All About Nipple Piercings
Nipple Rings and Things
A woman flying from Texas was forced by TSA to remove her nipple rings with pliers. Even 20+ years after nipple piercing started to become mainstream, many people still don't know anything about them. In fact, the most an average person knows about nipple piercings is probably just a vague memory of something sparkling on Janet Jackson's breast during her unfortunate "wardrobe malfunction" during the Super Bowl back in 2004.
Nipple piercings are not casual body modifications. It's not like having your ears pierced. They take months to heal and removing the jewelry often requires the use of specialized pliers made for opening and closing the thick rings.
Below, I describe the piercing process and answer some frequently asked questions. I also share tips about flying or being scanned or put through a metal detector. If you have questions, you can ask them in the comments at the bottom of the article.
Nipple Piercing Step-by-StepClick thumbnail to view full-size
How Are Nipples Pierced?
Nipple piercing is a fairly straightforward and easy body modification procedure. No anesthetics are used (as their use is regulated and restricted to doctors) so it is actually illegal for body piercers to use anesthetics. The piercing itself takes only a few seconds.
First, the nipple area is cleaned and marked so that entry and exit holes for the ring are located and lined up properly. These piercings are most often set at the base of the nipple where it joins the aureola.
Next, a medical clamp called a Pennington forcep is applied to the nipple, holding the tissue firmly and lining up the two dots for the holes as closely together as possible.
Holding a cork on one side to catch the needle, the piercer quickly does the actual piercing with a slant-tip hollow needle. Nipple piercings need to be at least 14g in thickness to prevent tissue tearing.
The clamp is removed and the needle is almost all the way through the piercing. Then the ring is butted up against the end of the needle and is used to push the needle out, allowing the ring to slide smoothly into place.
The captured bead ring is then in place and is ready to have a bead inserted between the two ends and be pinched closed.
A Shared Nipple Piercing Experience
Nipple Piercing Aftercare & Jewelry
What kind of jewelry is best for a new nipple piercing?
When nipples are first pierced, the best jewelry to wear is a captured bead ring. This allows for the easiest aftercare and cleaning for the healing piercing.
How long does it take to heal?
For men, a pierced nipple can take three to six months on average to heal. For women, it can take six months to a year. Everyone's body is different, so be sure to discuss any specific concerns with your piercer BEFORE you get pierced.
What size jewelry is used in a nipple piercing?
Nipple jewelry should be 14g to start, as thinner wire may migrate out or risk getting caught and ripping the nipple tissue.
Can you enlarge or gauge your nipple piercing?
If you wish to enlarge or "gauge" your nipple piercings, it's best done by going to a professional body piercer and having the piercings sized up one gauge at a time, with at least a month in-between enlargements. Go up too fast and you risk tearing the tissue and having to go through a prolonged re-healing period.
When can I change the jewelry?
Once healed, the jewelry can be changed, and with nipples there are many options. The most popular options after captive bead rings are straight and circular barbells. Make sure with straight bars that the jewelry is about 1/16" longer than the nipple diameter for comfort, and so that the ball ends don't dig into the tissue. With barbells, dangles and nipple shields can be worn. Both of these are pieces of jewelry that hang from or held on by the actual barbell, so you'll want a tad extra length if you have either of these in mind.
How do I remove my nipple jewelry?
If you wear captive bead rings, be sure to get special ring spreaders (a form of pliers) and ball closure pliers so that you can change your jewelry yourself. These ensure the jewelry can be opened and closed safely for the wearer and keep the jewelry from being deformed or damaged by the removal process.
Will Nipple Jewelry Be a Problem If I Want to Fly on an Airplane?
Controversy about nipple rings and airline security stemmed from an incident in 2008 when TSA security screeners in Texas forced a woman to remove her nipple rings, telling her she would be barred from the flight if she didn't.
No one was sure why just nipple piercings were suddenly an air safety threat when nose, navel, or genital piercings weren't considered to be an issue, however TSA backed their agents up and refused to apologize to the traveler.
Will my nipple ring set off a metal detector?
Body piercings aren't detectable by walk-thru doorway-style metal detectors, but will register if a person is scanned with a hand-held wand. What this means is that hundreds of nipple piercings a day fly without being detected, but pierced people who get randomly selected for extra screening may have to endure having their pierced parts inspected. Remember, inspections should be done by same-sex security agents (guys check guys, women check women) and they are supposed to request that you only disrobe enough to show the nipple piercings. They shouldn't have to touch your body.
About Nipple Piercings
- Nipple piercing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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.
- Pierced Nipples and Stretching Nipple Piercings
detailed info and pictures of male and female pierced nipples along with information on stretching nipple piercings to wear larger gauge jewelry.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2008 Raye