March 22nd, 2013
I recieved a message from a woman who was concerned about the odor of her healed nipple piercings:
I am a female that has a nipple piercing from a reliable professional piercer who you recommend.
I have fairly large nipples and he used a large gage post for my piercing. I experienced many months of bloody leakage that finally healed. My piercing is over 2 years old, but now I have a daily discharge of white fluid that has an odor. I want to have an attractive piercing that isn’t stinky. Could I schedule a consultation to review my situation and possible options? Do I need to just remove my piercing? Can I exchange it for another gage? Can I change it out for a different piece of jewelry? I love having my nipple pierced and how it feels, but the drainage is really a bother. I hope you can advise me on my options.
Thanks for your message. If you've had your piercing for over 2 years and the discharge is smelly, I believe I know what you need. An appointment with me is not required. You're welcome to change your jewelry, but that is not required and is unlikely to have any effect on this particular situation.
The excerpt below is from my book, The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing, and it explains the issue:
Sebum is a substance from your oil glands that collects in healed piercing channels. It is a naturally occurring product of the body, containing fat, keratin (a fibrous protein), and cellular material. The purpose of sebum is to protect your skin and hair, keep it moisturized, and to inhibit the growth of microorganisms on the skin. People sometimes mistake it for pus, but it is more solid and cheeselike and has a distinctive rotten odor that reflects the dead cellular debris it contains.
March 20th, 2013
I received a message from a woman who wondered if her water consumption could affect the healing process:
OMG! Let me start off by saying that I'm so excited that you have an advice column sort of thing. I have had your book for years, and I've always wanted to ask you questions. Anywho I've had my nipple piercing done for about 6 months. It still crusts up, and I know that it has not completely healed. It used to have previous issues until I had my piercer change the barbell to a longer one. I still use salt water soaks every time it gets irritated, but I've noticed that as I've been drinking a lot of water it has stopped crusting up as much. Is this because I'm in the final stages of healing or the amount of water I've been drinking?
Thanks for your message. I haven't ever heard of increased water consumption being responsible for a major healing effect. That said, being hydrated is important for overall health and well being, so it couldn't hurt to continue drinking a lot of water.
And, you may find (as described in my book) that you will have ups and downs over time. You may have stopped crusting now, and whether you drink a lot of water or not, you may have more secretion once again. Don't be surprised by that cycle.
February 24th, 2013
I received a message from a piercee who was concerned about her nipple piercing, which appeared to be migrating:
I had both nipples done back in August. The one had to be removed about 3 months later because of rejection and now I think the other is doing the same.
I have been under a lot of stress but I'm just not sure. It's not in the same place anymore.
Yes, sorry-that does appear to be migration.
Did you use the same jewelry the first time?
I noticed your jewelry appears to have a matte finish and that can cause problems, especially in a new/healing piercing. Initial jewelry should have a super-smooth, high polish mirror finish for safety. It is unclear whether the ring would have been wide enough for optimal safety when the piercing was new. The part of a ring that passes through the tissue should be relatively straight.
You should probably go ahead and remove that ring now to avoid further tissue damage.
February 21st, 2013
I received a message from a woman who was considering the possibility of having multiple nipple piercings:
So I got both my nipples pierced quite a while back. Because of my profession I can't get any visible piercings and I'm not quite ready yet to go into genital ones. So that's why I was thinking of getting my nipples pierced again
What are some of the perks and risks of getting additional nipple piercings? My piercings are also not horizontal, but diagonal. I let my piercer do this on purpose, for aesthetic reasons. Is it possible to put the second pair straight on there, so it makes a diagonal cross?
To some extent your anatomy will determine appropriate (or possible) locations for added jewelry. If the second piercing would end up too close to the surface, or too far into the areola, those are potential issues. Also there's another consideration, depending on how much space you have, and therefore how much tissue is in between the jewelry: it can pinch on the interior. And, if the jewelry is quite close together, it is not uncommon that due to pressure, the skin in between thins and dissipates, and the jewelry rests metal to metal inside. This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you experience discomfort from interior pinching.
The drawing from my book, The Piercing Bible, shows the appearance of a double nipple piercing in an "iron cross" formation.
February 7th, 2013
I received a message from a woman who was concerned about the placement of her nipple piercing:
I had my nipple pierced a few days ago and it seems to me that the piercing is wrongly situated. It goes through my areolas, and not my nipple. I'm wondering how dangerous this is because I like it. I'm sending you a picture.
I'm sorry to say this but I considered asking if your piercer was blind. I've never seen a more poorly placed nipple piercing on anatomy that is so perfectly suited.
You really should go and ask for your money back and remove the jewelry. That is not where your nipple should be pierced. And the bar is dangerously short.
I marked with arrows where it should have been placed at the base of your nipple.
January 20th, 2013
I received a message and photo from a woman who was concerned about her nipple piercing:
I've attached a picture of my nipple piercing. Ive had it for roughly about 3 months.
A bump has appeared and sometimes puss/blood leaks out of it. I think this is because I became less strict with salt soaking it daily, because I assumed it healed already. Do you have any ideas for getting rid of this bump and do you know if this is just simply and infection or is it worse e.g. Migration/Rejection.
Nipple piercings can take 6-9 months or so to heal on women, so you will need to keep up with aftercare, including saline soaks, for some time. The excerpt below is from my book:
November 4th, 2012
My left nipple has been pierced the EXACT same amount as my right and it still leaks, nearly every morning I have crustys that I must clean off, and a bit through out the day. Nothing excessive, though sometimes in the morning I find dried blood. I have had to go up in size on my left nipple slightly when the nipple got a bit bigger but only on one side. I have pictures that I would gladly send, however I saw no option on your website for me to attach :( I want to know is there way to get my left nipple back to regular without having to take the piercing out? Is it rejecting at a very slow rate? Will my nipple be this way forever?
You definitely do have some scar tissue formation going on there.
Do you feel like it is continuing to grow, or if it has stabilized?
I don't know if perhaps that side was pierced a little deeper than not he other one? In any case, I have some suggestions from my book for dealing with excess scar tissue (called hypertrophic scarring) and I posted it here on this website.
November 2nd, 2012
I got a message from a man who had both his nipples pierced, and he suspected something was not right with one of them:
Hello! I recently got both nipples pierced. My right one looks very good, but my left one doesn't look like it has pierced enough tissue, and as such, is making me very nervous. They have been in for a little over a week at this point, there is no pain, and minor crusting. Does it appear to be ok? Or should I remove it, let it heal, and then have it redone?
Unfortunately, that piercing is far too close to the surface to be viable. If you don't remove it, I am sure that it will reject completely, which can leave you with a split scar.
I think you should get your money back--that was NOT properly pierced. I would suggest you wait at least 4 weeks before repiercing, and make sure the tissue feels pliable. If it feels dense or tight, I would continue to wait. You may want to try a scar reduction product to facilitate the healing after the wound seals over.
I would strongly advise you visit a more competent professional to redo it; I would not trust the individual who performed the original piercing.
If you would like to have me evaluate the other side, feel free to send another photo.