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Different Types of Nipples and Meaning

Different women have different types of nipples. Nipples can be soft, firm, or even hairy. These different types of nipples are absolutely normal.

4 min read
Different Types of Nipples and Meaning

Every nipple has its personality. Nipples vary from woman to woman and can be flat, inverted, soft, firm, and even hairy. For example, Indian women may have nipples that are darker than Caucasian women. Many women also have mismatched pairs. The different types of nipples among women are all completely normal. There is no perfect boob size or nipple formation. So don't let anybody tell you otherwise!

Why? Because their appearance makes no difference to their functionality. Trust us to bring you facts about boobs and nipples that do not mislead you. Read on to know the truth!

Some of the causes for different types of nipples include:

  • Genetics
  • Pregnancy
  • Aging
  • Temperature
  • Arousal
  • Piercing
  • Hormones

Are you looking to get to know your nipple type better? Here are the different types of breast nipples.

Types of Nipples

Protruding Nipples

  • Are your nipples bigger than usual? Protruding nipples are pointy breasts. They get raised a few millimetres above the surface of the areola or ring of pigmented skin surrounding the nipple.
  • The amount that these nipples protrude varies from woman to woman.
  • When stimulated or cold, this nipple becomes more pronounced and can harden. It is entirely normal to have protruding nipples.
  • That said, if you're feeling constant discomfort in your clothing, it is best to consult a doctor. But if you plan on opting for breast surgery, it might change the sensitivity of your nipples.

Tight Nipples

  • Also known as erect nipples, tight nipples are outward and pointy in form.
  • Such nipples can be an indicator of a woman's sexual arousal. However, these can also result from tight clothing or cold climates.
  • Women experience tightening of their nipples during sexual activity.
  • As per a study, women associate tight nipples with positive emotions like friendliness and happiness.

Hairy nipples

  • Hair could be protruding from the areola- the pigmented region around the nipple.
  • Even though this phenomenon occurs more commonly among men so causes for hairy nipples among women are conditions like PCOS, irregular menstruation, and ovarian cysts.

Supernumerary nipples

  • This nipple type usually occurs congenitally- meaning at birth.
  • Women with supernumerary nipples usually have an extra nipple over and above the two nipples that already exist.
  • Usually appearing on the chest, this nipple type is rarely the cause of medical complications.

Small Nipples

  • Nipples come in all shapes and sizes. That is why it is entirely normal to have tiny nipples. Much like your foot size, small nipples are a result of genetics.
  • As long as they function conventionally, the size of your nipples doesn't matter.
  • Common causes of small nipples are genetics and pregnancy.
  • Vacuum techniques, specific exercises and surgery are methods used by women to make their nipples bigger.
  • As per a study, nipples are excessively diverse in size. If there are sudden changes in their size, consult your gynaecologist.

Also read: How do healthy nipples look?

Soft Nipples

  • The areola puffs forward in soft nipples.
  • While some women tend to embrace them fully, others find it somewhat embarrassing. Regardless of this, having soft nipples is very typical.
  • Such nipples have excess tissue in the areola region.
  • The common causes of soft nipples include genetics, hormones, PMS, and medication.

Firm Nipples

  • Many women have nipples that tend to get hard. Such nipples are known as firm nipples.
  • Change in temperature or sexual arousal can result in hard nipples.
  • Other possible causes include breastfeeding, ovulation, and allergies from piercings.
  • While having firm nipples is perfectly normal, you must consult a doctor if you experience recurring pain.
  • As per a study, 81.5% of women feel the firmness of their nipples enhances sexual arousal.

Also Read: Foods that Increase Breast Milk

Open Nipples

  • These nipples are sore or cracked.
  • They usually occur among women who are breastfeeding. Some women also experience sore boobs after periods.
  • Open nipples are excessively common among women athletes, especially runners, which is called the jogger's nipple.
  • Studies have found that open nipples are more common among long-distance runners.
  • They can also be due to genetics or piercings.

Inverted nipples

  • Also known as retracted nipples, these nipples sink in rather than protruding outwards.
  • This condition is perfectly normal if this has always been the case, and there's nothing to worry about.
  • If retracted nipples occur suddenly, there may be cause to worry as it could indicate breast cancer.

What Causes Flat Nipples?

  • Some women have nipples that are neither inverted nor protruded. Such nipples are known as flat nipples. The most common cause of flat nipples is genetics.
  • Flat nipples don't respond to sexual arousal or cold weather. Women with flat nipples don't have a problem breastfeeding. That is because flat nipples usually protrude during pregnancy. However, if you can't get your baby to latch onto your breast easily, research suggests using a nipple shield.

Also read: Home remedies for breast pain and tenderness

Why Haven't My Nipples Popped Out Yet?

  • If your nipples haven't popped out yet, there might be a possibility that you have inverted or retracted nipples. But do not worry, as it is not a cause for concern. Instead of sticking out, inverted nipples go inward or lie flat against the areola.
  • While some women are born with them, others develop them later. Research suggests that these nipples are prevalent in 10-20% of the population.
  • Some causes of inverted nipples include aging, genetics, and breast surgery complications.


Kátia Sheylla Malta Purim, Neiva Leite. (2014) Sports-related dermatoses among road runners in Southern Brazil. (U.S. National Library of Medicine)

Deepti Nagaraja Rao, Ryan Winters. (2020) Inverted Nipple. (US. National Library of Medicine)


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