Over the years I have had several different piercings in my ears including a few in my lobes, my upper cartilage, my conch, and tragus. I actually got my set of lobes pierced when I was 3 years old because I would NOT shut the f up about it apparently. What’s funny is I am not a big fan of needles, however piercings don’t bother me in the slightest. I think piercings are so fun and the pain is the least of my worries. What I am super OCD about is keeping the piercings clean and healthy because when you have an infected piercing…that’s when the pain is REAL.
So last November my best friend, Meghan, and I talked about going to get new piercings together. We both had done a lot to our ears and we wanted to try something more interesting. Considering I work in a corporate setting full time, a facial piercing was not going to fly. Then Meghan suggested getting our nipples pierced and I thought why the hell not?! Nipple piercings are becoming a lot more acceptable nowadays (not that that was stopping me) so I decided to go for it and get it done on my birthday in January.
Before I got the nipple piercing (I only have one done…we’ll get into that later), I did EXTENSIVE research. If I was going to pay to have a needle shoved through my nipple, I wanted to know any possible adverse effects and just things to expect in general.
Here is my nipple piercing experience in addition to some important tips & tricks to consider if you want to get yours done!
1) Find a reputable piercing parlor near you. They should be APP certified. Not sure? It should be listed on their website. If not, just give them a call and ask! This is super important especially when you’re dealing with something as delicate as your nipples.
Meg and I went to Virtue and Vice off of Cheshire Bridge Road in Atlanta. They specialize in piercings and are APP certified, so if you live in Atlanta I wouldn’t suggest going anywhere but there. They were great and so stoked that I was coming in to get something more interesting than just an ear piercing.
2) There are several guidelines and conditions you must follow in order to get pierced. These rule applies to all piercings, but it’s important to know them BEFORE going into the parlor or else they may send you right back out the door sans piercing. These are some of the guidelines on Virtue and Vice’s website that you can check out here.
3) Make sure you are comfortable with your piercer. If they seem judgemental or make you feel uncomfortable, I would subtly say something to the front desk associate and see if anyone else would be available. You want it to be a fun and exciting experience as well, so make sure that you speak up if you need to!
I filled out all the paperwork, ate a solid meal within 2-3 hours of arriving, and confirmed that I was not under the influence of any sort. Once all that was done I met my piercer, Cosmo! At first I was a little startled because a guy was going to be piercing my nipple. But then I realized I was about to have a needle shoved through my boob so that honestly should be the least of my worries. He was so nice and very relaxed about it all which made the experience much easier on me.
4) The jewelry selection should be APP certified as well. Check to see if your parlor uses the metals on this list here. Regarding types of rings – if you go to a good establishment, they should only suggest a snug barbell. If they tell you you’re good to start out with a ring or something poking out on the end, I would maybe question that. The more the ring gets knocked around during the healing process, you risk infection, tearing, and just pain in general.
For my selection, I went with a silver titanium barbell. Call me basic, but you guys know I love a classic look. And please, there is NOTHING basic about a nipple piercing. Cosmo then measured exactly what size I needed. Because he’s done this so much, he was actually able to guess my size right off the bat just by eye-balling it before he even took measurements! That’s a sign of a good piercer.
Now that it’s been about a year, I’m looking at changing to a gold snug barbell.
Next up was the piercing itself! I was a little nervous, but again piercings don’t freak me out. Of course it was going to hurt some, but it’s a 5 second thing, you know? A little pain is expected so mentally I was good to go. I held Meg’s hand very lightly, zenned out, and just let it happen. On a scale of 1-10, I would say the pain was a 7. BUT it was very quick. Once it was done, there was no pain at all. Seriously, so easy.
5) Make sure to pack a comfortable and clean looser fitting bra/shirt to wear home. You won’t want too much immediate contact. I advise against a lace bralette. Honestly I wouldn’t even wear a bra home – just a clean shirt to throw on. Just be careful with the seat belt across you chest because that can hurt when/if it snags.
6) Bring some ibuprofen with you to take AFTER you get pierced. You’ll want this just as a preventative measure for some soreness.
I will be very honest, this piercing has been the best as far as healing, cleaning, and post-piercing pain goes. I was pretty shocked as I expected much worse. Throughout the year (takes about 1 year to fully heal), I was extremely paranoid about an infection because I read some horror stories on Reddit. Therefore I was diligent AF to keep it clean and infection-free. And guess what?? No major issues! I even workout 5 days a week wearing tight sports bras and still no crazy infections.
Specific Cleaning/Preventative Tips and Advice
- Clean your piercing every single day. Even if it looks great and healed after 3 months, it’s not. Keep cleaning it. I’ve had mine for almost a year and I clean it everyday. I probably still will for another year at least.
- Soak your piercing in homemade saltwater or gently wash with Dr. Bronner’s Baby Unscented Pure Castile Liquid Soap. I personally suggest Dr. Bronner’s over the saltwater. It’s super easy to do in the shower at night and the bottle lasts forever. Plus they make travel sizes which was perfect for my Mexico trip.
- Make sure to twist your jewelry with clean hands. I usually do this only in the shower when I’m cleaning my piercing. You don’t want the ring to get stiff. There will be some blood and crustiness for a little while so the gentle rotating of the jewelry helps loosen up and get rid of the gunk.
- If you show your piercing to friends or your S.O, do NOT let them touch it. You don’t want outside germs getting in. I still don’t let anyone directly touch it because it’s still prone to infection.
- If you workout, try to get home and shower immediately to rinse and clean it especially if it’s freshly pierced.
- If your piercing looks and feels like it’s getting a little infected (swelling, redness, small amount of puss or blood), make sure you wash your bras and wear only clean items. This happened to me a few times, but I just cleaned it a little more and kept an eye on it, and it healed up every time! I advise keep a close eye on the piercing and cleaning/rotating it very well in the shower twice a day. If it continues to get worse throughout a week’s time, I would contact your piercer for advice on next steps. DO NOT remove it on your own though.
It seems like a lot to keep track of, but as long as you clean it everyday, wear a clean bra, and avoid snagging on things, it’s really a piece of cake. My nipple piercing is still my favorite piercing to this day. There’s something very liberating about it. It’s like a fun little secret, right? You guys know I hate wearing bras so sometimes it’s fun when it pokes through the shirt a little in a tasteful French girl chic way…only when I’m getting #badontheweekend though.
If you guys have any questions about nipple piercings, comment in the below section OR email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would LOVE to answer any questions! I am all about freeing the nipple so I really enjoy talking about it 🙂
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