Nose piercings are extremely popular, second only in popularity to earrings. In fact, they’re so common that this ancient ritual is now mainstream. Took long enough, considering nose piercings have been around for literally thousands of years.
Once an act of rebellion popularized in Western culture from the hippie and punk movements, nose rings have rich spiritual origins from the East.
Now, nose piercings are so conventional they’re worn by all walks of life--including non-rebellious teenagers. So, why get your nose pierced?
The decision differs from person to person, yet with so many varieties of nose piercings, it’s a great way to express your individuality.
Perhaps you’re interested in getting your nose pierced but aren’t quite ready to take the leap? No problem, read on to learn all about nose ring piercings in this comprehensive guide.
We’ll even help you pick jewelry! But first…
When we refer to a nose ring or nose piercing, we’re actually covering a wide variety of styles. There are conventional, simple nose rings and radical statement pieces. So, let’s sniff out the details of each of the popular nose piercing styles.
First up: the classic and traditional nose piercing.
Without a doubt, the most popular nose ring style is the nostril piercing. It’s simple, elegant, timeless and has a rich, centuries-old history. A nostril piercing is a great option for a first time nose piercing as it’s versatile, understated and still makes a statement without being overbearing.
What side does a nose piercing look better on? It entirely depends on your facial features and preferences. You can even get both nostrils pierced. From there, you’ll choose either a stud or ring and voila--you’ve got a nostril piercing!
Next up: a more bold choice, once rebellious and aggressive, now practically mainstream. Let us introduce you to the wildly popular septum piercing.
Septum piercings are the new “it” accessory. They’re literally all the rage and can be worn in several different ways. Initially, septum piercings were a huge statement, adding a flare of aggression with their likeness to a bull’s nose ring.
However, now there are ultra-feminine septum piercings that add femininity to a once considered “masculine” piercing.
If you’re interested in getting your septum pierced, there are several factors to consider. In a nutshell--it’s not as simple as a nostril piercing.
Ultimately, be sure to get your septum piercing done by a trained professional as the area of skin is more complicated than piercing a nostril. A septum piercing procedure includes piercing the web-like skin between the nostrils, however the piercer must understand how to pierce the right area of the cartilage.
You can choose either a simple ring, bead rings, a horseshoe barbell or more elaborate jewelry. One benefit of the horseshoe barbell is that you can tuck it inside the nostrils if your work environment does not support piercings.
Now that we’ve addressed the most popular nose ring piercings, let’s take a look at some other unique options.
The bridge piercing is categorized as a surface piercing. This means that the actual piercing is horizontal atop the nose’s bridge, rather than puncturing the cartilage beneath.
As such, the body tends to reject surface piercings more than non-surface piercings. Basically, the body detects the jewelry as a foreign agent and tries to push it outward to naturally heal from the alien invader. This doesn’t always happen, though.
Which is why jewelry metal is crucial with a bridge piercing. Circular barbells are the best and safest choice to minimize the chance of the body rejecting the piercing.
Similar to the classic nostril piercing, the high nostril is essentially pierced at the highest point on the nostril. This is a unique spin on the traditional nostril piercing.
The best types of jewelry for high nostril piercings are studs, screws and L-shaped pins. (Don’t worry, we’ll explore jewelry options soon).
A high nostril piercing is located before the bridge, just above the spot where a traditional piercing goes. Due to this unique location and the thickness of this area of the nose, it can be a more complicated piercing.
The Nasallang piercing requires a steady and professional hand as it pierces through each of the nostrils AND the septum. Whew! This piercing is not for the faint of heart. The procedure is complicated, requires excellent skill and symmetry to ensure that the barbell is straight.
Similar to the Nasallang, the Austin bar is an extremely rare piercing that pierces through the fleshy tip of the nose, without piercing the septum. Austin bars are unique piercings that are worn with a straight barbell.
Perhaps the most rare nose ring piercing is the rhino piercing. Essentially, this piercing consists of a barbell that is curved from the tip of the nose to the bottom. You’ll not run into these piercings often as they’re a novelty piercing.
There are a few other nose ring styles that are less popular, including the third eye piercing and the septril.
Now that you know all the nose ring piercing options, how do you choose the right one for you? For many it will be an instinct, and you’ll naturally gravitate toward the style you like best. However, to test it out, more and more people are getting nose piercings--without piercing their noses! What? Let us explain...
Perhaps you’re in love with the style of a nose ring piercing, but aren’t ready to commit just yet? You’re not alone! In fact, many celebrities have popularized fake nose rings, including Jessica Biel and Rihanna.
The appeal of a fake nose ring is that it allows you to see what you’d look like with a nose piercing, without having to actually go through with the piercing yet. That way you can try it out, see how it feels, and then decide.
We’re a fan of the classics, and for getting your first nose piercing we recommend the elegant and traditional nostril piercing.
It’s low-risk, uber-stylish and edgy enough to make a statement.
There are several different types of nose jewelry to choose from. Once you decide on a nose piercing, you’ll want to browse jewelry options to find the right match for you.
There are various factors that affect the type of jewelry you’ll want, including the type of nose piercing you have, skin tone, size of jewelry, etc.
Hoop Rings: The traditional style of jewelry for nose piercings is the classic hoop ring. Hoop rings are available in a variety of metals, thickness and styles.
Barbells: Barbells are available in two popular styles: regular or press fit. A regular barbell includes one end that screws off, whereas a press fit has an end that pops off. There are also curved barbells which have a bend in them. Curved barbells pair best with septum and rhino piercings.
Nostril Screws/Studs: These are great options for nostril piercings. Nostril screws are straight bars that have a slight bend holding the jewelry intact. Nostril screws are easy to take in and out, after a slight learning curve. You can also customize your nose ring jewelry with birthstones, gemstones, decorations and more.
Now that we know all about nose piercing and jewelry styles, let’s talk about the healing process and things to expect for each piercing.
Healing time for nose piercings depends on the type of piercing you get, jewelry choice and skin sensitivity.
Nostril Piercings: On average, nostril piercings take around 4 to 6 months to heal. Sometimes--if you have exceptional healing capabilities--it can heal in 3 months.
Septum Piercings: Of all the piercings, the septum tends to heal the fastest. The fact that you can expect to heal in just 6 to 8 weeks makes the septum piercing an appealing first piercing choice.
Bridge Piercing: Next to septum piercings, bridge piercings heal the fastest: typically 8 to 12 weeks.
Nasallang Piercings: Plan roughly 4 to 6 months to heal from a nasallang piercing.
Rhino piercings: You’re in it for the long haul with a rhino piercing. Which is why you’ll want to make sure you’re comfortable with a prolonged healing time before committing to the piercing. Rhino piercings can take between 6 to 9 months to heal.
Now to address the elephant in the room: pain tolerance. How much do nose piercings hurt? Truthfully, it depends on your pain tolerance and sensitivity. Bottom line, there’s no simple answer. However, there is general information to help you prepare for how much a nose piercing hurts.
Your eyes may wince and water, but the important thing to remember is that nose piercings are a relatively quick procedure. If you’ve had your ears pierced, you have slight insight into what to expect from a piercing.
Unfortunately, earlobes are more resistant to pain than the nose. Therefore, you’ll want to prepare yourself for more pain from a nose piercing than an ear piercing.
Nostril piercings will be less painful than say, a septum piercing, as they don’t pierce through cartilage. What you can expect is the pain to be sharp, momentarily overwhelming, yet quickly over. There may also be sensitivity for a few days following the procedure.
The best thing you can do is relax. Going into it calm means the body is less tensed up, and more open to the short and sharp pain it’s about to experience. You’ll also want start with thin jewelry, get the procedure done by an expert and keep the area clean. Which leads us to...
So, you’ve gone through with the nose piercing, congrats! Let’s talk about nose piercing aftercare so that you reduce the likelihood of infections or allergic reactions. Truth is, infections happen and can even become a medical issue. That’s why it’s pertinent to follow these safety guidelines to minimize health complications from your new nose piercing.
In order to avoid infections, you want to take thorough care of your new nose piercing. Any time you touch the newly pierced area, be sure your hands are cleaned with hot soapy water that is antibacterial.
Strictly follow the after care instructions, which can include cleaning the piercing two times a day with a sterile saline solution.
Avoid wearing makeup, lotions or sunscreen around the skin of your new piercing as it may irritate it. It’s best to abstain from using these products until the piercing has completely healed.
You might be wondering, “when can I stop cleaning my nose piercing?” This depends entirely on the piercing. Consult with your piercer before you stop cleaning the piercing as you’ll want to be completely sure that it has fully healed.
Lastly, you’ll want to purchase nose jewelry metal that’s hypoallergenic and biocompatible. Essentially, you don’t want to put any metal into your new piercing that will irritate it or cause infections.
With that in mind, the best metals for nose piercings are titanium, surgical stainless steel, niobium and gold.
To learn more, check out our full guide to the best metals for nose piercings.
We made it! That was a lot to take in, but we hope this information will help you make the best decisions regarding nose piercings.
Did we answer all of your questions? From types of piercings to jewelry styles to metals, there is a lot to consider before getting your nose pierced.
However, nose ring piercings are fun, unique and a reflection of your style. From classic to edgy and feminine to bold; nose piercings are a great way to highlight your individuality!
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