Body Positivity
July 26, 2022

20 Types Of Nipples, Illustrated

Check out these images if you’re wondering what nipples look like.
Written by
Emily A. Klein
Published on
July 26, 2022
Updated on
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Nipples can be hairy or bare, plump or low-profile, pointed, puffy, inverted, pink, brown, smooth, wrinkly, asymmetrical, pierced — in other words, there’s a wide variety of nipple types. This guide illustrates just 20 types of nipples, but there are even more types not pictured here. No matter what your nipples look like, know that your nipples look normal. 

What is a nipple? 

The nipple is an area of raised tissue in the center of each side of the chest. Although “nipple” technically refers to the part in the middle that sticks out, many people use the word to describe the entire structure, including the areola (the round part that is often darker in color than the surrounding skin). People of all genders have nipples, which can change shape, becoming erect (aka getting hard) when muscles under the skin pull together in response to direct touch or cold. 

20 types of nipples of all shapes and sizes

Scroll through this list to see if you can spot your own nipple type. If you don’t find your nipples here, don’t worry! There are plenty of nipples not on this list — further proof of how varied nipples can be. 

Chunky or long

Some people have very large nipples that are wide in diameter and stick out, especially when erect. People with big nipples may have large or small areolas. Other people have nipples that are longer than they are wide; they may hang down or stick straight out.

chunky nipples
long nipples


The areola can sometimes cover much of the surface of the breast. In other people, the nipples are very small.

extra large nipples
extra small nipples

Pointy or flat

Some nipples, whether they’re big or small, are pointed, particularly when they’re hard. Others are almost completely flat.

pointy nipples
flat nipples

Pale or dark areolas

Some areolas are very light in color compared to the surrounding skin; if they’re highly pigmented, they may appear a lot darker than the skin on the rest of the chest.

pale  nipples
dark nipples

Hairy nipples 

The areolas are surrounded by hair follicles; people of all genders can have hairy nipples.

hairy nipples
hairy nipples


Also known as “innie” nipples, inverted nipples are tucked into the areola and may or may not poke out when erect. Both nipples may be inverted, or just one.

inverted nipples
single inverted nipple


Some people have areolas that stick out from the surface of the breast, giving the nipples a puffy appearance.

puffy nipples
puffy nipples

More or fewer than two

About 1 in 20 people may have an extra, or supernumerary, nipple; some people have more than one supernumerary nipple. An extra nipple may be almost unnoticeable and resemble a mole or freckle or may look like a smaller version of a person’s other nipples. Others who have undergone mastectomy (breast removal surgery) may have had their nipples removed as part of the procedure, and have only one nipple, or no nipples.

extra nipple
single nipple


Some people who have undergone breast or chest surgery may have extensive scarring.

scarred nipples
scarred nipples

Tattooed or prosthetic

For those who choose to have breast reconstruction after a mastectomy/nipple removal, realistic nipples may be tattooed on. Others may opt for prosthetic nipples, which are often made of silicon and attached to the breast with a special adhesive.

prosthetic nipple
tattooed nipple

The bottom line

There are many different types of nipples. Whichever nipple type you have — long, thick, big, small, puffy, or some combination of nipple types — know that it is perfectly normal for your body. Nipples are also erogenous zones, which is why nipple sucking can feel so good.

Reviewed for Medical Accuracy

Emily A. Klein is a freelance writer with deep interests in science, culture, and health. As a student of cultural anthropology, she researched and wrote about kink, reproductive rights, cross-cultural medicine, and humans’ relationship with technology. She has designed and implemented a sexual health curriculum for adolescent girls, worked with foster youth and people experiencing housing insecurity, and volunteered as an emergency first responder. Her writing has appeared in The Establishment, Edible magazine, The Seattle Lesbian, Slog, and elsewhere.

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