Nose Ring Care
Always consult with a piercing professional or doctor.
Your piercer is the best source of information about how to care for your new piercing, though there are some pretty standard do’s and don’ts. Keep in mind that your piercing is essentially a wound and should be treated as such: don’t jostle, disturb, or cause trauma to the area. Soaking a sterile gauze pad with a saline solution several times a day is a great way to clean the site and remove the common crust bits that can accumulate around the piercing. After several weeks to a month, you can cut back to once a day. Despite what you may have heard, harsh soaps, alcohol, and peroxide should be avoided, and antibiotic ointments shouldn’t be used on any puncture wound.
The whole idea of turning the jewelry in a new piecing so it doesn’t get “stuck” to the skin is outdated as well. It’s okay to gently rotate the jewelry in the hole when you’re cleaning to allow the saline solution to penetrate, but don’t do it for fun or because you think you should.
The most important rule is to always wash your hands well before they come anywhere near your piercing. If it becomes infected, you may be able to return your piercing to a healthy state, but you may also have to give up the piercing and try again later.
After you get a nose piercing, you’ll want to pay attention to anything that comes into contact with your nose. That means that you need to wash your towels and bedding at least once a week – and preferably more often than that for pillowcases and washcloths – as well as eyeglasses and sunglasses. Also, if you use hairspray or facial lotion, you must be vigilant about keeping them away from the piercing or, better yet, restrict their use until it’s completely healed. Both for hygiene’s sake and potential trauma avoidance, keep little kids and pets away from your face as much as possible. Obviously, it’s not possible (or advisable!) to avoid your children for months, but try to teach them to keep their hands away from your nose.
Lastly, try to use disposable products on your nose – cotton swabs for cleaning crusted material around the piercing, gauze for soaking, and paper towels for drying.
Sometimes troublesome situations arise on the road to a successfully healed nose piercing. One upsetting situation for nostril piercings is when the jewelry seems to be sinking into the skin. At-home remedies like placing a small section of Micropore paper tape around the jewelry and the hole – a form of compression therapy – can work. Seek the expertise of your piercer or a physician before things get too out of hand; otherwise, you may be looking at a surgical removal of your jewelry.
A common issue for septum piercings is the off-putting but relatively harmless phenomenon of “septum stench.” It’s caused by natural fluid containing dead skin that accumulates around the piercing, and though it truly does stink, you’re the only one who can smell it. Go back to the cleaning regimen you implemented when you got your piercing, and it should clear up.
When to Remove a Nose Ring
The good news/bad news situation with nose piercings (and nostril piercings in particular) is that it doesn’t take long for the hole to close up – especially if you haven’t stretched it and have used small-gauge jewelry. This is good if you tire of your piercing and want to close the hole. This is bad if you’re simply cleaning your jewelry or forget to put it back in before going to sleep. This tendency to close up rapidly may remain for the life of your piercing, but it’s especially critical in the beginning to always wear nose jewelry and not to dawdle when cleaning the jewelry. If you need to be discrete about your nose jewelry, wear a clear retainer for a nostril piercing or a dull gray metal retainer for the septum, which can be flipped up inside the nostrils. Your piercer can advise you about whether to remove nose jewelry for cleaning while it’s healing, but most will tell you to avoid doing so. When it’s time to remove it for the first time, many people feel better about asking their piercer to help them with the technique, as it can be frustrating, awkward, and potentially painful in the beginning.