How does nipple piercing work?

Written by paul bright
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It isn't unusual to see someone with their ears pierced. Many malls have shops with ear piercing stations. But what about piercing other body parts like your nipples? Is it the same process, or do you need special tools?

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Sizes and Styles

Typical nipple jewellery consists of at least a bar with small balls that screw on either end to keep the bar from falling out. Other jewellery options include horseshoe-shaped pieces with flared ends. To avoid infections, nipple jewellery is often made of surgical steel.

Nipple jewellery is measured by gauges. The larger the gauge number, the smaller the piercing. A two-gauge bar is approximately ¼ of an inch in diameter, whereas a 20-gauge bar is about 1/32 of an inch.

The Process and Healing

Nipple piercing utilises a few small pieces of equipment: a clamp, a hollow needle, the nipple jewellery, something to mark with and disinfectant. The procedure first involves sterilising the nipple, the areola (the area around the nipple) and the piercing needle itself. Some people prefer to also numb the area with ice to make the initial entry a little less painful.

Once the entire area is sterilised, the piercer would mark the entry and exit points of the needle. He would then stick the clamps (which resemble miniature tongs) onto the nipple to make the nipple flesh wider and to stabilise the nipple. Once the clamp is secure, the piercer would stick in a hollow needle through the marked entry and exit points.

After a few seconds, the piercer would insert the actual bar or needle that the wearer has chosen. The inserted jewellery bar would push out the hollow needle. He would then take the clamp and hold one end in place while screwing one ball and then switching sides, completing the piercing process.

A nipple piercing can take anywhere from a month to two months for healing. It is recommended to avoid touching the piercing during this time because it will be extremely tender. It should be cleaned twice a day with antibacterial, fragrance-free soap. See the Resources section below for further care instructions.

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