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.
The areola can sometimes cover much of the surface of the breast. In other people, the nipples are very small.
Pointy or flat
Some nipples, whether they’re big or small, are pointed, particularly when they’re hard. Others are almost completely flat.
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.
The areolas are surrounded by hair follicles; people of all genders can have 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.
Some people have areolas that stick out from the surface of the breast, giving the nipples a puffy appearance.
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.
Some people who have undergone breast or chest surgery may have extensive scarring.
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.
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.