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Bloody nipples: Not just a summer problem

Nipples not happy with you? Learn how to stop the bleed.


Bloody nipples. For men, this is one of the most annoying things that can happen on a run. You aim to go for a hard workout or nice, long run and upon return, the shirt is streaked with embarrassing blood stains. Jump in the shower and you can expect some most unpleasant stinging. It’s not nice. Runners, it’s best if you can just avoid it. Here are some prevention methods to try:

Band aid. Or tape. Cover them up before the run to keep them protected. Band aids are a go-to for many runners because they are a bathroom cabinet staple, and available at any drugstore, grocery store or corner store. Instead of using them after the bleeding starts, use them to keep skin from breaking in the first place.


Nipple guards. There is actually a specific product for bloody runner nipples. The nipple guard is targeted to runners. Pretty much every other person on the planet will not have a use for them. Find them in running stores… and don’t be embarrassed to ask about it.

Change the fabrics. Your problem could be solved with a little trial and error. Change up the types of fabrics that you wear as first layer that directly contacts your skin. If you’ve been wearing cotton on the run, stop. Cotton is a known enemy of the nipple. It’s your nipples’ worst nightmare. Look for technical sweat-wicking fabrics that are designed for the workout– and try a few to see which work.

Glide or Vaseline. If you want to erase chafing disasters, get body glide or a tub of Vaseline. Apply liberally, especially if you know you’ll be out for awhile.

Invest in waterproof outer layers. A lot of people think of the bloody nipple as a summer-only problem. It’s not true. It might be less visible in winter, but several runners still finish the run with a blood-stained shirt. That might be because fabric are getting wet. Moisture causes chafing. Get a tough shell that’s going to be waterproof and stand up to winter’s elements. Getting the right gear will cut out more problems than this one alone.

Choose a shirt a size down. The problem could be that the shirts are too big. Loose clothing is way more likely to move around and rub against the skin– that friction can shred a runner’s nipples. The more snug, the better.