How many times have you stared at your nipples? Either straight on in the mirror or straight down, flicking your eyes from one to the other like a tennis match? We’re guessing many times. Perhaps it’s even part of your daily routine. You’ve stared, prodded, and analysed so much they don’t even look like nipples anymore – they’re now sentient beings with faces, personalities, and political opinions.
As the boobs we most often see are in mainstream porn, and therefore highly likely to be ‘fake’ or a specific size and shape, we’re going to nip those insecurities in the bud and get to grips with the ins and outs of those guys. Prepare to feel flippin’ hip with your tip top nips.
There are EIGHT nipple shapes. EIGHT!
When we say nipple, we mean your actual nipple. The pointy bit right in the middle. The star of the show. Your areola is the bit around it… like a fried egg?
Anyway, if you’re worried your nipples look like someone read the instructions wrong for your flat-pack DNA, here are the standard eight types of nipple:
These stick up a bit from your areola and could be round or more cubed. They just like to be the centre of attention, tbh.
Way more shy than the protruding nipple, these lie low and are best mates with your areolas. They may well still pop up a bit and harden if it’s chilly or you give ‘em a fiddle, though.
Your areola wants in on the action so it’s raised up slightly, along with your nipple. Like a little mountain. A strong nip.
Some areolas have tiny bumps on them, like less-angry spots. In the scientific world they’re called Montgomery glands, which sounds quite posh, doesn’t it old chap? *adjusts monocle* They produce oil to keep your areola protected and are fine to just leave alone.
Everyone loves a hairy nipple. Most areolas/nipples have fine hair on them, but some have the odd thicker, dark hair. These are fine to pluck, if you want to, but they’re totally normal.
These nipples go one step further than the flat nipple. They want no attention whatsoever, like ostriches with their heads in the sand. They basically look like little dents in the middle of your areolas where they’re inward, but you can often tease them out if it’s cold or they’re tweaked. Cheeky.
Sometimes just one of your nipples might be inverted. Because why not. This is cool, but if your nipples haven’t always been like this then it may be a sign of something more serious, so best to see your GP.
Sounds super fancy BECAUSE IT IS. Some people have a ‘third nipple’ that isn’t really a third nipple, but what looks like a nipple-mole around your boobs somewhere. Harry Styles has one, just so you know.
Remember that your nipples don’t have to match up exactly to one of these types – you could have a dash of hairiness, a few drops of bumpiness, and a pinch of inverted wonder as the recipe to create your nips.
What about the colour?
Your areolas and nipples are often a shade or few darker than your skin colour, and you only need to worry if they’re super red or look irritated in any way. This goes for if they’re cracked, too. It’s likely just eczema but go and flash your nips to your GP and they’ll be able to help.
Um, mine are leaking
Leaking nipples are more common if you’re preggo but DON’T PANIC. There are loads of other reasons they might be weeping a bit. They might have just watched Grey’s Anatomy.
Or you could have a papilloma, which is basically a wart in your boob. Beautiful, right? It could also be an abscess filled with pus. Isn’t this having-boobs thing just peachy? Or it could be related to your hormones – either naturally or because of the contraceptive Pill – or possibly another medication you’re on.
Basically, just let your GP have a look. If you’re flapping about whipping your wabs out in front of them then that’s completely understandable, and you can read our article here on just how to talk to your doctor about embarrassing stuff.
My nipples have changed, is something wrong?
All nipples are different, like beautiful snowflakes, but the rule is: if they’ve changed in size or shape or colour, etc, then it’s best to see your GP. There might not be anything wrong at all, it could just be good ol’ puberty. But it’s always best to be safe.
So, carry on looking closely at your nipples – that’s best practice for checking your boobs anyway – but don’t frown at them and poke them like you’re checking an is-it-dead-or-not slug. Your nipples are perfect for you.
Oh, and remember that they don’t have to be identical, so don’t let your ONE MASSIVE NIPPLE scare you. Let it lead you forward into the sunset. BE EMPOWERED BY YOUR NIPS!
TL;DR? Here’s the important stuff:
- There are eight different standard nipple shapes, but you don’t have to fit one box.
- The colour of your nipples should be a little darker than your skin colour.
- But if they’re leaking, red or cracked, or they’ve changed in appearance, see your GP.
- P.S. HOORAY FOR HAIRY NIPS
It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome.
Image: Hailey Hamilton