What to do about an infected nipple piercing?

And nipple piercing is seen as a beautiful decoration by some men and women. Nipple piercings come in different shapes, but what they all have in common is that they are difficult to heal and that you need to clean them properly. But what can you do if you already have an infected nipple piercing? Nipple piercings are seen by some men and women as a beautiful body decoration, but it can take a long time before the piercing is completely healed. For example, it can take an average of 6 to 9 months for women and 3 to 4 months for men. This has to do with the fact that women’s nipples are larger than men’s.

A nipple piercing has a different healing process compared to an earring. For example, the piercing of an earring pierces through strong tissue. However, with a nipple piercing this is sensitive skin. The body sees a piercing as a foreign object close to the sensitive nipple. This increases the chance that the piercing can become infected.


If the nipple piercing is irritated and inflamed, the nipple may be tender to the touch and the nipple and area around the nipple will be red. It is best not to touch the piercing. After a few days the irritation will diminish and you will not need any further treatment.

But if the irritations do not go away after a few days or you have one of the following symptoms, it may be useful to undergo further treatment:

  • The nipple and the area around the nipple hurt very much or are very sensitive when you touch it
  • The nipple and the area around the nipple are very warm
  • There is a bad smell coming from the nipple
  • There is swelling
  • There is brown, yellow or green pus
  • You have a fever
  • You feel very tired
  • You have body pain
  • You have a rash

Causes of infection

Frequent touching of the nipple and the area around the nipple is the most common cause of an infected piercing. Bacteria can easily reach the sensitive skin and this increases the risk of infection. Another common reason is that tight clothing can irritate the piercing. If the piercing comes into contact with saliva, the piercing can also become irritated and eventually infected.


The most important thing to do is not remove the piercing. Leaving the piercing in place has a major advantage. The pus or fluid can still be removed. If you remove the piercing, not only will the wound close, making it very difficult to get the piercing in, but it can also cause a subcutaneous infection. Which only makes it worse. So again, leave the piercing.

Furthermore, you should not use disinfectants as they clean too roughly. It can dry out the skin and it is not suitable for sensitive skin.

Clean the inflamed area

It is necessary that you first clean your hands thoroughly. Then clean the inflamed area with soap specifically for sensitive skin.

Use warm water with sea salt or a warm cloth

If the infection is not very extensive, you can use a warm cloth to reduce the infection this way. You can also keep the nipple piercing in warm water with sea salt. It is best to repeat both ways about three times a day. Dry the infected area after wetting it.

Avoid antibiotics in ointment form and other ointments

Ointments can ensure that the space (where any pus could come out) is closed and this allows the bacteria to get under the skin, which only makes the infected piercing worse. Only use medications prescribed by your doctor.

Provide good aftercare

Once you have had the piercing done, it is important that you follow the piercer’s advice. If the infection persists, it is important that you contact your doctor to prevent worsening. For example, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics that must be swallowed.