Nipple piercings are an ever popular piercing. These have only become more popular as the years have gone on, and we are doing more and more each year. That being said, for many reasons these are only done on clients who are 18 and up. State and Federal laws prohibit us from having contact with the breasts of a minor, as it is considered sexual assault of a minor. Beyond that, for clients AFAB there are medical considerations behind piercing before 18. Despite this, we still get emails and calls a few times a year about people wanting to get nipples piercer on a minor. So, this article today is to address the concerns behind getting nipple piercings underage.
First and foremost- it is not legal for any adult, piercer or otherwise, to be looking at or handling the breasts of a minor unless it’s in a medical situation. Full stop. Parental consent doesn’t matter. Your parent can’t consent to you engaging in sexual activity, and they can’t consent to us piercing your nipple underage. It is sexual abuse of a minor, in every state, and on a federal level. Anyone who would touch or pierce you should be reported to your local police department. It’s simply not legal and not right. If someone is willing to pierce you underage, you should question the safety of the situation you have found yourself in. It's an unfortunate reality that some sexual predators use body piercing to prey on young women, please don't put yourself in a situation where you could be hurt.
Now, despite that, we still see many people who want to get these done and don’t care about laws. Perhaps, they care about safety. Aside from obvious concerns with the legality, there are safety concerns as well. We won’t pierce under 18 because your breasts are still developing. We go through puberty, and during this time the breast and nipple tissue develops, the glands grow, the nipples also grow and change shape as this happens. This commonly starts at age 11 and continues through age 15, but up to 17. During what is referred to as the Tanner stages, the nipple grows and changes to accommodate for changes happening in the breast tissue, including the growth of the milk duct structure and healthy cellular growth of the breast and nipple.
“Significant development of the nipple also occurs during puberty.42 The most marked increase in size and diameter of the nipple is seen between Tanner stages 3 and 5, particularly soon after menarche.43 The average increase in diameter between Tanner stages 1 to 5 is 5 to 6 mm.43 It is difficult to form measurable criteria of nipple diameter at each Tanner stage due to extensive variations found in increments of nipple size based on hormonal status, race, nutrition, and genetics.”
This means piercing the nipples before these changes are finished could lead to quite a few complications. The simplest being the piercings end up uneven as the tissue grows and develops. Then you have further concern of the piercings migrating or embedding as the nipple grows, leaving severe scarring. And, worst case, the piercings could impact proper breast tissue development by creating scar channels that could inhibit this intended growth.
We understand the desire to have piercings and modify your body as you see fit, but patience is key for any piercings and particularly nipple piercings. Not only is it not legal, but getting pierced underage could have serious detrimental consequences for your health and safety. And no body piercing is worth that. Be patient, and come see us for your 18th birthday and later on!
Javed, Asma, and Aida Lteif. “Development of the human breast.” Seminars in plastic surgery vol. 27,1 (2013): 5-12. doi:10.1055/s-0033-1343989