Dear Alley is our weekly advice column for pierced, inked, and amazing individuals (and everyone else too!) who might need a nudge in the right direction. Relationships, mods, or whatever, Alley's got you covered :).
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Disclaimer: Body Candy is only here to give you fun and helpful advice and information when it comes to getting pierced. Always consult a professional piercer to make sure a new piercing is right for you!
I would like to get a nipple piercing, however I’m kinda scared because I've had piercings before (tragus and helix) and they either didn’t heal at all or I think my body rejected them.
Can you please give me an advice with this? I really, really want a nipple piercing,
Alley: Hi Khrystal!
Nipple piercings are cool, so I can totally see wanting to get one... But I agree, the thought of yet another lost/rejected mod is kind of scary. Ultimately this decision will be up to you and your professional piercer, but here are a few of my thoughts:
A nipple piercing is much different from a tragus or helix piercing. Both the tragus and the helix are located in your ear cartilage, which is an area of your body that is notoriously tough to heal. Ear cartilage has a lower amount of blood supply (as opposed to something like a navel ring), which means they can take a really long time to heal correctly - up to a year in some cases.
A lot of things can complicate your healing time - maybe you slept on the wrong side or bumped your ear one too many times... I'm missing a key fact here - I don't know how long you had your cartilage piercings before you took them out... So although it's certainly possible that your body rejected your piercings, you might also just not have given your body enough time to heal up.
This same approach can be applied to getting a nipple piercing. Even though they are located in a fleshy area of the body with plenty of blood supply, they also tend to take a surprisingly long time to heal up, again, sometimes up to a year. If you had a tough time with aftercare in your ear cartilage, consider having that same experience with your nipple - is that something you're ready for?
I think you can handle it! If you're worried, stop into your professional piercing shop and have a consult with a piercer you trust. Be honest and them know your past experiences with your cartilage piercings. They'll help you make the decision that's best for your body.
Love, - Alley
I had my cartilage pierced on Oct 18th, it's now February and it is still tender at times..... How long before I don't have any tenderness at all?
Some days I'll wake up and say finally this may be my lucky day because I feel no tenderness, then the next day it will be tender again, Ugh... Thank you for your time.
Alley: Hi Jayne!
Just like with Khrystal above, you're dealing with an ear cartilage piercing, which is notoriously hard to heal. October to February is only four (4) months, which seems like a long time but actually isn't in terms of piercings... It's a long time to be in pain though, and for that, I feel for you!
I'm gonna give it to you straight - it might be frustrating to hear, but even in a best case scenario, you'd be looking at another two (2) months-ish (give-or-take) before you could even start to consider your ear healed.
In the meantime, there are a few other reasons you might be experiencing a lot of soreness. Are you sleeping on your piercing? Do you toss and turn at night? Do you wear hats, hoods, bandanas, or other headgear? Anything that might put pressure on or jostle your earring is going to make you feel a bit more tender in the AM.
One last thing - if you think your ear is infected or it hurts more than usual - it might be time to see your doctor or professional piercer.
With nipple piercings how much of the barbell should be visible from each side of the nipple? Should there be any visible or not?
Alley: Hi Alexis, great question!
As a general rule of thumb, there should be a bit of bar showing from either side of the barbell, especially right after getting pierced (think 2 or 3mm)... This bit of extra room allows for your nipple to swell, drain, and essentially "breathe" during the healing process. If a barbell's ball ends are pressed up tightly to the nipple, it may cause complications. You'll find that your nipple piercings will be prone to swelling throughout the healing process, and they will appreciate that bit of extra space.
The tricky part of this question is that it's not a perfect science... Only because everyone's nipples, areolae, and breast tissue are different. All of these factors come into play when a piercer is choosing a length that's right for your anatomy - so let them make that decision for you.
In terms of aesthetics, it's personal preference, there's no right or wrong way to wear a nipple barbell. If anything, this is reason to have nipple jewelry in a few different lengths to accommodate for this fluctuation.