Nipple piercings are susceptible to infection, particularly during the initial healing period. These could be either superficial skin infections, or they could be a more serious infection like an abscess of the breast.
You may experience crusting and slight oozing during healing, Sheena Rose says, but there shouldn’t be an odor coming from your piercing. There may also be a bit of swelling, but this can often be resolved by consulting your piercer to see if your jewelry is too tight. Again, during this time, you absolutely should not be touching, playing with, picking at, or otherwise disturbing your piercing outside of regular cleanings.
After that first year, Oughton still had a few minor issues. “The left one would still give me annoying small crusty infections or inflammations, and it slowly grew out of my body to the point that the metal of my barbell could be seen through the middle of my nipple and was barely hanging on both sides, so I took it out for good about 12 years ago.”
She blames her active lifestyle for the prolonged issues with her left nipple, saying, “there’s probably more muscle stress, sweat, sun, and salt water involved than most people’s lives, which is probably what impacted my healing process with them being jammed in sweaty sports bras and wet bathing suits so often.”