Cannabis Science

When Can I Change My Nipple Piercing?

man with nipple piercings

You’ve pierced your nipples weeks ago and you’re ready to change the original jewelry. You’re already browsing online for cool nipple jewelry replacements and can’t wait to try out new looks. At this point you’re wondering, when can I change my nipple piercing? It’s a common question and we’re here to answer it. Here’s what we know. 

Photo: Unsplash

When Can I Change My Nipple Piercing?

The simplest answer is when it’s completely healed.

Nipple piercings heal at different rates. Urban Body Jewelry says nipple piercings heal between 6-9 months. Matt Southwood, a professional piercer, suggested a similar time frame. Southwood said you shouldn’t attempt to change the piercing until 6-8 months and told his audience the longer you wait the better. 

If you’re changing your nipple piercing for the first time, you may want to go back to your piercer. It’s a little tricky to do and your piercer will be in a better position to do the changeover for you.   

However, if you want to change your nipple piercing yourself, here’s what you do. 

How Can I Change My Nipple Piercing?

If you want to tackle changing your nipple piercing by yourself you can. 

Heres’ what to do:

Wash your hands

 Lather your hands with soap and rub them together for a couple of seconds. You can sing the first verse of the Happy Birthday song and use that to mark the time. Afterward, dry your hands with a clean paper towel. If a clean paper towel is not available then feel free to air dry.

Unscrew the metal ball of the jewelry gently

While you’re doing that, hold the other end firmly. Painful Pleasures suggests using a water-based lube to help make the removal run smoother. 

They said, “Add a tiny drop of water-based lubricant to the end of the taper, and add another small drop to the side of your fistula after removing your old barbell.”

Gently and slowly remove the metal bar

Once you have unscrewed the metal ball, you can then slide out the metal bar. 

Return the metal ball to the bar, sanitize it, and then store it safely. 

Replace jewelry

If you’re using a bar, first unscrew the ball. Gently push in the bar through to the other side. Hold on to the ball already screwed on while you screw on the other ball. You can add a bit of water-based lube to the end of the jewelry to make the transition easier. 

Painful Pleasures also suggests using your new jewelry to push the old jewelry out if your starter jewelry has external threading. They suggest, “ buy[ing] internally-threaded nipple jewelry with a complementary thread pattern, and screw[ing] the two pieces of jewelry together before removing your starter jewelry.”

Additional Tips 

According to Painful Pleasures, you can use emu oil, and a jewelry taper to make the change over easier. 

The emu oil can be used to keep the nipple moisturized and reduce friction without clogging. Meanwhile, the jewelry taper can be used to help you insert threaded jewelry. 

In addition to that, Painful Pleasures suggests using the same gauge as your starter jewelry when you’re replacing your jewelry for the first time. 

What Will Happen If I Change My Piercing Too Early?

If you change your nipple piercing before it’s healed then you can actually prolong the healing time and open up the piercing to infection. 

According to Medical News Today, “The piercing, jewelry, and surrounding skin should not be touched during the healing process.” 

The reasons? “Doing so can introduce different bacteria every time and influence an infection.”

Therefore, whatever you do, do not change your nipple piercing too early. 

How Do I Know If My Nipple Piercing is Healed?

There is always a chance that your piercing hasn’t healed after the average amount of time. That may be due to prior infection, pregnancy or breastfeeding, improper handling of the piercing or lack of effective aftercare practices. 

According to Southwood, you know your nipple piercing is healed when you can go 2-3 weeks without seeing any crusts or discharge. However, they did say there was no way to really know for sure. 

In addition to that, if you change the jewelry and experience irritation, Southwood says not to change the jewelry again until for a little while. 


Wondering when you can change your nipple piercings? The simplest answer is when your nipple piercings are completely healed. The healing time will vary, however, the average time is between 6-9 months. If you’re having any doubts or concerns about changing out your piercing, go to a professional piercer. The professional piercer can replace the start jewelry for you and give you helpful tips and tricks. Otherwise, wash your hands and put in your favorite replacement jewelry. 


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].