What you should know about getting your nose pierced

Just got your very first piercing or wondering if you should take the final step?

Personally, I got my nose pierced about a year ago and I’ve learned a lot since then, through talks with my local piercer and own experiences. Now, 12 months later, I thought I would share a few basic dos and don’ts, as well as some notes to keep in mind throughout this journey. Below you will find a few tips on how to take care your piercing and avoiding infections etc, that I believe I would’ve found helpful myself before getting a piercing.

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To Do:

Go to a legit piercer

First step: go to a legit piercer. It might cost a little extra, but you’ll thank yourself later. Getting a piercing may not always be as permanent as a tattoo, but it may change your body permanently. Which is why I highly recommend getting the help of a professional. While my mother once pierced her nose with a needle, used an earring as jewelry and never had any problems with that - my belief is that it’s better to be safe, than sorry. With the help of a professional, you reduce the chance of infection and him/ her will find the perfect spot for the piercing, depending on your unique nose shape.

Cleansing

Most piercers recommend that you rinse your piercing twice a day (some recommend up to 4 times a day, but over-cleaning can lead to irritation). It’s also important to keep in mind that you should rinse whenever you get out of the shower, as your piercing will, the first few weeks, be an open wound that is extra prone to bacteria after you’ve showered.

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Saline solution is the most common piercing aftercare and it’s naturally sterile. Up until now, I’ve used a spray bottle purchased at a tattoo shop. But I have discovered that it is possible to make saline soak yourself from scratch. This way, I figure, it is easier to get hold of the product both zero waste and at a cheaper cost. Its only ingredients are non-inodized sea salt and distilled water. You can find recipes online, but I would talk to a piercer, just to make sure that you have the right proportions and ingredients (for instance, you can over-clean a piercing by using too much salt in the water). I like to get this kind of information from a source I know I can rely on, which is what I would recommend you doing as well, if you wish to make the solution yourself.

Change your bedsheets

If you want your piercing to heal healthily and quickly, it’s important to sleep on clean bedding - just as it’s important to avoid sleeping directly on your piercing. Therefore, you should be extra vigilant about changing both your bedsheets and pillowcases.

treating a piercing bump

Nose piercings are generally not the fastest to heal. In fact, it often takes up to six months to completely heal. In the meanwhile, you might experience that a swollen bump takes form next to your piercing. This is usually either pustules, granulomas or keloids. And there are various of ways to treat them. Obviously, you should follow the rest of the tips in this article to avoid further irritation, but you can also try more specific treatments like a chamomile compress. I’ve personally used a bit of bacymisin on the bump to soothe the area, but cortison should also have the same effect. Both of these have been recommended by my piercer after I showed him the bump. There are different types of piercing bumps, so on thins one, I recommend talking to a local piercer or doctor, just to make sure that you are treating it right according to the type of bump you have. Here is also a more extensive guide on the subject that is worth checking out.

Do not:

Touch

Do not touch or play with the piercing, especially the first 6 weeks or so, when the piercing is still a wound trying to heal. Dirt and hand oil may aggravate the healing process and lead to infection, which is why you should wash your hands before touching the area. In fact, the only exception where touching is allowed, is when you’re cleaning it. It is also possible to dip a biodegradable q-tip in saline solution to use for cleaning, to avoid touching at all times. Although you should always (even after it has healed) avoid playing with the piercing, you should be extra cautious the first few weeks, because this is when the skin is most sensitive and prone to infection after contact with foreign substances. Therefore, any contact in general, including clothing, makeup and lotion, should be avoided.

Nickel

Stay clear of jewelry with nickel, as nickel allergy is common and easily causes irritation. The nose is more sensitive than your earlobes, so even if you havnt’t experienced any problems before, I would recommend another type of piercing metal like titanium, surgical stainless steel and gold.

Removal of jewlery

Do not remove the jewelry while the piercing is healing or while you have a piercing bump/ infection. If you remove it while it’s still healing, the skin will close itself quite quickly and you’ll probably have to re-pierce it or have a hard time getting the jewelry back inside. If you remove it while it’s infected, you may end up an infection trapped inside the nose tissue, making the infection even worse.

Keep in mind

Know the signs of healing

As a part of the body healing, it is completely normal to experience swelling, tenderness, itching and small bleeds. So note that these signs do not necessarily mean that you should worry. Itching for instance is very common, mostly because of new skin growth. However, if you experience that any of these symptoms are excessive or that the bleeding/ bruising continue for more than a week, after getting your nose pierced, - then you should talk to a piercer or doctor. You must also know that you can develop a lymph. Which is also a harmless part of the healing prosess, in the form of a whitish-yellow fluid secreted from the piercing. Pus around the piercing, on the other hand, is something you should talk to your piercer about as soon as you discover it.

Be cautious

When you travel to another country with a new climate, it’s normal for your piercing to get a bit irritated, as it’s adjusting to the new climate. If you are experiencing irritation, you should avoid swimming pools because they are full of bacteria that may worsen the symptoms. While most people quit using saline solution after their piercing has properly healed, it can be helpful to bring with you a bottle as well as some bacymisin when traveling - to use after showering, a dip in the swimming pool etc.

Every body reacts differently

Know that healing-time varies. While it is expected that your piercing will heal within the 6 first weeks, it may take months before it finally heals properly. Be patient. Piercings heal from the outside in, so even if it looks healed, you should wait a bit longer before you remove or change the jewelry to avoid tearing and restarting the healing process. Be aware that every body reacts a little differently to a piercing. For instance, I hardly experienced any swelling and blood after piercing my nose, but developed a piercing bump after traveling in Bali for a month, while a friend of mine had the worst experience with her piercing the first few weeks, but haven’t had a problem in two years.

Talk to your piercer/ a doctor

Lastly, I would just take a moment to say, that when in doubt - talk to a piercer or a doctor. It is better to talk to a professional, than to worry or let the piercing get even more infected and harder to treat.

All in all, piercings may be a bit of work. It was definitely more to it than what I initially thought, but it’s most certainly worth it. I love my piercing and I do not regret getting my nose pierced, even though it took some swelling, a tiny bump, saline solution and the fear of falling asleep on my left side - to get where I am now. I hope that you found these tips helpful and that you get the piercing of your dreams!

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