Nipple piercing

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A nipple with a barbell piercing

A nipple piercing is a piercing, centered usually at the base of the nipple. It can be pierced at any angle but is usually done horizontally or, less often, vertically. It is also possible to place multiple piercings on top of one another. A nipple piercing typically takes 3-6 months to fully heal. Some people have noted that they can take up to a year and a half to fully heal. It's recommended that if stretching a nipple piercing, the piercee waits at least the healing time of their piercings between stretches.

Jewelry rejection

The nipple is fleshy enough to pierce securely behind plenty of skin to prevent rejection. However, if the jewelry gauge is too thin or the piercing isn't deep enough to begin with, there is a risk of rejection. Metal allergies could cause it to reject. Problems with infections and/or too much tugging and pulling on it could also cause it to reject.


The perforation of the nipple to apply jewelry has been practiced by various native people throughout history. Male nipple piercing was reported to be done by the Karankawa Indians, female nipple piercing is practiced by the Kabyle people in Algeria.

The earliest accounts of nipple piercing in western culture date back to the 14th century. During that time a fashion trend arose, which considered very deep cleavage as fashionable. Oftentimes even the nipples were exposed in these dresses. Queen Isabeau of Bavaria was the first to pierce her visible nipple for decoration purposes.

Years later, during the Victorian period around 1890, the fashion evolved again. It became popular to apply Anneux De Sein, small diamond rings or gold chains, to the nipples. Before this trend was popularized, it was mainly practiced by the upper class.

During the late 1990s the practice revived again and nipple piercing became fashionable once more. The popularity it enjoys in present times is partly due to celebrities who publicly displayed their piercings or confessed to have one such as Tommy Lee or Lenny Kravitz .

Nipple piercing and breastfeeding

A common question among women who consider nipple piercings is how it may affect breastfeeding. There is no evidence that proper nipple piercings cause any complications with lactation. However, it is recommended that good care is taken to prevent infection by using a piercing professional and good body piercing aftercare. Frequent re-piercings can also damage the nipple and cause complications. It is also recommended that the piercing be healed before breastfeeding. Most body piercing professionals will refuse to pierce a pregnant woman for this reason and because piercing causes stress on the body that could potentially complicate a pregnancy.

Several complications have been noted involving breastfeeding with a piercing present, so it is recommended to remove nipple jewelry before nursing. Several complications resulting from nursing with nipple jewelry inserted can include poor latch, slurping, gagging, and milk leaking from the baby's mouth. It can also be a potential choking hazard for the baby. As the baby sucks, the ends on a barbell (if worn) may come loose and could possibly lodge in the baby's throat (a captive bead ring, properly inserted, would lessen the risk of anything becoming loose, falling out, and lodging in the throat). The baby's gums and tongue as well as the soft and hard palate could be injured by the jewelry.
Janet Jackson's exposed breast


  • A nipple piercing gained considerable media attention after Super Bowl XXXVIII, during which Janet Jackson exposed her right breast on which she had a nipple shield applied to a piercing. This incident is humorously called Nipplegate - Wikipedia entry .
  • Nicole Richie set off an alarm at the Reno Airport as she passed a metal detector with her nipple piercing
  • The singer Pink had her nipple pierced backstage after a concert in the presence of her mother. The whole scene was filmed and later published on the internet.
  • Britney Spears gained some media attention as she organized a "nipple piercing party" for her staff on Valentines Day 2004
  • Christina Aguilera once had a nipple ring (purportedly exposed by a man in a donald duck costume, though the picture was later proven a fake) but had it taken out after she married Jordan Bratman.
Also see the page [ Body piercing ]

External links

Barbell.jpg This article is about Body Piercings and their care

See Piercing for an index of other articles

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