infected nipple piercing

Do nipple piercings get infected on females?

The good news is that piercing infections aren’t all that common; it’s more likely to be an allergic reaction, says Emma Thompson. Even so, people with nipple piercings are more likely to contract a piercing-related infection than someone with a hole in their ear or nose cartilage.

How do you know if your nipple piercing is infected?

The telltale signs of an infection aren’t as complicated — or gruesome — as you might think. Dr. Eve Lintel tells us that early signs may be subtle, but will likely include redness, warmth, swelling, discharge, and sensitivity around the painful infected nipple piercing. In more severe cases, swelling may develop in the lymph nodes in the armpit and you may begin to feel feverish. If the infection progresses without treatment, you may notice more green or brown discharge around the infected nipple piercing. White fluid or crust, on the other hand, is normal — it’s called lymph fluid, and it’s a sign that your body is healing.

Do bumps on nipple piercing mean it’s infected?

Not necessarily. A bump isn’t usually a red flag for infection, but that all depends on how it looks and feels. If you do see a bump, it’s best to call your doctor to check it out because it could be one of many things, including a granuloma, pustule, keloid, or hypertrophic scar — all of which will likely be mistreated if you self-diagnose.

Best treatment for an infected nipple piercing?

“The skin infection is usually caused by staphylococcus aureus,” says Dr. Eve Lintel. “A mild infection can be treated by cleaning the area three times a day with neosporin an antiseptic solution and then applying a topical antibiotic ointment.”

Treating an infected nipple piercing is usually a simple process if it is caught early enough. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics in serious cases.

There are also plenty of home remedies to help treat an infected nipple piercing.


Washing the area should be part of a basic after-piercing care routine, but it is more important if the piercing has become infected. Keeping the infected area clean, by using hot water and a gentle soap, can help support the body, as it tries to clear out the infection.

Hot or cold compress

A combination of warm and cold compresses may help speed up the healing process.

A warm compress can increase the blood flow to the area, which can help reduce pain and inflammation and drain the infection.

A cold compress can help reduce swelling and provide pain relief when it is applied. A cold compress should be used carefully around the nipple, as the outer skin is sensitive.

Sea salt wash

A simple treatment method is to rinse the area with sea salt water. This is done easily by filling a small small glass with purified water and then adding purified sea salt to it. There should be just enough salt to dissolve in the water easily.

Gently place the infected nipple into the shot glass and then tip the glass up and press it into the skin, to create a seal around the infected area. Hold the water there for 5 to 15 minutes and remove it. Rinse the area with warm water and gently dry.

A sea salt rinse, such as this, can be done three times a day for a few days. If symptoms of infection do not clear up, it may be time to see a doctor.

Wear loose fitting clothes

When the infected nipple piercing starts getting irritated, adding friction to the mix does not help. Wearing tight-fitting shirts that constantly rubs against the piercing may make symptoms worse.

Tight clothing can also hold more sweat and bacteria against the infected site. Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing, undershirts, or bras while the nipple infection is healing.

Important things to avoid when treating an infected piercing

These things may make the nipple infection worse or slow down healing time.

Jewelry should not be removed from an infected piercing. The jewelry acts like a drain for the discharge caused by the infection.

If the jewelry is removed and the wound closes over while it is still infected, an abscess can form. Abscesses are more difficult to treat and make the infection much worse. You may even need surgery.

The jewelry may need to be replaced in cases where the body is rejecting the metal, but it should usually not be removed completely.

It is also important not to use over-the-counter antibiotic creams. While these are good for minor cuts or scrapes, they can trap bacteria in a wound and make the infection worse.

When cleaning the infected nipple piercing area, avoid using alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, as these can irritate the skin and cause additional problems or symptoms. Perfumes, strong soaps, and excessive detergents should also be avoided around the infected area.

Will prescription antibiotics help an infected piercing?

If your physician finds that the infection is severe, they might prescribe an antibiotic medication. It can take anywhere from one week to 12 months for an infected nipple piercing to heal — depending on its severity, of course. Be careful because it could take up to a whole year for a nipple piercing to heal.