It is said that it takes about 6 months to a year for a nipple piercing to heal completely. However, how do you tell when the piercing is fully healed? What are the tell-tale signs of a healed nipple? Should you press on the nipple piercing to tell whether it’s healed or not? And most importantly, how much longer do you have to wait for the piercing to heal if you have an infection a few weeks/ months after getting the nipple pierced?
You are in luck because this article is dedicated to you; we’ll share insights into all you need to know about the healing process and times of nipple piercings. So, you should be able to determine whether the piercing is healed or not, and if it’s time for a jewelry change.
How do I know if my nipple piercing is healed?
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Generally, there is no standard healing timeline for nipple piercing, but the piercings are often expected to start healing after some time.
If you’ve had the piercing for about three months and you haven’t had issues with the piercing, cleaning it twice each day with sea salt soaks as recommended, it means that the piercing is healing well, and that is a good start. The healing should also be on the right course if there hasn’t been any form of physical trauma inflicted on the nipples, as long as you have been handling and cleaning the nipples correctly.
You might not want to hear this, but there is no perfect procedure for determining whether the piercing well, except for the option of checking the edges of the piercing and whether those edges look healed or not. It’s also important to remember that the nipple is very sensitive, and a lot could go wrong if you mishandle thigs, especially if your hands are not clean.
We recommend checking for signs of complete healing after about 6 months or between 6 months and a year. You can tell that the piercing is healing well if there is no puss or crusties around the edges of the piercing jewelry.
But even with the standard timelines, remember that we all heal at different speeds, and there are many factors that determine how long it will take for a piercing to heal. Other people report long healing times of up to 2 years.
What to do if my nipple piercing is healing slowly?
If you are getting your nipple/ nipples pierced, you need to be ready for the long healing times. Unlike ear piercings, which might take weeks to heal fully, nipple piercings will take months to heal, and you should only get the piercing is you can sign up for this.
So, be ready for long healing times of 6-12 months or longer. Depending on your body, 6 or 8 months could be a long or normal healing time. The time is also largely affected by the type of nipple jewelry you choose.
A ring is subjected to torque and rotation, and that would mean a longer healing time compared to the time it would take to heal if you had a barbell on.
But what do you need to do is the healing is taking forever?
Well, there really isn’t much you could do to speed up the healing process, other than being careful with how you treat it, and also, you need to follow all the after-care instructions accordingly. We are talking about soaking the piercing in sea salt two times every day.
It’s also important to be aware of the healing process. Here are the 4 standard steps for a healing nipple piercing.
- Discomfort (especially during periods for women)
- Crusting (this is a natural process that comes from the lymph fluid made by the body to promote healing).
You should also expect pain. It will be intense and sharp in the beginning, but the pain will fade with time. You could take pain medication, apply an ice pack to reduce swelling, and don’t forget the sea salt soak.
Slow healing might also be brought about by an infection. Actually, infections are the primary reason for slow-healing nipple piercings. If you are unsure about the slow-healing of the piercing, check it for swelling, warm/ hotness, redness, sensitivity, and discharge. In extremes, the infection could be signaled by an inflamed lymph node in your armpit, and if you sit on it, things could get gruesome because you might start seeing brown or green discharge.
If you suspect an infection, start by cleaning the area with an antiseptic solution at least three times daily. You also need to apply a topical antibiotic. However, for a severe infection, you should go to your doctor fast. You will get an antibiotic. Now, depending on the severity, the nipple piercing will take an additional week or months to heal properly.
Note that a nipple piercing that is healing properly will have white fluid discharge or a crust from lymph fluid. And a year-long healing period isn’t a stretch.
Also, a bump on the piercing doesn’t mean an infection. However, if you can actually see the bump, you have to consider seeing your doctor because you might be dealing with granuloma, a keloid, pustule, or a hypertrophic scar. Get checked to be in the clear. Never self-diagnose.
Nipple Piercing – Tips and Advice
- Rinse the piercing in the sea salt warm water bath at least twice daily
- Rinse it a few times daily with warm, clean water, and a gentle, preferably unscented then dry the area gently with a clean towel or paper towels
- Wear loose cotton clothes for the first few months
- Be careful as you dress
- Avoid substances or medications with potential blood-thinning effects, for example, caffeine, alcohol, or aspirin.
- Don’t immerse the piercing into a bath, pool, even the spa
- Do not smoke; nicotine slows down healing
- Avoid harsh cleaning solutions and bar soaps
- Don’t touch the piercing or areas around it with your hands
- Avoid OTC creams and ointments
- Don’t remove the jewelry trying to break off crusting
The healing of your nipple piercing will not happen overnight or in a few weeks. You must be patient with your body, take care of the piercing, and follow all the best practices recommended above. And if you are planning to get your nipple pierced soon, look for a professional piercer who knows what they are doing.
For more piercing tips, visit this page. Our piercing expert in our team also covers this topic: How Do You Know if Your Nipple Piercing is Infected?
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