A professional piercer at New Tribe Tattoos says that there is one common piercing he does fairly often.
Fitzgerald says he does many piercings, but this one in particular is done more frequently than he would have ever thought.
“I’d say I do at least four or five of them a week,” he said.
After getting a piercing, it is important to take care of the piercing in order for it to heal properly.
Especially when the piercing is in your nipple.
New Tribe Tattoos is located at 232 Queen St. W.Toronto. Shayne Fitzgerald, 22, has been working with the business for three years. Fitzgerald explained that the way a nipple piercing heals all depends on who pierced it, and how it was cared for afterwards. The piercer has to insert the needle deep enough in the nipple so that the body doesn’t reject it. If the piercing gets rejected, there is a higher chance of infection and it can hurt a lot more to re-pierce due to scar tissue.
Patrick Bannon, 27, from Oakville, had this experience with his nipple piercings. Bannon had both his nipples pierced, twice. He now has scars. He first got the piercings when he was 18, but only had them for a couple of years when he decided to take them out. However, he then decided to get his nipples re-pierced. The piercer though followed the scars from before, going through scar tissue. They never ended up healing properly, causing Bannon a lot of irritation and the piercing got caught on everything.
“I don’t know if it was because there was scar tissue,” he said. “It was just annoying.”
Fitzgerald explained that the more times you get a piercing, the more scar tissue you’re going to have. And when there’s more scar tissue, there is more pain. He doesn’t enjoy piercing a customer knowing he or she is going to be in a lot of pain.
“They pay to come in and have a piercing done,” he said. “They don’t pay for being in a crap-load of pain.”
He also said that it is harder and more painful to pierce a man’s nipple than a woman’s. Men have smaller nipples, so the piercers have to pull the skin out more to pierce the nipple deep enough. But that doesn’t mean it’s not painful for women.
Jane Hanson*, a 20-year-old student at Seneca College*, remembers how painful her piercing was. She got her nipple pierced two years ago.
“When I got it done, I didn’t even want to wear anything,” she said. “I didn’t want anything to touch it because it hurt so much.”
She remembers only being able to wear nothing but a baggy sweater.
“I had it on so that I could make sure it didn’t touch me,” she said. “And it was winter so it was freezing outside.”
Fitzgerald said it’s easier for women to get infections.
“Especially for girls who need to wear bras, it can be pushed around and there is bacteria that can get in the piercing,” he said.
Nipple piercings have to be cleaned at least twice a day. These piercings can easily be infected while they are healing and Fitzgerald explained it is very important to look after it. Right after he pierces a nipple, he cleans it with a vegetable-based glycerine soap to help the body heal.
Hanson ended up removing her nipple piercings after a year because of all the aftercare.
“I hated taking care of it,” she said. “It was too much maintenance for me and I don’t have that much time to do it.”
Hanson cleaned her piercing about four times a day with sea salts, which dried it out. She then had to constantly put lotion on her nipple. She said it was annoying taking care of her piercing and was glad when she took it out. Hanson’s nipple completely healed within a few days.
“When I took it out it started closing in four hours,” she said. “Now you can’t even tell it was pierced.”
Fitzgerald says he can’t stress enough how important it is to take care of nipple piercings.
“The nipple is a pretty sensitive spot,” he said. “Just be careful with it.”
*name has been changed