If you’ve been wondering “Should I get a nose piercing?” there are lots of things to consider. Maybe you want a rockin’ septum hoop, but you worry about looking more like a bull than your favorite Instagrammer. Or maybe you’re wondering if a needle impaling your nostril really is as painful as it looks.
These thoughts are totally normal. Hey, it’s your nose–most people only have one of them! (Voldemort prefers a tragus piercing.) So, it’s important to do a little research about a nose piercing before you take the plunge.
Welcome to Nose Piercing 101, where we’ll give you the low-down on different types of nose piercings, healing tips, and some great jewelry options. No pop quizzes here, because we’re a cool professor.
What Is a Nose Piercing?
The two most common nose piercings are the nostril and the septum:
- A nostril piercing: penetrates through the side of your right or left nostril.
- A septum piercing: goes through the middle section at the bottom of your nose (that skin that separates your two nostrils).
A septum typically needs a hoop or a barbell, while a nostril looks snazzy with a hoop or a post screw. The post screw is the one that looks like a little stud.
How Much Does a Nose Piercing Cost?
How much a nose piercing costs depends on what shop you go to, what jewelry you pick, and which part of your nose you pierce.
For a single nose piercing, you can expect your base cost to range between $25 and $40. This doesn’t include the cost of the stainless steel or titanium jewelry. Or the piercer’s tip.
A good rule of thumb is that each hole a piercer pokes through your face will cost you money. So if you want both nostrils pierced or a septum and a nostril piercing, that’ll add onto the final cost.
How Painful is a Nose Piercing?
A nose piercing probably won’t feel great, but you’ll survive. Kind of like going to the DMV without an appointment.
I got my own nose pierced three separate times, and each time felt like a very sharp pinch. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d rate my pain as a 6. It was a definite “yowch!” but the piercing was over in seconds. Just like a trip to the DMV!
But every person has a different pain response to piercings, so your experience may be different. Prepare by eating beforehand, drinking water, and bringing a friend for moral support. Or a mortal enemy whose hand you want to break.
If you cry, don’t be surprised. Even though the pain isn’t unbearable, it’s common to tear up because your nose passages are connected to your eyes.
To get a sense of what a nose piercing will feel like, give your hands a wash, then using your thumb and pointer finger, pinch around your nostril and septum to get an idea of how sensitive your nose is.
How Long Will My Nose Piercing Take to Heal?
When pierced by a professional, a nostril and a septum piercing each take two to three months to heal, depending on how your body responds to the piercing. But your nose may be a little sensitive for several months, so we don’t suggest doing this during allergy season.
Matt Southwood is one professional piercer you could trust your nose with. He’s recorded tons of informational videos about different piercings, and as he says in one of them, “You are going to get some swelling, and that swelling usually happens during the first week or two.”
He recommends that you start out wearing a looser type of jewelry during your first month of healing. A tight hoop or fitted stud may cut into your nose if your piercing swells.
Make sure to go to the piercing shop for this one. Leave the self-piercings to Lindsay Lohan and Lindsay Lohan.
What’s Good Nose Piercing Aftercare?
There are some definite dos and don’ts for keeping your piercing happy and healthy. The most important rule for healing? No touchy!
Southwood says, “Don’t touch it, don’t play with it, definitely don’t spin and rotate it. You’re just going to get a lot more scar tissue, and you’ll be more prone to infection. Leave it alone.”
- Clean the piercing with a saltwater soak (distilled water and salt) once a day.
- If you need to touch the piercing, wash your hands first.
- Gently wash your face with water and gentle soap.
- Avoid getting soap, makeup, or other products in the piercing hole.
- Wait to change your jewelry.
- Touch or play with your piercing unless you absolutely have to.
- Use a washcloth or towel to scrub the piercing; you could rip it out.
- Change your piercing before at least a month has passed.
- Wear jewelry that’s not made for your nose. That earring may look cute on your earlobe, but it won’t fit in your nostril.
When Can I Change the Jewelry and What Jewelry is Best?
Want to get pierced with a cute little hoop that hugs your nose? You may want to curb your expectations. Southwood explains that everyone should expect to put up with a bigger, not-so-flattering piece of jewelry at first. Bigger is better, right?
“Everybody has to start off loose in the beginning,” he says. “Nostril screw jewelry is usually bent a little loose to accommodate for any swelling during healing: draining, discharge, and all that fun stuff.” Yum.
After your first month of healing, you can go back to the piercer and have them fit you with a snug, new piece of jewelry.
Want something to look forward to during those first few weeks of healing? Daydream about just how awesome you’d look with this dazzling opal number, this fancy AF septum clicker, or this classic gold hoop. And then remind your friends when your birthday is.
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