The nipple piercing trend is now having a major moment, thanks to celebs like Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Rihanna, Amber Rose, and Kristen Stewart — only some of the celebs rumored to have one — but given the character, it is tough to get a handle on exactly how popular it is.
Still, celebrity piercer Brian Keith Thompson of Body Electric informs us,
“I have pierced cardiac surgeons’, OB/GYN’s, and professional’s nipples in every area you can imagine.” Thompson is a piercer to celebrities such as Beyonce, Jessica Alba, FKA Twigs, and more, making him the ideal person to answer our every last questions on the topic.
If you are prepared to have every single question about nipple piercings answered right here, right now, start scrolling (and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. . .because we requested everything).
When did the uptick occur? Is your piercing more popular among people?
“There are far more girls getting pierced than guys ever since Kendall [Jenner] got hers done here [in Body Electric]. It has been popular over the last couple of years, but nothing like following Kendall did it. However, you haveta give some credit to Rihanna, also. She certainly contributed to it. I told you before: It seems as though I have pierced every nipple in Los Angeles — twice.”
Are most people doing one nipple or both?
“More girls are doing both at the moment, which is a huge shift from last year when girls were only doing one and it was the guys doing both.”
Pick one: barbells or hoops?
“Barbells are far more popular. They are more subtle under clothing and they heal faster since they do not move around as much,” says Thompson. Barbells also allow for more space for swelling: “I like to let at least an eighth of an inch on all sides of the nipple, between the ball.” This allows for the fluctuation. Plus, it’s a lot easier to inadvertently hit or pull on a hoop than a barbell. One more thing while we are on the topic: You need to go for an internally threaded barbell, not an externally threaded one, so the bar is smooth and will not create irritation and little cuts while moving in or out of the piercing.
What Type of metal is best? How much should the ring and piercing cost in total?
Thompson prefers titanium for the ones that are looking to save some dough because it is hypoallergenic and seldom problematic. Evidently, gold (white, rose, or yellow) or platinum is very good, also, if you would like to splurge.
You may also opt for stainless steel, but Thompson notes that not all stainless steel is made equal: Affordable alternatives (often imported from abroad) can be below $20, but they may have a fantastic quantity of nickel mixed in, which is a frequent culprit of allergic reactions. Adhere to medical grade or implant grade stainless steel should you go that route.
An excellent titanium or implant grade stainless steel barbell with the piercing will run you around $50 or 60 dollars in many cities — less in smaller cities, more in larger cities. Solid gold could be upwards of several hundred with the piercing. And platinum? In case you must ask, you can not afford it.
Let us talk about pain — just how bad is it really?
Thompson calls it “totally tolerable,” but spend enough time on Reddit boards and chatting with people who’ve experienced it and you will find it is considered one of the most painful piercings. But, it is also incredibly fleeting. “”It’s like one, two, done,” Thompson says. “It is short-lived pain.”
How long does it take to heal?
Generally, it is between a couple of months and a year (six months is the most common response), but a few nipples, unfortunately, can’t tolerate the piercing rather than cure. (The warning signal yours is rejecting the piercing? A red streak across your nipple. You need to find out the jewelry before it completely rejects, because if you let it get pushed too far, “you are going to have a terrible scar.”)
Nevertheless, that does not mean the healing procedure is a nightmare. “The first day or two, they’re likely to be quite tender, then they start feeling great, quickly,” he says. But regardless of what you do, do not think you’re the exception and have cured nipples in a couple of months: “People start feeling great, so that they stop taking care of them, they start bothering them, they let their significant additional play them,” Thompson says. This is a major mistake that may result in problems, so remain diligent for the first year, or risk having significant troubles.
Can you pierce any nipple? Even small, inverted, or flat nipples?
“I have never met a nipple I could not pierce,” Thompson says. Yep, that includes all of the types mentioned previously. He notes inverted nipples are almost as common as horizontal ones — he pierces loads of ’em. Piercing an inverted nipple can actually make it become pushed out, while level nipples will get slightly more raised. Little nipples are a breeze; he simply opts for a smaller barbell.
People very worried about flat or inverted nipples may ask a suction device that pulls out the nipple, which makes it easier — although it is not actually necessary, Thompson says. “Your piercer can only work the nipple out using their fingers,” he says. (If that made your stomach turn, prepare yourself for what is to come.)
Do pierced nipples stay hard forever?
“No, the nipple won’t stay vertical, but it is going to be more conspicuous.”
Is there anything you need to prevent after you get pierced?
Keeping it clean and free of foreign germs is of utmost importance for the first couple of months. That means you (and your S.O.) should restrict touching, and steer clear of pools, spas, hot tubs, bodies of water, as well as showers in states with water sanitation limitations. Translation: If you would not feel comfortable drinking the water, do not let it touch your nipple until it is healed.
What is the actual piercing procedure like?
Obviously, all areas work somewhat differently and it is extremely important to ensure you go to a respectable piercing studio with clean conditions, very good reviews (check Yelp and Google the shit from your piercer), and an experienced staff — but you already knew that. Having said this, know your experience should not be too far away from how it operates at Body Electric. Here is how it goes down.
Once you select your jewellery and sign the proper forms, the piercing area will be closed for privacy. The jewellery is sterilized with a machine. The nipple is cleaned with alcohol and a surgical scrub, then it is dotted with a mark before you’re asked to lie down on the piercing table — just in case you pass out. “Nine times out of ten, the customer wants a flat piercing,” Thompson says.
Afterward, the nipple is clamped. “Some piercers do not use clamps on the nipple, but I do because it makes the whole process a bit quicker,” Thompson says. A few deep breathes and in goes the needle. (If they pull out a piercing gun, put on your shirt and operate!) Your piercer will then set your jewelry, apply pressure to stop any bleeding, and put a bandage on the piercing.
Is bleeding normal?
Yes, bleeding is wholly normal and common both in the time of the piercing and throughout the first week, Thompson states — but it does not happen to everyone. If you are bleeding after a week, or more than you would from a little cut, then call your piercer and clarify what is happening.
What should you expect for a few days later?
Your nipples may bleed for the first week and you can expect them to be incredibly sore. You will quickly realize how frequently your nipple lightly brushes arbitrary things — because it is going to hurt. It will get crusty and need daily cleaning.
What is the most frequent follow-up call you get after you pierce a person’s nipple?
“That they are swollen over we foresaw and they should come in and put a longer pole in their own barbell,” Thompson say. Fortunately, it’s easy to swap the articles, if only until the swelling goes down. You will need to come in quickly if your nipple is swollen beyond the ball or risk other problems.
How can you care for a breast feeding?
Soft soap and warm water applied very gently once daily in the shower, then simply allow the piercing. Various piercers recommend various formulations, but Thompson sends everyone home with a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap in Tea Tree or Baby Unscented (for sensitive skin). You can pick this up at most health food shops.
We can not stress this next part: Do not touch it! That means no touching or turning the barbell at all! Don’t let anybody else touch it. Put on a soft cotton bra (such as a bralette or comfortable sports bra), and just try to forget about it for a couple weeks, short of tracking the recovery and washing it in the shower.
It is normal for nipple piercings to become crusty, so many men and women choose a daily sterile saline bath. Grab a bottle of sterile saline and a shot glass, or attempt Thompson’s DIY: Mix half a teaspoon of sea salt in a large cup of warm water until dissolved, then fill a shot glass or cup with the mix, cup above the nipple and let it soak for as long as you would like. “You can not [overdo] this — it is terrific for speeding up the recovery process,” Thompson says. Still getting crusty after six months? Consider updating your jewelry; it might be a mild allergic reaction.
Avoid rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, ointment, or anything else you might use to treat a wound. Repeat after us: Soap, saline, soft bras — and no touching!
How can you know whether your nipple is infected and you will need to visit a physician, or if it is just irritated or healing gradually?
Thompson notes that a disease is much less common as you may think, and many aggravation is probably from an allergic reaction to cheap jewelry, while inflammation and pain could be out of a too-small barbell. This is what he tells his customers: A real infection will lead to a small fever, swollen lymph nodes, or a piercing that is red, inflamed, and painful. If something feels off, it’s — along with the nipple isn’t a place to take risks. Call your piercer when you suspect a problem rather than be shy about calling your primary care doctor for information — that’s what they are there for.
Can you alter your jewelry yourself?
“Yes, once it is healed and you are feeling confident, it is totally fine to switch your jewelry out yourself,” Thompson says. The only caveat? “Do not take too much time to do it.” The nipple, particularly in the first year, could begin to close up in a couple of minutes. As a result of this, Thompson proposes letting a pro change your jewellery the first couple of times.
Will the hole shut if you remove the jewelry Later on?
The majority of the time, even if the nipple is treated and you have had the piercing for decades, the hole will close up — quickly. There are exceptions, of course, and a few holes remain open for years without jewellery, but it is pretty uncommon.
What happens if You Must have a non-related medical procedure that requires elimination of the piercing?
You can buy a ‘retainer,’ that is essentially a glass barbell which won’t interrupt a procedure (such as an MRI or operation) and take care of the hole.
Level with us: Just how long can you and your S.O. actually need to wait until touching ’em?
Thompson notes that the people who touch it, the better, to restrict foreign germs. In other words: Try to avoid letting a whole lot of arbitrary hook-ups feel you up for awhile. “At least go three or four weeks and try to keep it to a minimum,” Thompson explains, “but it is not like you must go six months.” And of course, wash your hands before touching your nipples.
Does the piercing create your nipple more sensitive?
Yes and no. The nervous system is what makes your nipples more sensitive, he explains, so it does not actually make them more sensitive, but it does make them stand out longer and makes you more aware of these, so for a few, this is more than enough to make a noticeable difference. Needless to say, many people do report they’re significantly more sensitive afterwards, so this response is not so black and white.
Let us talk about scarring. What are the very best and worst case scenarios?
Any piercing will leave a mark, but you can minimize it with good care. “If they are done properly and you do not have any response to the metal, they’ll be quite minimal and most people won’t even notice,” Thompson says. However, complications and genetics may cause keloids or hypertrophic scarring, and again, it might reject, leaving you with a terrible scar which would require surgery to try to fix. “With every sort of piercing, you need to remember that they’re repercussions and scars can occur,” he says.
Once they’re healed, can you breastfeed?
“This is my most frequent question — and the answer is yes,” Thompson says. It’s correct that it shouldn’t affect your ability to breastfeed, but that is not to say that a nipple piercing can not cause complications. Again, there are risks and scarring and complications can occur.
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