The length of the healing period varies for nipple piercing, with a minimum of three months for males and a minimum of six months for females, according to Elayne Angel, the author of "The Piercing Bible: The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing." Depending on your immune system, care of your piercings and overall health, your nipple piercings can heal within the minimum period or continue the healing process for one year or longer.
Nipple piercings are a unisex piercing located on the chest. The piercer inserts the jewelry after piercing the nipple at the bottom, directly above where the areola meets the nipple. The placement varies from person to person, depending on your anatomy. When piercing a pair of nipples, the piercer may mark the placement of one nipple higher or lower than the other nipple. Your nipples are most likely unsymmetrical, and the piercer can mark the placement to portray the illusion of symmetrical piercings. The areola of your nipple should never be pierced, as the piercing is too deep and can cause infection or mastitis.
Depending on the size and shape of your nipples, the piercer chooses jewelry that is safe and comfortable for your healing period after the piercing. For the initial piercing, women with large breasts should wear barbells instead of captive bead rings or circular barbells, commonly called horseshoes. The weight of the ring jewelry on women with large breasts can cause irritation or migration, a process in which the skin becomes thin as the body rejects the jewelry, according to Infinite Body Piercing. Men and women with small nipples, not possessing enough tissue to support jewelry, will be refused by a professional piercer to avoid healing issues or a problematic piercing. The gauge, or thickness, of the jewelry also depends on your anatomy. Your nipples may be pierced with 14-, 12- or 10-gauge jewelry.
Professional piercers place traditional nipple piercings horizontally inside the nipple. A variation of the nipple piercings is piercing the tissue vertically. A piercer can combine two piercings in each nipple, one horizontal and one vertical, to form a diamond shape with barbells. The horizontal and vertical piercings can be placed at an angle or slant to resemble a square.
When visiting the piercer for a nipple piercing, you should anticipate spending at least one hour at the shop. Filling out paperwork and an anatomy consultation with the piercer occurs before the nipple piercing process begins. Once you are in the piercing room, the piercer will explain how to care for your nipple piercings. After cleaning and marking the placement for your nipple piercings, the nipple piercing and jewelry insertion is performed. You may feel dizzy or nauseous after the piercing, and the piercer will not allow you to leave the shop until you are feeling OK. Asking a friend to drive you to and from the piercing shop is a good precaution to take in case you feel ill after the nipple-piercing procedure.
A common misconception about nipple piercings concerns the act of breastfeeding. While most people believe that breastfeeding is not an option after having nipple piercings, this is not true, according to the Association of Professional Piercers. Nipple piercings do not affect the ability to nurse a child, and only one issue results from having nipple piercings during feeding. The jewelry in your nipples can be a choking hazard for your child if a bead or ball becomes loose. Removing the jewelry before breastfeeding eliminates the risk of a child choking while breastfeeding.