you've been using during the healing process. This is possible only if you told your piercer before piercing your nipple that you foresee the possibility of you wanting to stretch your nipple at a later time.
As such, your piercer would only have to increase the gauge of the piercing from the outset. How much your piercer can increase your piercing gauge would, however, depend on the size of your nipple. And once a particular size has been reached, you have to stick to it throughout the time your nipple piercing is healing.
Stretching should only be done after a year when your nipple piercings would have healed completely. Unlike the process of replacing your nipple jewelry, you should start by applying a lubricant, emu oil preferably, to your nipple piercings area for a week or more so that the elasticity of the skin surrounding your nipple piercings can increase and thus aid a seamless insertion. It is not advisable to introduce significantly large jewelry into your nipple piercing at once say from 13g to 10g; instead, you should go in bits so your nipple can stretch without much discomfort. You can use a stretching tape for this purpose.
Keep wrapping the tape around your former jewelry and re-insert into your nipple piercings a week before placing the real jewelry into it. This would allow your nipple to calm down and accept the new jewelry.

Nipple Piercing Aftercare 107: Breastfeeding

As a female or mother-to-be, your concern would be how to manage your nipple piercing and breastfeeding. Generally, your nipple piercing should be planned such that the healing period does not fall at a time you would be breastfeeding your baby. In fact, if you are planning on getting pregnant, stay off nipple piercing for that time.
The correct timing to get pregnant would be at least six months after you've had your nipple piercings. By then, you know the piercing would have healed to a great extent. When breastfeeding, it is better to get rid of the jewelry on your nipple, so the baby's gum is not affected by it or mistakenly swallowed.

Nipple Piercing Aftercare: Conclusion

Considering the discomfort and complications that can arise should anything go wrong with your nipple piercing, the aftercare guidelines put forward in this piece is the least you can do to save yourself the stress and ache. Although these aftercare procedures require a lot of diligence, they are simple and don't put pressure on your pocket.
One of the greatest sacrifices you would have to make for piercing your nipple is your abstinence from sex for some time, especially two weeks after the piercing has been done. It's not as if having sex has any direct complication it causes to the nipple piercing, but the nature of the activity demands that your body and that of your partner meet and this is not needed when you have just had a nipple piercing. If you are unsure of what to do at any point in time, don't assume.
Crosscheck with your piercer so you can be told which product is right and which isn't. The nipple isn't a body part you want to gamble with. Once you follow the aftercare guidelines put forward in this piece, you are sure to have a seamless nipple healing after piercing.
Be ingenious also with your choice of bra and keep reminding yourself that caring for your nipple piercing isn't a race; therefore always take your time to do the right thing. Nipple piercing requires diligence, and if you are ready to pay the price, you are sure to have no issue.