The Ultimate Guide to Getting a Nose Piercing

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So, you have decided you want to get a nose piercing. What’s next? Whether you’re new to piercings or have several, consider multiple factors before you get poked. As this trend continues to grow, more people jump on the band wagon, yet the nose piercing process and cleaning procedures have yet to become common knowledge. Don’t go digging for gold alone, find the 10 most important tips to keep in mind here.

Ready to get your nose piercing? Take a step back and consider these 10 things before going under the needle.

1. Consider your professional #goals

If you’re reading this, then congratulations. You’re already at least half way there. Before you say yes to the nose piercing, make sure your office allows facial piercings (and, you know, that your parents won’t cut you off for having a hole in your nose). You also want to consider your career path. Down the line, will a facial piercing still seem appropriate in your office? While many industries and companies started becoming more lenient with body modifications, you should still not follow the “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality on this one.

2. Talk to anyone and everyone with a nose piercing

Call up your local piercing shops and check on prices and availability. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Talk to your friends or really anyone you know about where and when they got it done. Talking with others makes you feel way more confident in the decision, and even makes the trip to the piercing shop less intimidating.

3. Don’t let myths freak you out

An urban legend exists for just about everything under the sun, nose piercings included. “A lot of people think that moving their jewelry around helps the piercing heal quicker, but it’s actually the most common way to cause an infection,” said Kaoz Inc. piercer Kendall Bodie. Playing with new piercings makes it easier for dirt and bacteria from your face and hands to get into the hole in your nose. So, avoid it at all costs. Another misconception? “People believe that getting it on your dominant side will automatically cause an infection,” said Bodie. It’s simply not true.

4. Choose your nose piercing

Just like dating, picking out a stud is harder than one thinks. Thankfully, the piercers are well-equipped to aid you. “Out of the 8-10 piercings I do a shift, 5-6 of them are always nostril piercings. They’re the most common facial piercing,” said Bodie. With that comes the same questions, like, “Can I get pierced with a hoop?” Unfortunately, the answer is no. Studs come in an assortment of colors and styles, though, so prepare to pick out your favorite.

5. Get ready to go under the needle

Pay attention to your surroundings when you get to the shop. If you feel uncomfortable, leave. If your shop looks legit and sanitary, get prepared. The most common question people ask is whether it hurts. And, if that’s your biggest concern, you have nothing to worry about. Bodie, who has her nostril pierced along with several other facial piercings, rated it as a level three pain. “There are a lot of nerves in your nose and it makes you tear up,” Bodie said. It will feel sore after the fact, and probably a little swollen. “When I got it done it didn’t really hurt, but I did pass out. I don’t handle needles too well,” said Florida State University sophomore Jessi Hope. Overall, the sensation feels more like a discomfort than anything else, making it easy-peasy even for people with a low pain tolerance.

6. Clean that nose piercing constantly

Your piercer will go over the cleaning process with you thoroughly. You’ll need to buy multiple cleaning products, like sea salt sprays. Or you can always add bags of sea salt to purified water on your own terms. To clean with sea salt water, you’ll need Q-tips that allow for a closer clean. You’ll want to clean it at least twice a day until it looks and feels completely healed. If you feel unsure about something, ask questions. The piercers always want to help.

7. Give it Time to heal

The healing process takes two to three months, depending on your own healing rate. During this time, you cannot change the piercing. The possibility of getting an infection increases substantially if you do. Plus if it’s not completely healed it will feel really, really painful. If you can’t see for yourself, or it surpasses three months without being healed, go back to your piercer. That way, they Can figure out the best route for your healing. Some people get nervous to change the jewelry themselves, so buy new jewelry at the shop and the piercer will change it out for you.

8. Look out for infection

The healing process isn’t pretty. Expect bleeding, mild oozing and a lot of crusting. And yet, the gross cleaning process also feels oddly satisfying. After the first few weeks, this should slow down a lot. The risk of actual infection is pretty low as long as you take care of the nose piercing properly, but it is possible for your body to reject the piercing. Some people even get allergic reactions to the metal. Contact the piercer immediately if the area looks or feels infected. They will determine what’s going on and advise you on how to proceed. If the infection seems bad, you’ll be referred to a doctor for medication.

9. Learn how to remove your nose piercing

You got this far and decided that this specific nose piercing is just not for you. What do you do? “All you have to do is take the jewelry out, and continue to clean it as if the jewelry was still there,” said Bodie. Continuing to clean it will prevent infection, and help it close up quicker. You may be left with a scar, but that varies from person to person depending on your skin and how long you kept the piercing.

10. Expect the Unexpected

Life doesn’t always go as planned and the same rule applies to piercings. You can guarantee that your jewelry will rip out at some point, and it will hurt—especially if you forget about your nose piercing and pull it out with a towel after a week. Even after three years, switching styles and sizes of studs hurts more than getting it pierced ever did. “My dad didn’t notice mine for a solid month or two because I got it done with a glass stud. He just thought it was a zit,” said Hope. Something else unexpected? They fall out in your sleep. All. Of. The. Time. Buy your jewelry from piercing shops and use hoops or L-shaped studs to ensure quality and security.

Every Type of Piercing You Need to Know About

Written by Macey Spensley

Three common nose piercings exist: the nostril, the septum and the high nostril. You have most likely seen the nostril around your college campus plenty of times. The septum piercing goes through the part between both nostrils and appears pretty frequently in the punk crowd. However, that crowd doesn’t own exclusive rights to the piercing—go with what you know you can rock. The high nostril is just like it sounds, a little higher on your nose than the average nostril piercing.

Each piercing comes with a little bit of pain. Like moms always said when ripping a hairbrush through your hair when you were little, it hurts to be beautiful. “The nostril and high nostril are a little more painful than the septum piercing,” piercer at Release Body Modification Stephanie Garcia said. “I find the pain of a nostril piercing to be very similar to that of plucking an eyebrow hair. The septum piercing is more like an earlobe piercing in that it’s not very painful, but usually makes the eyes water.” Remember, everyone reacts to pain differently, so this should be considered a guide.

You should treat each piercing with the same amount of TLC. “For all piercings we recommend the same thing: Keep them clean and leave them alone,” Garcia said. We all know how enticing it is to pick at your face when something a little gross happens to it. But when your nose piercing gets a little crusty, just let it heal.

How to decide whether to get your nose pierced

Written by Macey Spensley

“I decided to get my nose pierced because I knew people who had gotten it done and I thought it was so cute,” University of Iowa freshman Olivia Dlouhy said. Friends can help you decide whether the nose piercing is for you or not, but only you can ultimately make that decision. “I asked a lot of people for their opinions on it and debated for a few months. Everyone told me to go for it,” Dlouhy said.

Making any modification to your body, whether a permanent tattoo or a small ear piercing, can be nerve-racking and intense. Consider taking someone along for the ride to help you through the experience.

“I went with my best friend and she also got her nose pierced,” Dlouhy said. “It definitely made me feel more confident about getting it done.”

Even though you’re exercizing your age-given right, your parents or guardians will probably have something to say about your new piercing. Since we rest in that strange “almost an adult but not quite” phase of our lives, our parents typically want to know what’s going on in our lives. Whether or not you let this affect your decision rests on what your relationship is with the adults in your life.

Consider the pros and cons of how this piercing will affect that relationship. “My parents were against it, but I did it anyways because I felt like I needed to do something that I knew they wouldn’t have a say in,” Dlouhy said. Piercing your nose could feel liberating, but it’s probably not worth it to ruin your relationship with the people that used to change your diapers.

**Updated on May 2, 2018 to include “Every Type of Piercing You Need to Know About” and “How to Decide Whether to Get Your Nose Pierced” by Macey Spensley.

Sophomore at FSU studying Editing, Writing, and Media. Lives for the beach, puppers, empowering women, a good book and a nice tall glass of sweet tea.

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