Thinking About a Septum Piercing? Here’s What You Should Know

Thinking About a Septum Piercing


Are you considering getting a septum piercing? This type of piercing, which goes through the fleshy tissue between your nostrils, has gained popularity and is no longer limited to punks and cartoon bulls. Before you make a decision, it’s important to understand the process, pain level, cost, risks, aftercare, and other factors associated with septum piercings. In this article, we’ll explore all these aspects to help you make an informed choice.

Eligibility and Process

Can anyone get a septum piercing?

In general, anyone can get a septum piercing, but it’s essential to note that every nose is unique. The presence of a columella, a thin strip of fleshy tissue in front of the cartilage, is ideal for septum piercings. If the columella is thin or nonexistent, the piercer might have to go through the cartilage, which can be more painful and take longer to heal. Additionally, if you have a deviated septum, the piercing may not be centered.

How is the piercing done?

Once you have chosen a reputable piercer, you will be required to provide identification and complete some paperwork, including a waiver. The procedure can vary among piercers, but it usually involves disinfecting the inside of your nostrils. The piercer may use a needle alone (freehand technique), forceps to hold your nostrils open along with a needle, or a receiving tube to support the tissue while passing the needle through. The jewelry is then inserted as the needle is removed. The entire process typically takes only a minute or two.

Pain, Cost, and Metals

Pain level

Septum piercings are generally considered less painful compared to other types of piercings. Most people describe the sensation as “weird” or “unusual” rather than painful, often likening it to the feeling of needing to sneeze. The pain from the needle is brief, lasting only a split second. Some individuals may find the insertion of the jewelry slightly more uncomfortable than the initial piercing. To minimize pain, it is recommended to relax during the procedure.

Cost and recommended metals

The cost of a septum piercing typically ranges from $40 to $90. Factors such as the piercer’s experience, location of the studio, and the type of jewelry used can influence the price. For initial piercings, most piercers use surgical stainless steel (SSS) jewelry, as it is safe and affordable. Titanium is another popular option, especially for people with severe nickel allergies, as it is hypoallergenic. Niobium is a similar alternative to titanium, while solid 14-karat or higher gold is pricier but an option for those seeking a more luxurious look.

Jewelry Types, Risks, and Aftercare

Jewelry types

During the healing process, it is necessary to keep the initial jewelry in place. Typically, this includes a 14- or 16-gauge ring, circular barbell, or horseshoe. Once the piercing is fully healed, you can choose from a wide variety of jewelry options. Consult with your piercer to find the best style for your needs, such as a horseshoe shape if you want to hide the piercing while at work.

Potential risks

While the risks associated with septum piercings can be minimized by choosing an experienced and reputable piercer, it’s important to be aware of possible complications. These include allergic reactions to certain jewelry materials, infections, septal hematoma (blood collection between tissues), bloodborne diseases from unsterilized needles, scarring, and tearing of the jewelry.

Aftercare and healing time

Proper aftercare is crucial to ensure proper healing and minimize the risk of infection and other complications. Your piercer will provide you with specific instructions, but here are some general guidelines to follow:

  • Avoid touching the piercing, as it can prolong the healing process.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before touching or cleaning the piercing to avoid introducing bacteria.
  • Minimize flipping the jewelry up unless necessary, and if needed, rinse it with warm water to loosen any crust.
  • Avoid using alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or harsh soaps for cleaning. Instead, opt for a saline solution to rinse the area.
  • Limit cleaning to two or three times per day or as needed.
  • Be cautious when dressing, blowing your nose, or engaging in activities that may catch or pull the piercing.

The healing time for a septum piercing ranges from 2 to 8 months, depending on various factors such as adherence to aftercare instructions, personal health, and the presence of any complications.

Changing the jewelry

It is generally recommended to wait until the piercing is no longer tender, the minimum healing time has passed (usually 2 to 3 months), and there is no weeping or crusting before changing the jewelry. If you need to change it during the healing period, consult a piercer to ensure a safe and proper procedure.

The Smell and Signs of Problems

Smell associated with septum piercings

Some individuals may notice a distinctive smell with their septum piercings, even after the healing period. In most cases, the odor is due to the accumulation of oils and dead skin cells around the jewelry. Regular cleaning should help mitigate this issue.

Signs of a problem

It is important to be aware of signs and symptoms that may indicate a problem with your septum piercing. These include severe or worsening pain, redness, swelling, itching, pressure, abnormal discharge (green, yellow, or gray with a bad smell), fever or chills, lumps, or abnormal tissue growth. If you experience any of these, it is advisable to seek medical attention.

Retiring the Piercing and Conclusion

Removing the piercing

If you decide you no longer want a septum piercing, you have the option to remove it yourself or have a piercer assist you. The hole will eventually close up, usually within a couple of months. However, if you remove the piercing during the healing period, it is essential to continue with the aftercare routine until the hole is completely closed.

Final thoughts

If a septum piercing appeals to you, it is important to find a reputable piercer and carefully consider the information provided in this article. Septum piercings can be a unique and stylish form of self-expression, but they also require proper care and consideration. By understanding the process, risks, and aftercare involved, you can make an informed decision about whether a septum piercing is right for you.