Though there's probably nothing wrong with your boobs, it's totally normal to question the changes in your body and worry about the size, shape, and lumpiness of your breasts. But it's also important to remember that there are SO many different types of boobs and nipples.
You may not know how they're supposed to look, if your nipples should be dark or hairy, or if it's okay if your boobs feel a little lumpy. And yes, you’re not imagining it. One may be slightly bigger than the other and that’s totally fine. Whatever your boob worries are, just breathe. It’s probably okay. When it comes to your breasts here's what's normal — and what's not.
1. Hairy nipples.
Don't freak out if you find a few dark hairs around your nipples (or more than a few!). Almost everyone has some hairs around their nipples. Many girls grow wispy little hairs on their areolas (the darker circles around the nipples), and how many you have depends on your hormones and your genes. It's totally normal and nothing to be embarrassed about, but you can totally remove it if you want. Use tweezers to pluck it or you can cut it with a pair of nail scissors. If you have lots of hair around your nipples and it’s causing you concern, just check in with your doctor to make sure the strands aren’t an indication of a hormonal imbalance.
2. One boob is larger than the other.
Having breasts (or nipples!) that are two different sizes is actually totally normal, especially when you're still going through puberty. The difference may seem more noticeable when your breasts first start developing, and breasts don't always develop at the same rate. But don't stress. Your boobs will eventually catch up to each other, although they probably won't ever be exactly identical. In the meantime, if there's a noticeable difference, you can buy a padded bra and take the padding out of one side. If the difference is more than a cup size, see your doc to rule out a hormonal imbalance or other problem.
3. Large nipples.
Nipples come in all shapes and sizes. Every girl's nipples are different and all are normal. Because there's no standard size or shape, just enjoy what you have.
4. Barely-there boobs.
Your breasts keep growing throughout your teens, and most girls don't reach their final cup size until around 17 or 18, and some girls continue to develop well into their 20s. But don't stress to much about your size either way. Everyone's breasts are different, and having small boobs is awesome. Many of your your fave celebs are all about their small chests. Embrace what you have and don't waste time worrying about how your breasts measure up.
5. If your boobs get sore sometimes.
When you're growing or your breasts swell during your period, your skin (and its nerves) stretch to make room for the extra fullness, which can make them ache like a sore muscle. The wave of hormones your brain releases just before and during your period can also make your breasts tender to the touch. And if your boobs are on the large side, they could be sore from rubbing against your clothing, especially if you play sports. This is totally normal. Try a cool compress to ease any discomfort. If the soreness doesn't go away after your period, or you experience sharp pains, talk to your doctor.
6. Lumpy boobs.
You've probably heard that having a lump in your breast could mean you have breast cancer, but don't freak out if you feel a lump or multiple lumps. The truth is, most girls get lumps in their breasts occasionally due to hormonal fluctuations or natural changes in breast tissue. Cysts (which are fluid-filled sacs) are common too, and they usually come and go naturally. If, however, a lump hurts, makes your skin pucker, or won't go away, see your doctor. While breast cancer is rare in women under 30, it's better to have it checked out to be safe.
7. Dark nipples.
The ring of color around each of your nipples is called the areola. Some girls have. nipples that match their skin color, while others appear to be a few shades darker. It all depends on your genes. On the same note, your nipples can be smooth or wrinkly or somewhere in between, and all are totally normal.
8. Inverted Nipples
Everyone's nipples are different, but if you want to get technical, there are actually four different kinds of nipples: normal (your nipples just stick out a few millimeters), flat (your nipples don't protrude at all), puffy (your nipples are flat except the areola is slightly raised), and inverted (your nipples turn inward). But if you notice any discharge or a change in your nipples, say one was once stuck out but now faces inward, you should see your doctor.
9. Bumps on your nipples.
Those little bumps you see on your areolae? The bumps are just little glands that secrete oil to help keep your nipples from getting chapped when you're breastfeeding.
Kristin Koch is the Editor in Chief of Seventeen, overseeing the content and editorial operations for all of Seventeen's digital and print efforts. Before coming to Seventeen, Koch held editor positions at Glamour, Vanity Fair, and The Knot. In 2016, she founded lifestyle blog, Closetful of Clothes, where she covers everything from style and interiors to travel. A Chicago native, Koch graduated from Colgate University with a degree in History. She loves pizza, rom-coms and HGTV.