How to Heal a Nipple Piercing

Nipple piercings vie with navel piercings as the most popular below-the-neck body adornment. They can take a long time to heal completely--from three to four months for men and six to nine months for women. Your piercer should give you a detailed aftercare regimen to follow for taking care of your new piercing, but there are some generally accepted guidelines to follow.

A couple is in a tattoo and piercing parlor. (Image: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

Daily Cleaning

Step 1

Wash your hands with hot water and antimicrobial cleanser or Castile soap before touching the piercing site.

Step 2

Rinse your nipple piercing with hot water. This is often easiest to do in the shower. Let the water loosen any dried and crusty material around the ring. Use a Q-tip to remove such material if necessary.

Step 3

Place a few drops of antimicrobial cleanser or Castile soap on either side of the piercing jewelry. Wash both the exposed parts of the jewelry and the entrance and exit holes carefully. Do not force the jewelry to move or rotate.

Step 4

Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of soap residue. Let air dry if possible; otherwise, dab dry with a paper towel.

Daily Salt Soak

Step 1

Combine 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. sea salt and 1 cup hot water in a small cup.

Step 2

Place the cup against the piercing so that the jewelry and entrance/exit holes are completely submerged.

Step 3

Soak for three to five minutes.

Step 4

Rinse thoroughly with tepid water.

Step 5

Air dry or dab dry with a paper towel.

Things You'll Need

  • Chloroxylenol-based antimicrobial cleanser

  • Castile soap

  • Q-Tip

  • Paper towel

  • Sea salt (non-iodized)

  • Water

  • Cup


Nipple piercings often heal better, or at least feel more comfortable during healing, when provided with firm support from a tight undershirt or seamless bra. Wear this garment even at night for best results.

Nipple piercings are often quite tight while healing; this is completely normal and not a sign of any problem. Never force your jewelry to move--this can damage your nipple tissue and prolong your healing process.

Women may find that their piercings flare up just prior to or during menstruation.


Do not use aloe vera gel, antibiotic creams, rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on your piercing.

Do not go swimming or hot-tubbing until your piercing is completely healed. Shower rather than bathe if possible.

If you believe your piercing is infected, for example, it looks red and feels warm or tender to the touch--call your piercer for advice. Most infections are minor and easily resolved, so do not remove the jewelry unless specifically advised to do so.

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