The 8 Types of Nipples, What’s Normal & Not, & 17 Must-Know Nipple Facts!

Breasts come in different shapes and sizes for both men and women. But did you know there are different types of nipples too?

types of nipples

The great thing about the human body is that it varies from person to person. Wouldn’t it be boring if we all had exactly the same appearance to our bodies?

What if everyone had a freckle in the same place? A mole on exactly the same spot? Breasts the same size, or a penis that was 100% the same across the board? How about no different types of nipples, just nips that were uniform for everyone?

Life would be pretty boring, that’s for sure.

While it’s normal to pick fault with your own body *not advised, however, you should learn to love yourself*, it’s interesting to learn about bodily differences too. Ironically, that can help you learn to embrace your own body and love it for what it is.

We’re all a little weird and a little different, but that’s what makes us all so wonderfully individual. [Read: Fun and fascinating facts about breasts]

Let’s talk nipples

Yes, we’re going there. You might be surprised to learn that there are many different types of nipples out there, and they’re all perfectly wonderful and healthy. There are dark ones, small ones, inverted ones, pointy ones, rounded ones, the list goes on.

You’re probably looking down right now and trying to figure your own right now – we see you! Or, maybe you’re totally transfixed on a particular issue with your own nipples, and you want some reassurance that you’re normal.

Well, you’ve come to the right place. [Read: Nipple play – how to pleasure a girl by focusing on her breasts]

To be clear for breast novices out there, the nipple consists of two familiar parts:

1. The areola

This is the pigmented shape surrounding the nipple itself. The areola is darker in color than the rest of the skin and takes on a circular shape. These can be extremely large, medium, or small in size.

All of the above are normal, including the size of the areola too – some are large discs, whilst others are small. Some are different on both sides!

2. The nipple itself

The nipple is the raised bit within the areola. This is where the breast releases milk post-pregnancy.

Nipples often get hard in the cold or during arousal and can have some tantalizing effects when played with in the bedroom. *Or in many cases—feel like nothing at all. But hey, the men sure love ’em!* [Read: Sexiest hot spots to kiss a woman and arouse her]

It’s unbelievably common to believe that a medium areola and medium protruding nip were the standard of breasts everywhere! Well, we’ve come to shatter the mystery. Without further ado, we’re looking at eight different types of nipples—you definitely haven’t seen them all!

Different nipple colors

It’s very common to have nipple or areola colors that range from pink to dark brown. The body’s fluctuating hormone levels might also cause a change in color.

During pregnancy, your nipples or areolas may alter. It can get darker, which is completely normal. Additionally, the color of your nipples may or may not get lighter post-pregnancy.

In rare situations, nevertheless, a change in your nipple color needs medical treatment. So if your nipple-darkening is accompanied by any other symptoms unrelated to normal events, you should see a doctor to rule out underlying causes.

Different types of nipples

So you think you’ve seen it all? We think not. We’re looking at eight perfectly normal, but definitely different types of nipples available for the world to experience! [Read: Nipple orgasm – does it even exist? Ways to feel the pleasure]

1. Hairy nipples

Just as some men can grow hair around their areola, so too can women! Nipple hairs are common in females. That’s right, women can have pubic-like hairs growing around the outside of their nipples.

In some cases, this may be due to more serious issues such as polycystic ovary syndrome or Cushing syndrome. In most cases, it is just one of those completely normal *but never talked about* things that happen to regular ole boobs!

And for those frowning down upon those with female nipple hairs, we say this: All it takes is a couple of tweezer plucks for her to look good as new. Who knows, your gal may be sporting hidden hairy nips and you may be none the wiser! [Read: Advantages of having itty bitty titties and why men love them]

2. The THIRD nipple

That’s right—they do exist! A third nipple, more professionally referred to as a supernumerary nipple, is a tiny, well, nipple that appears on the body.

While these nips can grow anywhere, including the face, they are more commonly referred to as third nipples when they appear on the chest.

While science can’t seem to narrow down exactly why people are born with this phenomenon, rest assured—it’s rare, but it happens!

3. Bumpy nipples

Have you ever noticed tiny bumps around your nipples? These may look similar to pimples but never grow a “head” on them. While you may be feeling like your breasts are outside of the box, they are actually completely normal!

These bumps are called Montgomery glands, and all women have them! These glands secrete oil and help keep your nipples lubricated and supple. Much like the rest of your body parts, these bumps vary from person to person. Some may be more or less noticeable and may differ in color or size, but all are totally healthy and normal.

4. Inverted nipples

Do you know how belly buttons can either be considered an “innie” or an “outie”? Well, the same can be said for nipples. Inverted nipples are breasts where the nipples point inward instead of out.

Some doctors suggest massaging the nipples to encourage them to come out, while others have their mates suck on them to draw them into the foreground *and hey, just for fun!* A small number of women may have difficulty breastfeeding with their innie, however, breastfeeding is definitely not impossible.

5. Long nipples

When someone says a nipple is long, they are likely referring to the protrusion itself. Some girls have very long nipples, making sucking and teasing an absolute breeze. This normal nipple type even has its own porn fetish! [Read: Most common sexual fetishes + super weird ones!]

6. Very large nipples

This loose term often refers to a larger-than-average areola, as opposed to the nipple itself. The female areola grows larger as she goes through puberty.

While most areolae grow in proportion to the female’s breast size, some can get massively huge – even on smaller breasts! These large pigmented areas are totally normal and definitely kinked after *then again, what isn’t these days?*

7. Very small nipples

Small nipples *consisting of the nipple itself, or the areola* are another brand of nipples that has to do with genetics.

While most nipples expand in size during puberty, this isn’t always the case. But hey, small nipples are sexy, too! [Read: No bra no problem – why going braless and freeing the boob is better]

8. Flat or puffy nipples

As the name suggests, these nipples often take on a bloated, puffy look, or may lay entirely flat on the breast. These are more common during the teenage years. Nevertheless, all nips are different, and you may carry on as flat, puffy, or straight into your adult years!

Were you traumatized thinking your nip wasn’t the norm? Don’t sweat it. Now you know there is a rainbow variety of nipples on the market, each more fabulous than the last.

What about men’s nipples?

All of the above exist for men too! Whilst we tend to think about women when it comes to breasts and nipples, of course, men have breasts too, which means they have nipples. [Read: 33 absolutely fascinating facts about sex you never knew]

Some men don’t really notice much of a sensation when you touch their nipples, yet others totally adore it and can’t get enough. It’s a really personal deal and something to play around with and see how he reacts.

Of course, that also means that men can have different types of nipples too. You might see a guy with really hairy nipples or a guy with really large ones. Again, all are normal and wonderful in their own right.

Some nipple facts

You may think you already know everything about nipples, but here are some facts that will blow your mind! [Read: 110 MUST-KNOW interesting sex facts, myths & strange secrets about sex!]

1. The average nipple height is the size of a ladybug

One study in 2009 of 300 women’s nipples discovered that the average areola diameter was 4 cm, which is slightly smaller than a golfball.

The average nipple diameter was 1.3 cm, which is comparable to the width, not length, of an AA battery. And the average nipple height was 0.9 cm *the size of a ladybug*. [Read: Penis facts! 18 shocking & weird dick facts you have no idea about]

2. Breastfeeding wasn’t always the standard

Although educated, upper-middle-class women now frequently breastfeed their babies, this same group actively opposed this in the past and instead, had their wet nurses feed their children.

And often, wet nurses are enslaved women. After the renaissance period, the use of wet nurses changed from being a need to a choice.

3. Nipple pain is common among women

There are so many reasons why breastfeeding moms experience nipple pain, including positioning problems during breastfeeding. Though common, breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt.

This can be a symptom of PMS, skin irritation, allergies, etc. If there’s any blood or discharge or your pain is consistent, get it checked out by a doctor because it could be a sign of nipple cancer. It’s quite rare, but better to be safe than sorry. [Read: How to tell if you’re pregnant – early signs to keep an eye on]

4. Nipple tattoos aren’t uncommon with breast reconstruction

Nipple-areola tattoos are usually the final step in breast construction surgery. These tattoos are becoming quite common among those who get the surgery because it’s a quick and easy process that produces realistic results. [Read: Body trends – plastic surgery for genitals?]

5. There’s a rare condition that causes people to be born without nipples

This may be completely news to you, but there’s a rare condition called athelia, which causes people to be born without nipples.

The only way to treat it is to get nipple reconstruction. And based on the patient’s preferences and body habits, the surgeon may remove tissues from the glutes, dorsal, or abdomen.

6. Nipples can chafe and crack

We know what you’re thinking. Ouch, right?

One Brazilian study showed 32% of women reported experiencing cracked nipples because of breastfeeding after giving birth. If you’re not breastfeeding, you can still get cracked and itchy nipples from working out.

To prevent your nipples from chafing against your clothes, wear the right sportsbras and protect your nipples with petroleum jelly. [Read: Couple workouts – the best ways to get fitter and feel closer]

7. Nipple stimulation enhances sexual arousal

Nipple play as foreplay can be pleasurable for both men and women. A study discovered that nipple stimulation increased sexual arousal in 82% of women and 52% of men.

However, 7-8% reported that it decreased their arousal, so don’t assume. Ask before you try.

8. Your nipples can change color

You may have heard those girls on TikTok telling you to match your lipstick color with your nipple color, but how true is it?

Many publications have tested this theory, but it’s not 100% correct because your nipples can change color due to pregnancy, time, and temperature!

9. Nerves to the breast and nipple differ in men and women

In 1996, researchers discovered that the nerve supply to the nipples and areola spread out more widely in women and men.

10. Breast augmentation can affect nipple sensitivity

Breast augmentation is a very popular surgery despite it bearing the risk of sensitivity loss. 75% of the respondents in a study reported that their sensation changed after the surgery, while 62% experienced pain from being touched.

11. Breastfeeding parents can start spontaneously leaking milk if they hear or think about their babies

For some moms, this also happens when they hear someone else’s baby crying. How insane is that?

In a few cases with mothers whose babies are in the NICU or too premature or sick to eat, having a picture of their child near can make pumping a lot easier.

12. Nipples attract women, just like they attract men

As surprising as this may be, when looking at women, women and men follow the same pattern – always checking out the “sexualized parts” before the other areas of the body. [Read: Male body language – 48 subtle signs to instantly read a man’s thoughts]

13. Male nipples can lactate *galactorrhea*

Although it is rare, lactation, aka galactorrhea also happens in men. Experts say major hormone surges may be the cause. So if you’re a guy and this has occurred, do not panic.

When are nipples NOT normal?

As we’ve discussed, there are different types of nipples, and they’re all totally normal and nothing to be at all concerned about.

If anything, you should learn to love your nip exactly as they are. However, there are times when it’s best to go and get a doctor to have a look and see if there may be something going on. [Read: What to expect at your first gynecologist appointment]

We all know that we need to check our breasts regularly for lumps, bumps, or irregularities, and the same goes for your nipples too. It’s important to check your nipples when doing your regular breast check – men too!

If you notice any of the signs below, just head to see your doctor and get things checked out. For the most part, it may be nothing to worry about, but it’s always better to be safer than sorry.

1. Discharge from the nipple that cannot be breastmilk

2. Bleeding from the nipple

3. An unhealing area on the nipple, usually red and a little wet

4. Any change in how your nipples are positioned or how they point

5. A nipple rash

6. Itchy and red nipples

7. Flaky, scaly, or crusty nipples

Simply know what is normal for you and if you notice any changes, just go and get things checked out. [Read: Boob talk – yes! Your breasts are perfectly normal!]

How to care for your nipples while breastfeeding

This is probably the most important topic for breastfeeding moms out there. Taking care of your nipples is also self-care and taking care of your child. So let’s find out how you can do it properly. [Read: Tokophobia – the fear of pregnancy and everything you need to know]

1. Wash your hands with soap and water before touching your nipples

You do not need to use soap on your nipples, but before breastfeeding, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly. While taking a shower, you can use water to wash your breasts.

2. Moisturize your nipples with ultra-pure lanolin

Ultra-pure lanolin heals and protects the skin, so you can use this to moisturize your nipples without having to wash them off. It’s safe for the baby and helps ease cracked and raw nipples.

3. Change breast pads often

Breast pads are convenient and comfortable for catching leaking milk, but make sure you change those pads often and as soon as it feels damp. This will not only prevent irritation but also save your favorite top from a massive stain.

4. Keep boob sweat at bay

Wear the right clothes and maintain good hygiene. If you cannot commit to showering every day, at least wash your boobs with water before breastfeeding.

Don’t avoid exercising just because you’re afraid of boob sweat, working out while breastfeeding will help you feel more energetic and happier.

[Read: Pregnancy experiences – the stages for mothers-to-be]

There are many different types of nipples. Did we leave one off the list? What’s your favorite kind of nipple to encounter? Share your answer and experience in the comments below and help spread the nipple knowledge!

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...