Here's How Long A Nipple Piercing Takes To Heal

Some say nipple piercings originated as an act of rebellion, women showing the world that their breasts were not only for breastfeeding. Others trace its beginnings back to the 14th century queen of France, Isabella of Bavaria (via Vice). Despite how they came into society, nipple piercings have enjoyed a wavering type of popularity over the years. In more recent times, celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Rihanna have brought more attention to the trend, per Urban Body Jewelry

People get their nipples pierced for various reasons. You could just be curious about the piercing world and want to start with your nipples, or maybe you want to spice things up in the bedroom with some sexy jewelry, according to Fresh Trends. Perhaps you want to add to your already existing list of body piercings and you've left your nipples for last. 

Whatever the reason, there are some things you should know before getting a nipple piercing, one of which is the time it takes to heal. 

A nipple piercing typically takes about a year to heal

Although the piercing can heal within four to six months, the maximum time period for a nipple piercing to fully heal could be anywhere between nine months and a year, so you're going to have to prepare for a long recovery time (via Urban Body Jewelry). There are also cases when the process can take longer, per Freshtrends

Brian Keith Thompson, the owner of Body Electric Tattoo, is a piercer who's worked with many celebrity clients. Speaking to Refinery29, he shares that for some people, there is also the chance the nipple piercing won't ever take. Your body could start rejecting the jewelry, and it's important to keep an eye out for warning signs, according to Healthline. If there's lots of pain or swelling, if the piercing area becomes inflamed, or if it secretes foul-smelling fluid, you should see a doctor. 

While the initial piercing itself is painful for a few seconds, the discomfort gradually subsides if correct aftercare is followed. Pain tolerance varies from person to person, which is why there are some piercings that are better suited for people who don't like pain. Caring for a piercing becomes even more important when the site is your nipple. Unlike other areas, your nipples are far more sensitive. Changing out jewelry or stopping the aftercare before the piercing is fully healed can set your healing process back, warns Freshtrends.

Here's how to care for your nipple piercing so it heals properly

When your piercing site is new and vulnerable to catching bacteria is when you should be paying the closest attention to aftercare, per Healthline. A professional piercer would likely get you started with the essentials, but here are a few things to keep in mind. 

It's important to rinse the area with warm, clean water every day. Use a gentle cleanser or just plain salt and water to clean the piercing, recommend#s Freshtrends. In fact, soaking your nipple in saline solution poured into a small glass is recommended, in addition to the daily washing. According to celebrity piercer Brian Keith Thompson, you can't do too much of this. "It's great for speeding up the healing process," he tells Refinery29. Avoid using harsh and abrasive chemicals in the cleaning process like rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or even tea tree oil. Also, don't apply ointments that are not recommended by a doctor. 

Touching the area or letting anyone else touch the site is a big no-no. It might also be best to avoid pools and baths (via Healthline). Keeping bacteria away from the piercing site should be high on your list of priorities when it comes to aftercare. Your choice of clothing plays an important role too — opt for loose-fitting cotton tops that provide ventilation and prevent friction, but wear supportive bras during activity or when you're going to bed.