What Size Needle Should You Use For A Nipple Piercing?

Getting your nipples pierced can be an exciting experience, but choosing the right needle size is crucial for safe and effective piercing. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about needle sizing so you can pick the perfect one.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: 14, 16 or 18 gauge needles are recommended for most nipple piercings.

Gauge Size Options for Nipple Piercings

When it comes to getting a nipple piercing, one of the important considerations is the gauge size of the needle. The gauge size refers to the thickness of the needle that will be used for the piercing. Different sizes are available, and each has its own benefits and considerations.

Let’s explore the three most common gauge sizes for nipple piercings:

14 gauge (1.6 mm)

The 14 gauge needle, which has a thickness of 1.6 mm, is the most commonly used size for nipple piercings. It strikes a good balance between being visually appealing and allowing for proper healing. This size is ideal for individuals who are looking for a noticeable piercing without going too extreme.

The larger gauge also allows for more jewelry options, as there are many styles available in this size.

16 gauge (1.2 mm)

The 16 gauge needle, with a thickness of 1.2 mm, is a slightly thinner option compared to the 14 gauge. This size is recommended for individuals who prefer a more delicate and discreet piercing. It is also a good choice for those with smaller nipples or individuals who may want to start with a smaller gauge and gradually stretch their piercings over time.

However, it is important to note that the jewelry options for 16 gauge piercings may be more limited compared to the 14 gauge.

18 gauge (1.0 mm)

The 18 gauge needle, with a thickness of 1.0 mm, is the thinnest option commonly used for nipple piercings. This size is ideal for individuals who prefer a more subtle and understated look or have smaller nipples.

However, it is important to consider that the thinner gauge may result in longer healing times and may limit the types of jewelry that can be worn. Additionally, it is recommended to consult with a professional piercer to ensure that the 18 gauge is suitable for your individual anatomy.

Remember, when determining the right gauge size for your nipple piercing, it is important to consider your personal preferences, anatomy, and consult with a professional piercer. They will be able to assess your individual needs and provide guidance on the best gauge size for you.

Always prioritize your safety and the health of your piercing by seeking professional advice and using high-quality jewelry.

Factors That Affect Ideal Needle Gauge

Nipple anatomy

One of the most important factors to consider when determining the ideal needle gauge for a nipple piercing is the anatomy of the nipple itself. Nipples can vary in size and thickness, and these variations can affect the comfort and success of the piercing.

A professional piercer will assess the nipple’s anatomy and choose a needle gauge that is appropriate for the individual.

Jewelry style

The type of jewelry you plan to wear in your nipple piercing can also influence the choice of needle gauge. Different jewelry styles require different needle sizes to ensure a proper fit. For example, if you prefer a larger gauge barbell or hoop, a larger needle may be necessary to accommodate the jewelry.

Discuss your jewelry preferences with your piercer to determine the appropriate needle gauge for your desired style.

Pain tolerance

Pain tolerance varies from person to person, and this factor can also impact the choice of needle gauge for a nipple piercing. A smaller gauge needle may be less painful for individuals with lower pain tolerance, while those with a higher pain tolerance may opt for a larger gauge needle.

It’s important to communicate your pain tolerance to your piercer so they can choose a needle gauge that suits your comfort level.

Healing time

The healing time for a nipple piercing can be influenced by the needle gauge used. Generally, smaller gauge needles result in quicker healing times, as they create smaller holes that are easier for the body to heal.

However, it’s important to note that healing times can still vary from person to person, regardless of the needle gauge used. It’s crucial to follow proper aftercare instructions and consult with your piercer if you have any concerns during the healing process.


Scarring is a potential concern with any piercing, including nipple piercings. While scarring can occur regardless of the needle gauge used, some individuals may be more prone to scarring than others. Using a smaller gauge needle may reduce the risk of excessive scarring, but it’s important to note that individual healing processes can differ.

If scarring is a concern for you, it’s best to discuss it with your piercer before the procedure.

Choosing the Right Needle Based on Nipple Type

When it comes to getting a nipple piercing, one important factor to consider is the size of the needle that will be used. The size of the needle will depend on the type of nipple you have. Here are some guidelines to help you choose the right needle based on your nipple type.

Small or flat nipples

If you have small or flat nipples, it’s important to choose a needle size that is appropriate for your anatomy. A smaller gauge needle, such as a 14 or 16 gauge, may be more suitable for this type of nipple.

These needles are thinner and can be less intimidating for those with smaller or flatter nipples. It’s important to consult with an experienced piercer who can assess your nipple size and recommend the appropriate needle size for you.

Average-sized nipples

For those with average-sized nipples, a 12 or 14 gauge needle is commonly used. These sizes are considered to be the standard for nipple piercings. They provide a good balance between comfort and aesthetics.

However, it’s still important to consult with a professional piercer who can assess your nipple size and determine the best needle size for you.

Large or protruding nipples

If you have large or protruding nipples, a slightly larger gauge needle may be necessary. A 10 or 12 gauge needle is often used for this type of nipple. These larger sizes can accommodate the larger nipple size and provide a more secure and comfortable piercing.

Again, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced piercer who can assess your nipple size and recommend the appropriate needle size for you.

Remember, the size of the needle is just one factor to consider when getting a nipple piercing. The expertise of the piercer and proper aftercare are also essential for a successful and safe piercing. Always seek professional advice and follow their instructions for the best results.

How to Care for Your New Nipple Piercings

Getting a new nipple piercing is an exciting step in body modification, but it’s important to properly care for your new piercings to ensure they heal properly and minimize the risk of infection. Here are some essential tips to help you care for your new nipple piercings:

Cleaning and saline soaks

Keeping your new nipple piercings clean is crucial for preventing infection. After getting pierced, your piercer will likely provide you with a saline solution or recommend a specific cleaning product.

It’s important to clean your piercings twice a day using a saline solution or a gentle, fragrance-free soap. Never use alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or harsh cleansers, as these can irritate the piercings and slow down the healing process. When cleaning, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and use a clean cotton swab or gauze pad to gently clean around the piercings.

Rinse well and pat dry with a clean towel.

In addition to regular cleaning, saline soaks can be beneficial for healing nipple piercings. Fill a clean cup with warm saline solution and place it over your nipple for a few minutes. This can help promote healing and reduce any swelling or discomfort.

Avoiding irritation and infection

Nipple piercings can be prone to irritation and infection, so it’s essential to take certain precautions to minimize these risks. Avoid touching your piercings with dirty hands or allowing others to touch them, as this can introduce bacteria and increase the risk of infection. It’s also important to avoid tight or restrictive clothing that can rub against the piercings and cause irritation.

Opt for loose-fitting, breathable fabrics during the healing process.

Another important aspect of avoiding irritation is choosing the right jewelry. Initially, it’s recommended to wear jewelry made of high-quality materials such as surgical-grade stainless steel or titanium, as these are less likely to cause allergic reactions or irritate the piercing. Once your piercings have fully healed, you can experiment with different types of jewelry, such as rings, barbells, or studs, to suit your personal style.

Changing jewelry safely

Changing your nipple jewelry can be an exciting way to express your personal style, but it’s crucial to wait until your piercings have fully healed before attempting to change the jewelry. This typically takes around 6-12 months, but can vary from person to person.

Attempting to change jewelry too soon can lead to complications, such as irritation, infection, or even the closure of the piercing. If you’re unsure about whether your piercings have fully healed, it’s best to consult with your piercer.

When you’re ready to change your nipple jewelry, make sure to follow proper hygiene practices. Wash your hands thoroughly and sanitize the new jewelry before inserting it. If you’re unsure about the process, consider visiting a professional piercer who can assist you in changing your jewelry safely.

By following these tips for caring for your new nipple piercings, you can ensure a smooth healing process and reduce the risk of complications. Remember to listen to your body and consult with your piercer or a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or notice any signs of infection.

When to Seek Help for Issues with Your Piercing

While getting a nipple piercing can be an exciting and empowering experience, it’s important to remember that piercings are a form of body modification and can come with their own set of risks and complications.

It’s crucial to be aware of the signs that indicate you may need to seek help for issues with your piercing.

Signs of infection

One of the most common issues that can arise with a nipple piercing is an infection. It’s normal to experience some redness and mild swelling in the days following the piercing, but if these symptoms worsen or are accompanied by other signs of infection, it’s essential to seek help.

Look out for symptoms such as:

  • Increasing pain or tenderness
  • Pus or discharge that is yellow or green in color
  • Foul odor coming from the piercing
  • Fever or chills

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to consult a professional piercer or a healthcare provider. They will be able to assess the situation and provide appropriate treatment to prevent the infection from worsening.

Excessive bleeding

While a small amount of bleeding is normal during and immediately after the piercing process, excessive bleeding should be taken seriously. If you find that your piercing continues to bleed heavily or if the bleeding persists for more than a few hours, it’s crucial to seek help.

Excessive bleeding can be a sign of an underlying issue, such as improper placement of the piercing or damage to blood vessels. A professional piercer or healthcare provider will be able to assess the situation and provide guidance on how to stop the bleeding and prevent further complications.

Severe pain or swelling

Some degree of pain and swelling is to be expected after getting a nipple piercing, but if the pain becomes severe or if the swelling is excessive, it may be an indication of a problem. Pain that worsens over time or is accompanied by other symptoms like redness and warmth can be a sign of infection or another issue.

Seeking help from a professional piercer or healthcare provider is crucial in order to determine the cause of the pain and swelling and provide appropriate treatment.

Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the health and well-being of your body. If you notice any signs of infection, excessive bleeding, or severe pain or swelling with your nipple piercing, don’t hesitate to seek help.

Your piercer or healthcare provider will have the knowledge and expertise to address the issue and ensure that your piercing heals properly.


Choosing the optimal needle gauge for your new nipple piercings involves carefully considering your anatomy, pain tolerance, jewelry preferences, and lifestyle. Most reputable piercers recommend 14, 16, or 18 gauge needles as safe options. Proper aftercare is also key for smooth healing.

With the right preparation and needle size selection, your new nipple piercings can bring you joy for years to come.

Similar Posts