The first, and most important, part of getting a nose piercing is picking your piercer and your jewelry. One way you can find a piercer is by going to the Association of Professional Piercers website and using their Find a Piercer database.
Once you find an expert piercer, they will help you choose the perfect piece of jewelry. Many piercers tend to recommend threadless jewelry, which is essentially a post and an end on a pin that is pushed into the post, for the initial piercing and healing process. Threadless jewelry allows for enough length to accommodate any swelling and discharge/drainage that will occur during the healing process.
After your nose piercing has fully healed, you can select from different types of jewelry, including:
- Nostril screws: These are posts that turn into screws at the bottom. The top-end can have a bezel or a small design that attaches to the post; the bottom end is the piece that is similar to a screw shape. The “screw” feature keeps the jewelry in place and there is less of an opportunity for it to fall or be ripped out. Typically, your professional piercer will bend the screw so it has a loose fit inside the nose.
- Rings/Hoops: While it may be enticing to get your nose pieced initially with a ring, some piercers recommend against this. A ring is meant to be snug to the nose and doesn’t allow for extra room for swelling and discharge/drainage during the initial healing process. If the ring is too small or fitted, it will cut into the tissue which can cause hypertrophic scarring and prolonged healing. Consider switching to a ring once your piercing has healed completely. There are different types of rings you can select for your nose piercing: segment rings, captive bead rings, seamless rings, circular barbells, and more.
- L bends: This type of jewelry is similar to a nostril screw, except that it comes pre-bent in a convenient L shape. The post part goes through the piercing and the bent part clings to your nostril to create a comfortable, snug fit.
- Nose bones: This type of jewelry is very easy to insert and remove. It’s simply a post with a stud on one end.
The standard jewelry size for the nose is an 20 gauge or 18 gauge.
Fortunately, Urban Body Jewelry has a large selection of nostril studs, rings, and more to browse through.
The Nose Piercing Process
Once you’ve picked out the jewelry and you are in the piercing room, your expert piercer will have a clean space to work from and the jewelry already prepped and cleaned. Before getting started, your piercer will put on a pair of gloves and then clean the areas where your piercing will be placed. Next, the piercer will mark the spot where the piercing will go. Once you agree on the placement, the piercer will clamp the nose and insert the needle or they will perform the piecing freehand. After the hollow needle has been inserted, the jewelry will be put in immediately with one swift motion.
How Long Does a Nose Piercing Take to Heal?
The typical healing process for a nostril piercing is two to three months; that’s if there aren’t any issues with the piercing. Everyone’s body is a little different, meaning each person heals differently as well.
Since the nose has mucus membranes, it is normal to expect some swelling, especially within the first week. During the healing process, it is important not to touch it, play with it, or rotate it. Leave the jewelry in a stationary position for as long as you can.
If you have to touch your piercing, make sure you wash your hands with antibacterial soap before you do. The inside of your piercing is essentially forming a scab, and the more that the jewelry gets moved around, the more that the scab is disrupted. Touching the piercing can also introduce new bacteria into the open tissue, which can cause infection and prolonged healing time.
How to Put in a Nose Ring?
As long as your piercing is well-healed, then installing jewelry should be fairly easy. The best method is to use some sort of water-based lubrication. Then gently insert the jewelry into the piercing using very little pressure to make sure not to damage the fistula, or piercing hole. If you experience resistance and the jewelry feels as if it doesn’t want to go in, then go ahead and push slightly harder. However, at no point should it become painful or start to bleed. If it does, go and see a professional piercer in your area who can assist you with jewelry installation.
When Can I Change My Nose Piercing?
Before changing your nose piercing, make sure it is completely healed. 2-3 months is the standard healing time for a nostril piercing. Once you feel like your piercing is good to go, then you should be okay to change out your jewelry. If at any point you are met with resistance or have trouble, then you should seek out a professional piercer who can help you change your jewelry.
How Do You Know When Your Nose Piercing is Healed?
Most nostril piercings will take roughly about 2-3 months at the minimum to be completely healed. After that time, a good rule of thumb is: if you go a solid 2-3 weeks without seeing any crust or discharge, then your piercing could possibly be fully healed. However, it’s hard to say exactly since this is something that varies from person to person because everyone heals differently, which means some people heal much faster and some heal much slower.
How to Clean Nose Piercings
During the healing process, you should clean your nostril piercing two times a day: morning and night. First, you’re going to want to buy some Neilmed Piercing Aftercare Spray. Essentially, it’s a sterile saline solution in a can. Simply spray the solution on your healing nose piercing; you can then either let it set in or wipe off any excess. If it gets all over your face, you can wipe it off with a dry paper towel.
What to Avoid
As your piercing heals, there are certain things that you’re going to want to avoid doing.
First, you’re going to want to avoid any harsh bottle cleansers, such as Hydrogen Peroxide, alcohol, Neosporin, Bactine, and antibacterial soap.
You’re also going to want to be careful when you wash your face. You can lightly wash around the piercing, but you want to make sure that none of the cleanser gets into your piercing hole. You also want to avoid drying your face with cotton swabs, cotton balls, and q-tips; the fibers from these items tend to get stuck or trapped around the jewelry in your piercing, which can cause irritation and healing problems.
As your piercing is healing, you’ll want to avoid public bodies of water. Showers and baths are fine, but public bodies of water run the risk of introducing unwanted bacteria into the tissue and healing piercing hole (fistula), which can lead to infection.
Disclaimer: If you have any medical questions or concerns about your piercing, please visit your local professional piercer or medical professional.