Nostril Piercing: Price, Pain, Placement, Aftercare and How To Hide It

Did you know? Although nose rings are so mainstream today, a nostril piercing is not new. The history goes back to the Middle East around 4,000 years ago, and even in the Bible! In the holy book, Abraham gave his son’s wife Rebekah the gift of a gold “Shanf”, which means a gold “nose ring”.

Even modern traditionalists like the African nomads of Berber and Beja tribes still practice nose piercing. In groups like the Middle Eastern Bedouins, a man gives his wife a nose ring when he marries her; its size denotes the family’s wealth, and the nose hoop serves as financial security for the woman in the event her husband leaves her or dies before her.

Nostril piercing price

The price of a typical nose piercing is $30 to $80. If piercers charge separately, then the average cost of the piercing is $30 and the cost of the jewelry is around $10-$60, depending on the quality of the metal and the design.

What’s the nostril piercing healing time?

Nose piercings have varying healing time and it varies from person-to-person. On average, though, you can expect:

  • A nostril piercing will take anywhere from 4 to 6 months to heal (3 months if you’re lucky).
  • Septum piercings need about 6 to 8 weeks to heal, as long as the cartilage wasn’t accidentally pierced. Septum piercings are actually the fastest-healing nose piercings if done right.
  • A rhino piercing takes between 6 to 9 months to heal.
  • Bridge piercings heal faster than most other piercings, usually in 8 to 12 weeks. 
  • Nasallang piercings heal between 4 to 6 months. This is the most difficult piercing, because it’s actually a 3-in-1 piercing (nostril, then septum, the nostril). 

While your nose piercing is healing, you should leave your jewelry alone unless you’re having an allergic reaction or experiencing significant swelling that’s causing the jewelry to press into your skin. 

If you do have excessive swelling, itching or a rash, get your piercer to swap out your jewelry for either a stainless steel or solid (not coated) titanium nose ring or stud. Those metals are the most inert and least likely to cause an allergic reaction. 

If your jewelry just isn’t long enough to comfortably accommodate a normal amount of swelling, you’ll need to have larger jewelry inserted to prevent necrosis (tissue death), which can lead to infection.

If you try to change your jewelry yourself, you might damage the delicate, healing fistula (the fistula is where you were pierced) or risk having the fistula close up while you try to get jewelry back into it. That’s why it’s best to get your piercer to help, even if it means paying a small fee.

If you have no choice but to change your nose piercing jewelry yourself, make sure your new nose ring is the exact same gauge as your starter one so you won’t have trouble inserting it. Also, consider buying one of the styles that’s easiest to insert, like a flexible niobium seamless ring, nose bones or nostril screws. If you want to wear a labret, consider buying a threaded taper in the same gauge as your jewelry to make it easier to insert the labret back.

Any nostril piercing pain?

The initial pain of a nose piercing is over a few seconds later. Comparatively, a nose piercing is less painful than lip and ear piercings but it depends on your pain tolerance. 

Nose piercing pain: 3 to 4 out of 10

Vertical labret pain: 4 out of 10

medusa piercing:  4 out of 10 

Daith piercings pain: 5 to 6 out of 10. 

Rook piercing pain:  6 out of 10

Why does it hurt later?

The nostril piercing is considered slightly more painful than ears and lips and this is because you are piercing through cartilage which is tougher than skin and therefore hurts a little bit more. However, most people describe a nostril piercing as a very brief sting that makes your eyes water and can make you sneeze.

Expect your nose to be sore for a few days while the healing process continues. New piercings have a tendency to swell and get inflamed (red and tender). This reaction usually goes away and clears up within 5 days for nose piercings (unless an infection occurs).

This piercing shouldn’t be too sore afterwards and can be cleaned following the normal saltwater wash guidelines as advised by your piercer.  

If the pain goes on for longer than a week, or if you develop any bumps, extreme redness, or scarring, you should go back to your piercer or to a doctor to have it checked out.

Visit a doctor if: 

Most people can treat minor infections successfully at home. But if any of the following symptoms occur, seek medical attention:

  • The nose stud or nose ring doesn’t move.
  • The stud or ring clasp becomes embedded in your skin.
  • The infection doesn’t improve with home treatment within two or three days.
  • You develop a fever.
  • Redness and swelling spreads beyond the piercing site.

Nostril piercing aftercare?

It is very easy to develop an infection as the inner nose is a heaven for bacteria and other infection-causing germs. Some opportunistic pathogens or germs can easily enter the freshly pierced skin and cause an infection. If you find some redness, tenderness and swelling after one or two days, do not panic. This is completely normal. When this redness, tenderness, swelling and pain increases with or without yellow or green discharge or pus oozing out of the pierced nose tissue, rush to a doctor immediately to treat the infection.

Nostril piercing aftercare is important to keep up with. This regime helps with the initial healing process and any time your nose piercing is irritated/inflamed: 

You should cleanse your piercing more thoroughly 2-3 times a day with a sea salt solution (or SSS) soak. 1) You can purchase a product like Recovery Piercing Aftercare Spray or H2Ocean to spritz on your piercing a few times a day. Make sure to spray both the inside and outside of your nostril, if you just got a regular or high nostril piercing. 2) You can either drench cotton balls in a piercing aftercare spray like Recovery and apply them to your piercing for 5 minutes at a time, or you can make the sea salt solution below when doing soaks. 

Homemade Sea Salt Solution

To make homemade sea salt solution, boil 1 cup of water for 5 minutes to sterilize it. Mix in 1/4 tsp. sea salt (not table salt, which contains iodine; get aquarium sea salt from a pet store if you can’t buy it online). If desired, you can also stir in  2-3 drops of tea tree oil for its moisturizing and antiseptic qualities. Let the mixture cool a bit, and then apply it by soaking your piercing directly in the solution or by applying it with clean cotton balls. (Some people like to apply SSS while it’s still warm, others prefer it cold.)

Aftercare Instructions

  • Always go for titanium, stainless steel, niobium, or 14k gold. Do not wear sterling silver after you’ve got a freshly pierced nose. This metal will leave a permanent stain on your skin where a black mark develops around the piercing that will never be erased. 
  • Don’t apply oils, balms or creams directly to your piercing. These things can clog the fistula, trapping in bacteria and leading to infection, or at a minimum, delaying the healing process.
  • It takes around three months for the nose piercing to fully heal. Therefore, curb and avoid any fidgeting with your nose and changing your jewelry. 
  • When jewelry is changed too soon, it causes a re-tear, lengthening the healing process and forming an infection. Don’t change your jewelry during the first 3-4 months unless you’re having an issue with your starter jewelry, such as an allergic reaction to the metal.
  • Do not turn/twist/slide your jewelry, even to loosen up “crusties”. If you turn your jewelry to loosen the crusties, you could push bacteria into the delicate fistula and delay healing.
  • Rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide solution or spray on your tissue will increase the irritation and burning sensation. This could slow down the healing process and create a scar. Instead, apply powdered aspirin or a homemade sea salt soak to provide relief from the nose piercing infection. 
  • Do not use swimming pools, hot tubs or go swimming in the ocean, as there are chances of bacterial infection and pollutant contaminant infection. 
  • Wash your hands with soap before touching the nose piercing. Always maintain proper hygiene to reduce chances of bacterial infection.
  • Re-visit an experienced piercer to check up on your piercings health. 

What to know before getting a nose piercing? 

Firstly, never opt for piercing with a gun. Guns are not meant for nose piercings and the blunt jewelry used is very tight for aftercare. Another reason is that not many nose piercers are trained well enough for proper maintenance and cleaning of the gun. The gun could still have traces of blood left on it and can easily transmit many dreadful blood diseases like Hepatitis C or even HIV.

Always go for a sharp, new, sterile needle that is meant for body piercing. Always allow your nose to be handled by a trained professional. Find a reputable professional piercer to do this one for you, preferably one who’s APP certified.

Why does my nostril piercing smell?

Human beings secrete a substance called sebum when the skin becomes dry and to balance the dryness. Sebum is secreted by the sebaceous glands in the skin. Add sebum with some dead skin cells and a little bit of bacteria, and you get some really potent smelling piercings! The discharge often is described to smell like stinky cheese. 

What is the right nostril piercing placement?

The traditional nose piercing placement is at the crease line on the side of the nose. A big smile will accentuate this feature to help pinpoint the spot. As the area is often thinner than the rest of the nose, healing is faster and feels less tender when pierced. Plus, the jewelry will rest in a natural niche, where it bears most gracefully. 

Piercers love the nose piercing placement which forms a relatively equilateral triangular shape with the opening of your nostril, from end to end. So what you can do at home is: use small stickers and/or washable markers to mark your nose and take photos. This way you can see how your future nose piercing will look. Depending on what kind of jewelry you’re getting, what type of piercings you have, and what type of jewelry is in them, you can see what looks best on you.

Depending on your preferences, the following choices are possible:

Left Side Piercing

Piercing the left side of the nose of a women dates back to ancient Indian culture. According to Ayurveda, the left side corresponds with female reproductive organs. Therefore, it helps to ease the pain of menstrual cycle and in reducing the pain during childbirth. The left side has positive effects on conditions like endometriosis too.

Right Side Piercing

According to what we’ve stated above, certain cultures like specific nose piercing placements for each gender. In this case, men would pierce the right nostril but plenty of women pierce their right side too. Lastly, in some cultures, women are seen with piercing on both sides of the nose.

Please know that it’s your priority and comfort that matters. The rest of us are left to flip a coin. 

Septum Piercing

photo courtesy: Jon Kopaloff viaGetty images

Aside from the most popular left or right side, you can opt for the septum. The septum piercing is done in the area at the bottom of the nose that is hidden and can only be seen from the underside. The jewelry for this area are straight barbells that are about 14 gauge, circular barbells that are also of 14 gauge with a 3/8 inch diameter or 14 gauge septum retainers.

Nose Bridge Piercing

Piercing on the bridge of the nose is another wild and a rebellious way to express yourself. A bridge is the area where the nose meets the forehead. While piercing the bridge, the nose ring passes specifically through the skin, not the cartilage. For jewelry for the nose bridge, one should opt for straight barbells that are 16 or 14 gauge in thickness.

Nostril piercing bump

Nose piercing bumps are weird non-permanent scar tissues that occur if you catch the nose piercing on things. Basically, the tissue is disrupted and a bumpy lump appears. And it will appear. It will appear and not go for weeks. And even though you’re essentially a walking puddle of saline, people will say, ‘You should put saline solution on it’ and you’ll want to murder them.

Others will reassure you that theirs disappeared after three days, which won’t be reassuring when it’s still there two weeks later. Then, after constant saline squirting, it will go but if you’re not careful, you can hurt the nose piercing and the bump will come back.

How to hide a nostril piercing

Nostril piercing retainer: Teenagers or professionals who cannot wear nose rings or studs to their respective study or work places in order to maintain the decorum of the institution, can opt for nose piercing retainers. They contain no metallic parts and are almost invisible. These retainers can even escape X-ray detection and are perfect for hospital visits.

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1 comment

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Whitney Handley February 9, 2020 at 7:40 pm

Awesome stuff!

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