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Nose Rings and Piercings

Updated on September 19, 2014

Nose piercing has been a part of various world cultures for hundreds of years

It's only been in the last two decades that nose piercing has gained a mainstream popularity in Western culture. Presently, it is the second most-popular body piercing desired by teens and young adults, after ear piercings. Due to the piercing being through cartilage and not soft tissue, nose piercings take a bit more care to heal properly than ears, and they can be more likely to develop scar tissue or have other healing issues. Unfortunately the explosion in popularity of this piercing has led to too many mall piercing huts doing noses without knowing just how tricky these piercings can be, and a lot of people aren't getting the sort of in-depth information that would help them have a more successful healing experience.

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Information About Piercing Your Nose

Nose piercings don't always heal as easily as people assume. They do not heal as easily as pierced ears. The tissue of the nose is "cartilage" which is a hard-but-flexible material in our bodies. The blood flow isn't as plentiful as "soft tissue" which is the type of material that forms the lower ear lobes.

Friction from a too-tight or too-large nose stud or ring, an accidental yank or snag, or even some people's genetic predispositions can cause a type of scar tissue, called a keloid, to form on healing nose piercings. This is that "bump" that everyone always talks about. Reading up on piercing care and knowing how to take care of your healing nose can really help avoid things like infections and keloids (aka "the bump).

Remember to ask your body piercer how to take care of your new nose piercing BEFORE you get your nose pierced. This is important because some people get sort of dizzy or feel a head rush from piercing, and it can make it harder to remember the aftercare info if you talk afterwards. (really!)

Also, many states have rules and regulations about ages and nose piercings. Be prepared to have legal ID, a legal guardian and their legal ID on hand to get your nose pierced in some states.

Nostril Piercing

the common nose ring

The most commonly pierced place on the nose is somewhere along the rim of the nostril. Placement is most often at the peak of the curved edge.

Jewelry is most often a small stud or ring. For healing a nose piercing, wearing a ring allows the piercing to be cleaned more easily. Whatever is worn, it's best to wear gold or steel during the 3 month healing period. Do NOT wear sterling silver as it has the unfortunate side effect of leave a permanent black mark on your nose.

The most common complaint about nose piercings is that, like many other cartilage piercings, these can form a keloid, a bump-like type of scar tissue. This is most often due to friction or continuous irritation of the piercing.

As common as this piercing has become, they aren't as easy to heal as most young people assume. Many people do not truly anticipate what it's going to be like to have what is really a healing wound on their face for two to three months.

It often helps to try not to sleep facedown and to change your pillowcase more often while healing a nose piercing. Do not put rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on a healing nose piercing as both can burn the raw tissues inside the piercing and increase irritation.

See what getting your nose pierced is like

High Polish Titanium Captive Bead Ring (18G - 1/2" Inch)
High Polish Titanium Captive Bead Ring (18G - 1/2" Inch)

A small hoop is the healthiest piece of jewelry to wear in a new nose piercing because they aren't too tight to the skin surface and they can be rotated, which helps you to clean the entire inside surface of the piercing. These might look large in the photos, but they are the appropriate thickness and sizes for nose piercings.

 

Which "Side" Should You Get Pierced?

It's an URBAN MYTH that somehow getting one side of your nose pieced or the other has some sort of special meaning. Whichever side you decide to get pierced is just your personal preference, nothing more. Any of your friends who tell you differently are just spreading internet rumors.

Septum Piercing

Sometimes nicknamed the "bull ring" piercing, the nose is also sometimes pierced through the cartilage that separates the chambers of the nose, the septum. This piercing is more common in tribal peoples. Reasons for this peircing were to imitate totem animals, to bring luck and to keep evil spirits from entering the body by coming in through the nose.

This piercing can be made invisible by wearing a U-shaped piece of jewelry with the ends flipped up into the nose.

See a Septum being pierced

Nostril Screws - body jewelry - a type of jewelry that was tradionally worn in India for pierced noses

For nose piercings, you want the starter jewelry to be surgical-grade steel, or 14k gold or better.

You want to avoid sterling silver for any fresh or still-healing nose piercings because the silver tarnishing not only can cause or increase irritation in the healing piercing, it can also trigger a condition where the healing skin is permanently stained with a dark color.

You should not start out with anything nylon or plastic in a fresh piercing, as those surfaces tend to cause adverse skin reactions and interfere with healing. They are fine for piercings that have fully-healed. So, don't think about getting a new nose piercing and then hiding it on the job. It really doesn't work well.

How to Wear a Nostril Screw - This jewelry starts out by twisting into place. Rotate the nostril screw so that the curled part of the wire pokes through your nose. Once you get the curl turned through the piercing, rotate the jewelry so that the straight part pops into place inside your nose. The curl should now be parallel to your nostril, hidden on the inside of your nose and should hold the jewelry in place securely but without digging into your nose too tightly.

Piercing "Guns" Are BAD! - Learn Why Here

Piercing guns are very bad for noses because they were not made to pierce noses, they pierce using a very blunt stud (increases chances of scarring), the jewelry fits too tightly (increases chances of infection) and, most importantly, they are NOT sterilized properly in between customers so as to prevent the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C!Do yourself a favor and do NOT get your nose pierced this way!

Nose Pins and L-Bars - body jewelry - more nose piercing jewelry

I really recommend NOT wearing a nose "bone" as it's a stud with a fat rounded end on the back end that has to be forced in and out of the nose piercing to change. Frequently the piercing canal shrinks down to the size of the bar part, and I get a lot of email from people who are stuck trying to yank the bone out of their nose. Sometimes they even have to be cut to be removed. Essentially, this type of jewelry can be a literal pain in the nose, and I suggest that people absolutely avoid wearing them.

L-bars however have a tiny bend, often smaller than a nostril screw and this holds the stud in place. Nose pins are a straight post with no form of backing, and those either stay in place for you, or they don't. I think both styles are much more viable for nose jewelry options. The best is a tiny ring or the nostril screws listed above.

The Earl or Bridge Piercing

A modern nose piercing that's been invented is sometimes called the "earl" or bridge piercing and involves a barbell being pierced through the skin over the bridge of the nose. The only part of the body jewelry visible are the two balls on the ends of the bar, which rest on either side of the nose.

Facial movement and surface tension makes this a difficult piercing to heal for some people. Others abandon the piercing as having the balls just inside their field of vision becomes annoying.

This piercing got the name "earl" from one of the first people who ever got this piercing. Earl played the tattooed and pierced elder on the vampire high council in the first Blade movie, wearing his own body art, not makeup, for the role.

Watch A Bridge Piercing As It's Done

Nose Piercing Prejudice

The one thing you have to remember if you're going to get your nose pierced is that in Western culture, it's still frowned upon in a lot of places. There are plenty of people who will dismiss you as weird, kinky, masochistic, self-damaging and just not "right" when they see you have a nose piercing. It's pretty common for people to be told to take any facial piercings out at their place of work, or to not get hired for a job if you have a facial piercing, regardless of your actual resume and qualifications.

If you aren't up to withstanding any of these prejudgments, don't get your nose pierced.

Some people switch out metal jewelry for retainers when they have to deal with certain work or family situations. This type of jewelry is made out of clear acrylic, so as to be of a lower visual profile than metal. These are only appropriate for piercings that are completely finished healing, as the plastics sometimes interact badly with still-healing skin surfaces.

Clear Acrylic Cone Nose Screw Retainer 18 Gauge
Clear Acrylic Cone Nose Screw Retainer 18 Gauge

Understand that acrylic retainers are NOT really invisible, they just have a lower visible profile than metal jewelry. You can still see that you have a nose piercing when you wear them.

 

Got a nose piercing question? If it's a brief one, you can ask it here. Questions that are addressed by something written in the lens already will get deleted to cut down on repetition.

It's also a good idea to read through past questions to see if someone has already asked what you wish to ask about, as that might get you your answer right away!

Please note, I can NOT answer the following questions:

- how much will it hurt? (no clue, that all depends on your own perceptions and physical tolerance)

- how much do piercings cost? (go ask a piercer)

- how will something heal? (your own body's healing process and how diligent you are taking care of your nose can't be predicted)

- is this infected? (go see a doctor for a medical diagnosis)

Ask About Nose Piercings

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    • profile image

      Valeka 8 months ago

      i got my nose pierced about 5-6 months ago and it seems healed fine, do you think i would be able to change the jewelery now?

    • profile image

      Theresa 11 months ago

      I just had my nose pierced and the stud came out just hours later it took my a minute to get it back in but it didn't go thru my nose it's just sitting in the surface of my nose

      Is this correct

    • profile image

      Maggie 13 months ago

      I just had my nose pierced last month and this morning my corkscrew nose stud fell out while showering. I literally have a cleaned earstud in my nose to prevent closing. I can't seem to put back in the piercing. How do you put it in?

    • profile image

      mookuthi 3 years ago

      @anonymous: i had my both nostrils pierced

    • schwarz profile image
      Author

      Rae Schwarz 3 years ago from Seattle, WA

      @jena-brilhante: If you touch your nose a lot due to allergies, you might actually be a person who will be happier NOT getting a nose piercing.

    • profile image

      jena-brilhante 3 years ago

      which piercing is better to get first ? I really want a nose ring but all the videos I watch people get the stud ...I also touch my nose a lot due to my allergies so does it matter which piercing I get first I don't want my nose to be infected

    • schwarz profile image
      Author

      Rae Schwarz 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      @anonymous: Switching to a hoop allows for more thorough cleaning (especially rinsing) but if the ring gets snagged or rubs, you could have the same problem. I had success with tea tree oil on an ear keloid, but applied it for a couple months to ensure the keloid was fully gone and healed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hey, so I've had my nose pierced twice. The first time I started with a hoop and ended up with a keloid for several months. The second time I went with a titanium corkscrew...but after a few weeks it snagged on my shirt and yanked itself right out. Ever since putting back it back in (which has been about two months ago) it's had a small little bump right above the stud. And on the inside of my nose too. It went away for almost a week when I tried tea tree oil. But it came back with a vengeance when I blew my nose one day. Would switching to a hoop possibly help? It's a gauge size 22 right now. I'd be down to switch it to anything at all. I'm just so sick of this bump! -- Thank you!!!!

    • schwarz profile image
      Author

      Rae Schwarz 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      @anonymous: I can't say that is a deal breaker but you might find it makes healing a bit more challenging. You'd want to make sure to clean the piercing well but gently to not make your nose react and get even more oily (more frequent cleansing stimulates oil glands even more)

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have a sweaty nose and really oily skin. Would that be a deal breaker issue for getting a nose ring?

    • schwarz profile image
      Author

      Rae Schwarz 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      @anonymous: Healing times and what metals to wear or not is all talked about in my lens. You just have to go back and read this section, https://hubpages.com/style/nosepiercing-2

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hello your advice would be greatly appreciated! I got my nose pierced today 1-25-13 and I know its bad to do but I got it pierced by a gun (mainly because it was cheaper). It didn't hurt and as far as I can tell it's doing fine no major pain, swelling or bumps. There is a back on the piercing though and I wanted to know should I take it out? I bought 3 sterling silver nose earrings that's much smaller. Is it too early to change it to that? How long should I wait for it to heal? Thank You!!!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hello. Got my nose pierced like a week ago. My piercer told me to wait about 2 to 3 weeks to change my jewelry, maybe I'll wait like a month. My question is, when is it a good time to wear sterling silver jewelry? Or should I never ever use it, even though my piercing would be fully healed in like 6 months? Also, are gold filled piercings ok after like a month? Or should I just stick with pure gold?

    • schwarz profile image
      Author

      Rae Schwarz 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      @anonymous: if you change to sterling silver while still healing, you will wind up with a permanent black stain around your piercing that will never go away.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      I appreciate your attempt to provide information on this even if it is not my cup of tea. I have several Indian friends who wears nose piercings and somehow it looks alright on them - not so much on others. Pinned to my "this I want you to know board" sent out by digg and blessed.

    • schwarz profile image
      Author

      Rae Schwarz 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      @anonymous: There are several reasons why having a pierced nose might not be the best for you. If your current school or future high school doesn't allow piercings, that could be bad. If you like to play sports at school, most often facial piercings aren't allowed. If your skin gives you a lot of problems, healing could be more of an issue. If you aren't up to changing your routine and lifestyle to help heal the piercing (issues for any body art), then it might be better to just skip it. Many people do find rings are easier to clean and allow more air-flow and space for swelling, and prefer them initially. Some people find their noses take more than 3 months to heal, and have problems with changing jewelry, unfortunately there's now way to predict any of that.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I would really like to get my nose pierced, and I'm only 13. is there any reason 13 would be too young to get my nose pierced? Should I get a ring since it's easier to clean, even though I'd much rather have a stud (if it's much easier to get an infection with a stud, I'll get a ring and suck it up for 3 months)? If I get a ring, how long should I wait to take it out and put a stud in? (I know it takes about 3 months to heal, but since I'd be changing the style should I wait longer?) Or should I just get a stud? Sorry, my parents won't agree to this unless I do a bunch of research about it and know exactly what I want done.

    • schwarz profile image
      Author

      Rae Schwarz 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      @anonymous: Neither is better. The color choice is up to you, based on what you prefer.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      is white gold nose stud better than yellow gold nose stud

    • schwarz profile image
      Author

      Rae Schwarz 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      @anonymous: Both rings and nostril screws are secure, but rings allow for better and more thorough cleaning.

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