The septum piercing is a unique piercing because of its versatility, you can go big or small. The septum piercing is the piercing that goes through the nasal septum, it’s the piece of the nose that separates the left and right nostrils. The piercer is going to find the “sweet spot” the spot in the nose where the flesh is thin, this is past the cartilage. This spot is also referred to as the “columella” and this is what you are going to stretch during the septum stretching process. The septum is a popular piercing to stretch because even stretched it stays hidden. The stretching process might alter the appearance of the nose, by changing its shape a little bit. It is not like the ears, which are very obvious when stretched. The initial size for a septum piercing is a 14 gauge ring, in order to stretch this, it must be completely healed. The quickest and fastest way to get to your desired size is to have it pierced professionally to that particular size. For example, if you are looking to have a 2 gauge septum, a piercer can pierce your septum to that size safely, with minimal damage to the piercing.
The Stretching Process
Stretching the septum should only be done with single flared jewelry or a ring in your desired size. You always want to stay consistent with your sizes, jumping between sizes is going to damage the piercing. For example, if you are starting with a 14 gauge piercing the next size you can stretch too is a 12 gauge. Do not stretch your piercing from a 14 gauge to a 10 gauge, this will damage the piercing considerably. If you want to jump sizes, the best route is to go to a professional piercer and have them look the piercing and decide if that is something they can do safely. Not everyone has access to a professional piercer and that is okay, but it’s important to stretch safely and not jump sizes. You will want to wait about a month or two between each stretch because each stretch is going to cause some trauma to the piercing. When stretching you are going to want to use a taper and a water-based lubricant.
A taper is a tool that starts out very small and gradually increases in size. It has a concave end to help guide the jewelry into the piercing. Professionals recommend using a lubricant such as KY or Lubriderm. Coat the taper in the lubricant and then insert the taper through the piercing with the jewelry sitting in the concave piece of the taper. This should be one smooth movement, you want the jewelry to go into the nose as the taper is finished going through the piercing. When it comes to stretching the septum, it is a little different then some areas because of the amount of cartilage that is near it. It is a lot denser then the cartilage in your ear. As you continue to go to bigger sizes each stretch will condense the cartilage a little more, eventually this will cause some distortion in the nose. Everyone has a different sized nose, and you don’t usually see much distortion at the smaller sizes, it usually starts when you stretch to a 2 gauge or bigger. The nose may bubble out a little bit or gain a round shape.
The Healing Process
After the stretch there is going to be some after care involved. When you stretch your septum expect some eye watering and swelling. The first two weeks after a stretch are going to be very tender, and your nose will be swollen. The longer you wait between stretches the easier the stretch is. For instance, it is better to wait 6 months in between a stretch then 2 months. Depending on how long you wait to stretch and how big the stretch is your septum may feel tender for more than the initial two weeks. The jewelry is going to fit very tight into the nose and there will be swelling in the mucus membranes around the jewelry. It’s important to let the damage from the stretch heal before doing anything more to the piercing, a minimum of two months. During this time, you don’t want to use any bottled products such as; Hydrogen peroxide, Bactine, Neosporin, or Alcohol. The best way to let the septum heal and get used to the next size is by doing sea salt soaks and letting your body use its own healing mechanisms.
After the stretch you will want to do a sea salt soak two times a day for two weeks after the stretch. Go to your local grocery store or pharmacy and pick up a gallon of distilled water and Non-Iodized sea salt. Make sure you are not substituting the water for anything except the distilled water. When you get the Non-Iodized Sea salt this will be pure, organic sea salt. The only ingredient on the Non-Iodized Sea Salt label will be Sea salt. Mix four teaspoons of sea salt in to the gallon of distilled water and shake well.
When you are ready to clean the piercing pour the solution into a coffee cup or a shot glass. Make sure you are not using any paper or plastic products, as this will contaminate the sea salt solution. Put the glass in the microwave for a second or two. The goal is to get the solution to body temperature or lukewarm, if it is any hotter than that it will burn you and your piercing. Everyone has a different microwave, so it might take a few tries to get the correct temperature. When you have the right temperature hold the cup up to your nose and dip the piercing into the solution. Hold your nose into the solution for seven to fifteen minutes. Continue to do this twice a day, morning and night for two weeks or longer, depending on how the stretch went.
Disclaimer: If you have any questions about your piercing or stretching your piercing please visit your local Professional Piercer or Medical Doctor.