A septum piercing is not exactly new. But it is one of the body piercings that easily gets heads turning and tongues wagging.
There are indications that septum piercing is the most favorite type of piercing all over the world. With several celebrities flaunting jewelry in the middle of their noses, the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
If you’re considering this type of nose piercing, it is common to have plenty of questions. What does it take to get a septum piercing? Does it hurt much? How long does it take to heal? Can you remove the piercing if you change your mind?
Read on for the answers to these and many more questions in this quick guide.
Septum Piercing: What Is It?
Your nose has a thin wall of cartilage that separates your left and right nostrils. That cartilage is called the septum.
But a septum piercing doesn’t exactly penetrate the cartilage. Instead, it goes through the softer tissue just in front of your septum.
You may not easily feel the soft skin at the tip of your septum but a qualified piercer knows how to locate this “sweet spot.” That’s why you shouldn’t attempt a septum piercing on your own unless you know exactly what you’re doing.
You don’t want to risk a crooked-looking piercing. Worse still, you could get an infection if your tools or the piercing environment are not very sterile.
Can Everyone Get a Septum Piercing?
Everyone can get a nose piercing. But getting a septum piercing may not be the best type of piercing for some people.
Why is that?
Not all noses are the same!
The thin strip of fleshy tissue at the tip of the septum can be missing in some people’s noses. The absence of the sweet spot may mean that a septum piercing will go directly through the cartilage.
If your nose doesn’t have the sweet spot, getting a septum piercing will hurt more. Besides, it can take longer to heal. Also, an individual with deviated septum won’t have a centered piercing. This might not be a deal-breaker for some people, but could be a big deal for you if you’re all about symmetry.
I’ll strongly suggest you consider a nostril piercing if you don’t have a sweet spot or a deviated septum.
Does a Septum Piercing Hurt Badly?
One thing is sure – the process is not completely pain-free. You may not cry from pain but you can expect to get tears in your eyes.
Your eyes will naturally get bring out tears in response to the sharp piercing sensation on your nose.
How much it actually hurts depends on the pain tolerance level of each individual. In any case, it shouldn’t hurt much more than most body piercings since the needle won’t go through your cartilage in standard situations.
You’ll feel a strong pinch when the needle pierces through the sweet spot, and you are likely to feel a strong urge to sneeze.
Usually, the pain from piercing shouldn’t last more than a couple of seconds. But fixing the jewelry through the hole can be more painful for many people than the actual piercing of the soft tissue.
Relaxing can help reduce the pain you feel during the entire process. On the other hand, being tense is likely to increase the pain.
What to Expect During the Piercing Procedure
Here’s how a typical visit to a body artist for a septum piercing looks like:
- First, the piercer will check your septum to determine if you can have the piercing.
- If your septum is a good fit for a piercing, you will fill out some paperwork. This will usually include a waiver and declaring your age.
- You will choose your preferred jewelry to wear during the healing process.
- Next, you will lie face-up on a table or recliner to allow the piercer to disinfect and sterilize your nostril and piercing tools.
- The piercer will use one of several techniques to make the piercing. The techniques include:
- The freehand technique (this involves only a needle)
- Forceps and needle (the forceps keep your nostrils open while a needle creates the piercing)
- Receiving tube and needle (a hollow tube supports your nose tissue and receives the needle as it passes through the tissue)
- The body artist inserts your preferred jewelry into the opening and pulls out the needle.
This might seem like a lengthy procedure but it doesn’t usually take more than two minutes in reality.
Safety procedures must be followed during the procedure. A professional piercer should follow a sanitary procedure that looks something like this:
- Wearing clean disposable gloves
- Removing needles from sealed packaging
- Removing other piercing tools from sterile containers
- Disinfecting and sterilizing both nostrils before starting the procedure
Similar to all body piercings, a septum piercing carries a certain degree of risk. Fortunately, you can lower the risk by getting your piercing done by a reputable body artist.
Here are some of the potential risks to consider:
It is quite easy to introduce bacteria into your body through skin openings. This is true for all body piercings, including the septum.
Bacteria can cause infections and this can lead to smelly pus, swelling, redness, or worsening pain.
Fortunately, your septum has plenty of mucus membrane to keep infections at bay.
It is important to disclose any allergies you may have to your body artist beforehand. Allergic reactions can occur in some people, especially if the piercing jewelry contains nickel.
Itching, bumps, skin rash, dry patches, and redness are some common allergic reactions to nickel.
Scarring is not of great concern because no one can see it anyway. But it can be uncomfortable, especially if there is excess scar tissue in the nostril.
The risk of developing septal hematoma is one of the reasons a septum piercing is not the best option for people with a nonexistent sweet spot.
Septal hematoma occurs when blood collects in your septum. This can happen if blood vessels get damaged during the piercing procedure.
Severe pain, pressure, and trouble breathing or nasal congestion are some of the signs and symptoms of a septal hematoma. In extreme cases, it can lead to facial deformity but this is very rare.
It is crucial to see your healthcare provider if you ever experience bleeding or feel the pressure building in your nose after the procedure.
Perhaps the biggest and scariest downside of getting a septum piercing from an incompetent piercer is the risk of contracting bloodborne diseases.
You must insist that your body artist uses only new and sterilized needles. Hepatitis B and C, HIV, and other deadly diseases can be contracted from unsterilized needles.
How Long Before My Septum Piercing Heals?
Just the pain tolerance level of everyone is different, so is the time it takes for each person to heal.
Generally, you can expect the healing period for a septum piercing to last anywhere between two to three months. For some people, it can take a little longer, though.
Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to speed up the healing process (even if it is slightly so):
- Stick to the aftercare routines
- Take care of your overall health
- Avoid touching the area
Patience is everything if you are looking to get a septum piercing. Do not be in a hurry to heal. You should avoid flipping or changing jewelry during the healing period.
Listen to your body and give it enough time to heal properly.
Aftercare While Healing
Aftercare is the most important thing you can do to prevent infection and other complications while your piercing heals.
You will get specific instructions from your body artist, but here are some aftercare routines you can follow:
- Exercise great care when blowing your nose or getting dressed.
- Avoid touching your piercing because you can inadvertently prolong the healing time.
- Always wash your hands if you must touch or clean the piercing. This will prevent possible bacterial infections.
- Avoid the use of soaps and products that contain harsh ingredients, such as triclosan and iodine. You also want to stay away from washing products that have hydrogen peroxide and alcohol.
- A saline solution is a great choice for rinsing the area.
- If possible, wait until it heals completely before flipping it up.
- Rise the piercing with warm water if you must flip it. This will prevent bleeding or injury.
How Much Does Septum Piercing Cost?
The average cost of getting a septum piercing ranges between $40 and $100. Where you are getting it done and the type of jewelry you choose can also affect the total cost.
While cost is important, you want to pay more attention to the following factors when choosing a place for a septum piercing:
- Professionalism: You want to choose a piercer with lots of experience. Don’t just settle for the first body artist you find online or in your area.
Do some digging around on forums or from others who’ve had a septum piercing. Ask for portfolios, read reviews, and visit different piercing venues if possible before making an appointment.
Although a higher price doesn’t necessarily mean better service, you should be wary of cheap offers. It is worth it if you have to spend extra money to get a professional service.
- Cleanliness: Make sure that your piercer strictly follows proper hygiene practices. The piercing venue needs to be clean or else you should look for somewhere else. This is why a pre-appointment visit is a great idea.
The last thing you want to deal with is an infection from a piercing. For this reason, make sure every piece of equipment is sterilized before it goes through your skin.
Can You Remove A Septum Piercing?
Yes, you can!
There are several reasons why you would want to remove your piercing. First, it could be that you are uncomfortable having it. Perhaps you realize that it no longer suits your style statement. Or you end up not liking it after getting it.
In any case, I recommend changing your jewelry first. This is especially true if you are comfortable with the piercing but seem to only have issues with the style.
But if you are absolutely sure that you no longer want the piercing, you can go ahead and remove it or get an expert piercer to do it for you.
Remember to follow the aftercare routine outlined above if you remove it during the healing period. You want to keep doing this until the hole closes completely.
The time your piercing takes to close depends on how long you have the piercing. The good news is that the hole will eventually close after you remove the jewelry.
Signs of a Problem
You shouldn’t have any problem if you get a septum piercing from an experienced piercer. Still, it is important to know the signs that say something is not quite right.
Here are some of the more common signs of problems:
- Worsening pain
- Continuous itching
- Smelly pus or discharge of any color
- Increased redness or swelling
- A lump around the area
- Peeling or flaking of the tissue around the area
- Chills or fever
Talk to your healthcare provider as soon as you experience any of these signs or symptoms.
If you’re toying with the idea of getting a septum piercing, now you know what it takes.
The edgy look has been around for a very long time, and more body artists or piercers are highly skilled in the art. That means you have nothing to worry about in terms of pain and possible infection.
You can get your septum piercing and be up and about in no time!
If you’re not too keen about needles and pain, or you simply aren’t ready to commit just yet, a fake septum piercing could do the trick.
Doing so should be okay if you’re only trying to make a style statement. But keep in mind that it is nothing compared to the real experience!