We beautify our faces, work-out our bodies and make sure our vaginas are healthy, but how often do you give your nipples a second glance, let alone some love?
So if your nipple care routine is being ignored, now’s the time to start looking after those raspberry ripples. Because nipples matter too, y'know.
Love the nips you’ve got
Nipples, much like our other wonderful body bits, come in all shapes, sizes and colours – from dark brown to light pink and every shade in between. Along with the breast as a whole, women’s nips can change in appearance when they’re hot or cold, at the time of your period, or during pregnancy. You only have to get a glimpse of your friend’s nipples to know that no two sets are the same, so love them for being uniquely yours.
Get to know them
The area of soft skin around the nipple is called the areola and is darker in colour than the rest of your breast. You’ll probably have noticed small bumps on the areola that are both hair follicles and Montgomery’s glands – sebaceous glands that produce oily secretions to keep the area protected and lubricated.
Hair? Don’t care!
Puberty, hormonal changes during our menstrual cycle, the pill and pregnancy can all cause little hairs to grow around the nipple and the most important thing to know if this is *totally* normal. If you’re not a fan of your nipple hair, you can gently pluck them out. No drama. However, if you notice an excessive hair growth on your nips get checked out by your doctor as it can be a symptom of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
Innie or an outie?
It’s estimated that 20% of the female population have inverted nipples, where the nipple indents into the areola rather than standing to attention. It can occur with just one or both nipples at any time during a woman’s lifetime and usually isn’t a cause for major concern. Chat with your doctor if you're worried about this.
Keep ‘em soft
Nipples can get chaffed and ouchy from exercise, an overzealous boyfriend or sunbathing topless (if you're brave). Always use a high SPF if you’re getting your boobs out on holiday and make moisturising your nipples part of your skincare routine. Coconut oil on dry nips works a treat.
If your nipples are feeling itchy, sore, leaking fluid or are crusty and scabbing, pop along to your GP to get them looked at. These signs can sometimes indicate a more serious issue, so get into good habits by checking your nips regularly for changes.