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Ear & Body Piercing/Nipple piercing problem


I have searched all over for the answer to my question, but I have not found anyone with a similar problem. I got both of my nipples pierced a little over three months ago at a reputable piercer. They are both horizontal piercings with implant grade titanium straight barbells that were, if I recall correctly, 10g(he said that the 10g was probably best because I have pretty large breasts). My right piercing has been doing great, but my left one is not doing as well. It started as just normal discharge that would form a bit of crust that easily washed away in the shower.
However, one day it seems that some of the discharge dried around each hole and attached it to my bra. I then moved or turned(I'm trying not to be too gross about this but its not really a pretty sight) and the dried crust basically ripped off some skin around the hole and caused each to start bleeding. This has basically caused an awful cycle where a scab forms, attaches to my bra, and is then ripped off again. At night when I take off my bra, the piercing will try to stick to my shirt, or be painfully sensitive to any small movement of my shirt against it.
I went back to my piercer, and while he was very helpful, he didn't really have a solution for me and just told me to do salt water soaks. While I am going to do the soaks, that doesn't fix my daily problem of my wound-ish piercing attaching to my clothes. I started taking large bandaids and loosely covering my nipple to try to allow air in, while not allowing the piercing to adhere to my bra. In theory, I can gently remove the bandaid while in the shower so that the water loosens the crust that has formed. However, I did a salt soak today and removed the bandage, and crust with it, and my piercing bled a bit as the scab and crust were washed away. So at this point it seems like the bandaid idea isn't really changing too much.
I'm not really sure what to do because I can't exactly go around topless until my piercing heals and that is the only time when it seems to be actually healing.

In your situation, the source of the additional irritation may be pressure or friction, or a bra that is too tight, especially if you have a C-cup or larger volume breast.

One soothing option is to use vented plastic or silicone nursing guards or nursing pads with the centers cut out to form a donut around each nipple to take the pressure off the piercing from your bra and gravity. If needed, non-stick sterile gauze pads (tefla pads) can be added to help prevent sticking.

Leave the scabs in place if possible, and do go without a bra as much as feasible to encourage better circulation.

Ask your piercer if you may benefit from somewhat longer bars while healing, as well.

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Brian Skellie


I can answer questions in regards to and not limited to: jewelry safety, specifically material, shape, proportion, and related issues; aseptic technique and sterilization as it applies to piercing safety; ethical issues of technique and bedside manner; the aftercare and recovery process for piercings. *Available for consultation.


Body artist and founder of Piercing Experience (1992), and SciCan Authorized Dealer of STATIM Sterilizers and related infection control products

Currently serving on the APP Board of Directors as President, formerly as Global Media Director 2013-2014, International Liaison 2010-13, Treasurer 1997-99. Over fifteen years with ASTM and APP.

The Point Journal of the Association of Professional Piercers, USA Today, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Atlanta Magazine, Creative Loafing

I regularly participate and teach in many APP and related body art educational programs. I keep current certifications for OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens, First Aid, and CPR.

Awards and Honors
APP President's Award, Best Freehand Piercer, Best of Atlanta

Past/Present Clients
Tens of thousands of one on one client experiences as the founder of Piercing Experience in Atlanta, GA, USA *Body jewelry design and safety expert: Member ASTM committee F04( former Member AAMI ( Research advisor and educator for the APP for over a decade( teaching advanced studio setup, sterilization and equipment management, freehand piercing, aseptic/sterile technique and much more. Distributor and Body Art expert for SciCan StatIM sterilization and infection control products. and

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