Societal pressure to have the perfect body isn’t new, but societal pressure to have the perfect nipples might be. In a recent video with The New York Post, Dr. Norman Rowe, a plastic surgeon New York, reports an increase in women looking for what he calls the “designer nipple”—one that is perpetually hard, with a small, light-colored areola.
“A lot of patients are coming in with the intent of, you know, burning their bras,” Rowe says. “More recently, the more prominent nipple has become a very popular look and trend. A lot of our patients want that high beam or headlight look.”
Rowe points to celebrities including Rihanna, Bella Hadid, and Kendall Jenner as the trend’s inspirations. Back in 2016, Jenner clarified that she’s anti-bra in a post on her since-deleted blog. “I think it’s cool and I really just don’t care,” she wrote. “It’s sexy, it’s comfortable, and I’m cool with my breasts. It’s also a fun way to show off my different nipple rings.”
Her comments certainly started a movement—and countless headlines. (Allure compiled a list of some of Jenner’s best nipple-focused looks, if you’re intrigued.) But now, women are bringing photos of Jenner and other braless celebrities to surgeons like Rowe and seeking all kinds of procedures: Ones that will make their nipples smaller, larger, or more symmetrical.
Mark Ashton, the President of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, tells the Huffington Post that it’s always been typical for patients undergoing breast reduction to also ask for a smaller areola, but The Independent reports that just last year, these procedures have more than quadrupled. Though the treatments are quick—Rowe says that a ten-minute “nipple filler” appointment, for instance, can last for two years—they’re not cheap. Designer nipples start at $700, but the price increases depending on other desired features or alterations.
On the upside, the Huffington Post writes that the procedure has gotten safer and less invasive as it’s become more popular. Ashton even says that medical advancements mean some of these women may still have the ability to breastfeed and retain nipple sensation post-operation. While these advancements can be great—especially for those getting a mastectomy or gender confirmation surgery—we're not here for impossible ideals of nipple beauty.
So if you’re feeling the look, go ahead! Burn your bra. Free your nipples. But you don’t need Kendall Jenner areolas. Just remember that all nipples are perfect nipples, and consult a doctor before undergoing any kind of surgical procedure.
Top photo via YouTube / Rihanna
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Lydia Wang is a writer, pug enthusiast, and hopeless romantic. She lives in New York, writes for BUST, and overshares on Twitter: @lydiaetc.