Though not incredibly common, the nipple can be one of the exotic places to get a piercing. However, nipple piercing takes a prolonged time, generally 8 to 16 weeks, to heal properly.
‘When can I change my nipple rings?’ is one of the most asked questions among those who just have had their nipple pierced. However, you’ve to be careful not to rush it if your nipple is not ready to handle it.
Have you been eyeing on various fancy nipple jewelry online and awaiting desperately to wear one? We’ve got you covered. Here, we will help you analyze whether or not you are ready to change your nipple rings.
Is your nipple still sore to touch?
If your nipple is still sore to touch, you must discard the thought of changing your nipple ring for a few weeks more. Sore nipple not only indicates unhealed nipple but also signifies the presence of infection if accompanied by other symptoms such as swelling and hotness.
So, if your nipple feels still terribly sore, keep following your after-care schedule and give it a little more time to heal.
Are you suffering from often nipple discharges?
Yellowish or whitish discharge is often lymph fluid that indicates that your piercing is healing. Lymph discharge is noticeable for several days after the piercing.
However, if the discharge continues for a long time, make sure to rule out if you’re having an allergy against your nipple jewelry.
Likewise, crusting is often noticeable for months during healing. Crusts are dead blood cells and plasma that dries up after coming in contact with air. If you are still noticing crusts despite cleaning your piercing religiously, your piercing might not have healed completely yet.
Was your healing process smooth, or did it hit a few bumps?
Piercing infections are not uncommon, especially if you keep touching your piercing with dirty hands. The more trauma your piercing went through, the longer is the healing time.
Nipple piercing infection is often accompanied by hotness around the nipple, swelling, pain, and greenish or brownish discharge out of your piercing.
Infection mainly occurs when bacteria is introduced to the piercing and may demand regular disinfection with antiseptics or even a course of antibiotics depending upon its severity. Your nipple might need a few more weeks to heal completely if it had been infected before during the healing process.
If you notice your piercing has become infected, it is recommended that you soon visit a doctor, not a piercer, as quickly as possible.
Another typical bump you might have hit during your healing process is metal allergy. If your initial nipple ring contained nickel (the most common culprit for metal allergy) to which you experienced an allergic reaction and had to visit a piercer to change the ring, your healing process might be a few weeks lengthier.
Did you follow after-care instructions religiously?
If you’ve followed after-care instructions routinely, your nipple piercing is definitely healing at a faster rate. You might not have encountered hurdles such as infections, and if it has been long enough, the soreness and discharge might not be prominent.
On the other hand, if you’ve not been following after-care instructions seriously, you must give some more time until you decide to change the nipple ring by yourself.
How long has it been since you had your nipple pierced?
Though nipple piercing is known to heal around the period of 8 to 16 weeks, it is best to wait for at least a year before you change your nipple jewelry on your own.
However, if your healing was smooth and you are not experiencing soreness or any discharges, you can even change the nipple ring around nine months after the piercing.
Most importantly, check on your fistula by observing the entries of your nipple piercing. If the entries are tight and have gained their musculature and elasticity, which usually happens after a year of piercing, you’ll have no hard time changing the nipple ring.
What happens if you change your nipple ring too soon?
Changing a nipple ring before your nipple has healed properly might irritate and inflame your piercing. This further delays the time of healing, thus, causing a significant setback.
On top of that, if you remove the initial stud and insert the new ring in a young piercing, you might scratch the soft, delicate tissue inside of the piercing. Since nipple is a sensitive place to play with, you have to be aware of your actions and not hinder the natural process of healing.
What to do if you need to have your piercing changed urgently?
In cases of metal allergy, piercing rejection, or if the length of the barbells has become problematic, you should always opt to visit a professional and trust-worthy piercer to have your nipple ring changed.
The piercer will then decide the type of jewelry that solves the problem and then replace the initial stud without irritating your piercing.
What can you do to heal your nipple piercing fast?
If you’ve realized that you shouldn’t be upgrading your nipple ring yet, don’t be disheartened either. We will share with you some great after-care tips that will not only prevent your piercing from infection but also helps to heal your piercing fast.
1. Don’t touch the piercing with your hands
It is the most basic rule of all. Whatever’s the case, keep your hands away from the piercing. In case you have to, always sanitize your hands properly or wear gloves.
2. Wear soft and loose cotton clothing
Soft and loose cotton clothing are less likely to irritate your piercing which makes them the best choice of cloth to wear during your healing period.
3. Wear a padded bra during physical activities
If you have to run, gym or do any sort of physical exercise that involves your breast movement, make sure to wear a perfect-fit padded bra. It will make sure to limit the movement and reduces the chances of your nipple rubbing against the bra.
4. Clean your piercing regularly
Use a sea-salt based saline spray to 3 to 6 times a day to get rid of debris and crusts from the piercing.
5. Soak your piercing in a sea salt soak twice every day
Make a saline solution by adding four tablespoons of non-iodized sea salt into a gallon of distilled water. Mix the solution and pour it into a shot glass. Make sure that it is warm or at body-temperature. Finally, push the cup into your skin covering the nipple and create a suction effect.
After 7 to 10 mins, remove the cup and rinse the area with water or pat dry using a clean towel or a tissue.
How to safely change your nipple ring?
However, if you’re confident that your nipple piercing has healed completely and it’s time for you to try some blingy and fancy nipple rings, we’ve got some great tips for you to make your first nipple ring replacement easy and painless.
1. Massage with emu oil
Massaging your nipple with emu oil starting 2-3 weeks before changing the nipple ring will help to maintain the elasticity of the fistula and makes it more flexible for easy insertion of your new ring.
2. Use a taper
While changing your nipple jewelry for the first time, a jewelry taper can come very handy.
3. Alternate the threading of old and new jewelry
If your old jewelry has internal threading, buy new jewelry with external threading and vice versa. It allows you to skip taper.
Firstly, remove an end of the old jewelry, attach one end of the new jewelry to the remaining end of the one. Finally unscrew and push the old ring outwards and insert the other end of your new ring.
4. Use the same gauge of new jewelry
It is not advisable to insert a thicker nipple ring into your piercing on your first upgrade. Make sure that the gauge of your new jewelry and the starter jewelry is the same.
What type of jewelry to choose during your first upgrade?
If you’re experiencing some form of irritation occasionally, you should stick to straight barbells instead of captives, danglers or nipple shields that are heavy and pulls the nipple downwards. For a first-timer, the later ones are difficult to put in as well.
Likewise, you should go for threaded jewelry if your starter jewelry is threaded. Finally, make sure to check the metal composition in the new jewelry and rule out those containing nickel if you have experienced metal allergy during the healing process.
As you’ve known by now, how soon you can change your nipple rings depends upon your body, its healing mechanism, and your after-care schedule.
It is not at all advisable to change your nipple piercing on your own if you want to change it right after 2-3 months. However, you can visit a professional piercer and have your rings changed sooner free-of-cost or at a small amount of charge.