Good hygiene is key.
There's no doubt that I stan Rihanna. It should be a sin to be that breathtakingly stunning. Let's not forget her skin is also d*mn near blemish-free. Seriously, what is this woman's skin regimen? I'm not alone in my love for RiRi. Women already fawn over every part of Rihanna's look. But, ever since her two-part music video for "Work," it seems some people want Rihanna's nipples, too. "Appointments spike when a new celebrity shows off her pierced nipples," Brian Keith Thompson, chief piercing officer at Body Electric tattoo and piercing salon in L.A., told Women's Health. But truth be told, getting your nipples pierced requires research and mental preparation beforehand.
As a reckless 18-year-old, I wanted body jewelry identical to Rihanna's. However, the thought of a 12-gauge needle puncturing my nipples sounded excruciating and stopped me in my tracks. I opted for a sternum piercing instead.
Even though I never took the plunge myself, enough of my friends have squeezed my hand through the pain of a piercing for me to understand that rocking a nipple piercing is no small feat. There's a lot you should know before you go there. If you decide to get your nipples pierced, have a long and thorough talk with your piercer before, so you know exactly what's expected, and consider the following:
1. Your nipple piercing will hurt, but only briefly.
Even if your pain tolerance is high, the piercing will likely be painful. Like any piercing, a needle has to puncture the skin, which naturally causes some discomfort. Depending on your pain threshold, that discomfort can feel like anything from a firm pinch to a pretty uncomfortable experience.
Don't psych yourself out, however, because the pain won't linger too long. Infinite Body Piercing Inc. likens the pain of a nipple piercing to a "really hard, quick bite." Just expect to go braless for about a day afterward to let your breasts breathe. Also, remember that nipple piercings aren't like earrings. You should expect to have a professional piercer's help changing jewelry. Nipples without any jewelry will close up rapidly.
2. Beware of knitted sweaters and mesh tops snagging on your nipple piercing.
Fact: Rihanna can wear anything. She's unafraid to toss her bra to the wind and pull on a mesh crop top, even if her nipple jewelry gets caught in the fabric.
However, for us mere mortals, some items in your closet can be your nipple piercing's worst enemy. For those of you who never wear bras, rethink that sweater that snags on your regular jewelry — odds are, it'll snag your nipple jewelry, too. During the year-long healing process, make sure you wear a sports bra at night and a bra during the day to ensure the piercing is safe and secure.
Snagging your chest jewelry is like stubbing your pinky toe at three in the morning: immediate agony. If you do snag or rip out your nipple piercing, quickly clean the area and reinsert the jewelry if you're able to. If you have trouble, immediately head back to the piercing shop and let a pro piercer handle it.
3. Good nipple piercing hygiene is key.
Remember how much it hurt when your ear piercings got all inflamed when you were 12? Imagine that feeling in one of your body's most sensitive areas, but only for a day or so — that is, if you make sure to cleanse it regularly. Make sure to keep your piercing clean, using either pre-mixed or DIY saline solution and soaking the area one to three times per day. As with most piercings, expect a bit of crustiness for the first few weeks. If you're a workout junkie, make sure to clean your nipples after spin class.
Sex is fine post-piercing, but be sure to keep hands and fluids away from your nipples (seriously) until they're mostly healed. You don't want to take any chances. Good sleep and a healthy diet will also help recharge your body's immune system, allowing your piercings to heal properly. In about nine months to one year, the piercing should be fully healed.
4. Nipple sensitivity may skyrocket after your piercing.
For many, a nipple piercing almost immediately makes this area more sensitive to the touch. Although, it's unclear if that effect is truly physical as opposed to mental. "It could be more of a mental thing — a placebo effect," said Thompson. "The same way you notice more Audis the second you buy an Audi, a nipple piercing makes you naturally pay more attention to your nipples. So they may seem more sensitive simply because you're suddenly more mindful of them."
FWIW, my friends' piercings have heightened their sexual sensitivity and helped get their breasts some extra attention in the bedroom. But ultimately, the end effect will depend on your individual body.
5. Breastfeeding is doable, but always consult a professional.
According to Healthline, nipple piercings typically don't damage or affect breast milk production. That said, you're always better safe than sorry, so it's imperative you plan accordingly and consult with both a medical professional and a professional piercer for their guidance.
Get your piercing 18-24 months before you plan on getting pregnant, according Breastfeed Support. If you're currently or recently breastfeeding, wait three months after weaning before getting your nipples pierced. While it's mostly safe, damage to the ducts could occur during the piercing, resulting in a lowered milk supply, latch difficulty, or leaking milk. Breastfeed Support reports that most women find it easiest just to remove the jewelry six months into their pregnancies, as the sensation from the nipples can lead to early contractions. You may want to try a piercing retainer in place of metal barbells, if you're serious about keeping your piercing in tact.
6. You'll have every reason to feel confident like a goddess after your nipples are pierced.
OK, so you have every reason to feel confident like a goddess always, but still, a nipple piercing imbues a special kind of badass feeling. Not all your naughty piercings can be shown off to the world (I get it), but nipple piercings are the type of jewelry that can be proudly and tastefully exposed. Take a sip of Rihanna's self-assurance and give your new piercing some time in the limelight with some strategic top options when and where appropriate. After all, RiRi's never ashamed to let you say hello to her little friends.
Go forth and work.
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