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Guide to Nose Piercing

The nose is an increasingly fashionable piercing site, and it’s as popular with those who work in an office as with people who favor a slightly more unconventional lifestyle. Worldwide, it’s the second most common piercing site (after the ear), and it has both social and religious significance in many cultures.

Healing Time: Allow at least 3 to 4 months for a traditional nostril piercing and at least 4 to 8 weeks for a septum piercing.

Location: The most common site is the nostril (traditionally placed where the nostril begins to flare), with the septum being second most popular. A high nostril piercing, done through the thin cartilage under the nose bone, is a distant third.

Suitable Types of Jewelry

Jewelry Styles for Nostril Piercings: Initial jewelry for a traditional nostril piercing includes rings, studs and screws. Rings should be at least 20 gauge with a diameter of 5/16 to 7/16 inch. For studs and screws, select one that’s 20 or 18 gauge. Make sure that the post length leaves enough room for the initial swelling.

Jewelry Styles for Septum Piercings: The septum piercing, which is placed within the tissue that divides the nostrils, requires a circular barbell, ring, or retainer as the initial jewelry. A 14 or 12 gauge is optimal, though 16 gauge is acceptable, and 10 gauge can be appropriate on those with large features. If you choose a ring, the diameter should be 3/8, or 7/16.

Suitable Materials: Initial jewelry, as well as the jewelry you wear after the piercing heals, should be nickel-free white or yellow gold, platinum, surgical stainless steel, or titanium.

Jewels: Jewels should be set rather than glued to assist with sterilization procedures and to ensure they won’t fall out.

Changing Jewelry: Many people feel more comfortable asking a professional piercer to help them change their jewelry the first time. This is especially true if your initial jewelry is a screw, as it requires a pulling-twisting motion to remove and a pushing-twisting motion to insert. Most septum piercings heal fully after a couple of months, and they are typically easier to change than nostril piercings. However, since removing and inserting the jewelry is done by feel, some people request assistance from their piercer until they can better locate the holes with their fingers.

Keep in Mind: It’s important to avoid using jewelry with press-on backings (typically worn as earrings) in your nostril piercing. Not only can the sharp end of the post cause damage to the septum, but the backing can contain infection-causing bacteria.