What everyone ought to know about nose piercings

nose piercings

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Nose piercings are fashionable yet discreet jewelry items. Even though they are tiny, they stand out because they’re right in area of your face with the most dimension. Other times, they can be a bold statement too. A nose piercing is a great embellishment to your personal style.

To wear a nose piercing stud or ring, you will get your nose pierced which entails puncturing your nose cartilage. There are many things that factor in when getting one: cost, placement, pain tolerance, aftercare, and what it means to you.

What a nose piercing symbolizes

These days, nose piercings are becoming mainstream and more and more people take to wearing them. But for many others, nose piercings are a little bit of a novelty. They have actually been around for many millenniums and they bear cultural significance and spiritual history. Depending on where you wear it, a nose piercing can be seen as a beautiful accessory, a symbol of status, wealth or prestige or even as an act of rebellion.

History of nose piercing

The Aboriginal people of Australia were the first to don nose rings as early as 44,000 BC. They crafted nose rings out of bones and pierced them through their nasal septum. 

The Middle East had records of nostril piercings that trace back 4,000 years. In the 16th century, Central Asia too had them as a popular and common body ornament, specifically in India where it had become a part of the local way of life. They were, and still are to this day, attached to beautifully ornate chains that hang on a woman’s cheek and is attached to the ear.  

Nose piercing in different cultures

The meaning of nose piercings vary from culture to culture. It can be a symbol of wealth and social status. For the Berber people of North Africa, the bigger the nose ring, the wealthier and more prominent the individual wearing it is. For Indians, it is a fertility amulet as it supposedly could alleviate menstrual pains, sexually stimulate, and make childbirth easier. 

Nose piercing and marriage

Nose piercings have direct links to marriage. In some Asian cultures, women wearing them are deemed fit to marry. They are also given by men to their future wives as financial security so that when she gets widowed or divorced, she can sell the nose ring as a valuable asset and live on. In the Middle East and in African cultures, nose rings are included in a marriage dowry. Brides wearing nose rings remains to be a wedding practice in these parts of the world.

Nose piercings in the Western culture

The emergence of nose rings in Western culture came in the 20th century. It was brought to America by hippies who visited India in the 60s and embraced this practice. There developed a stigma around nose rings, and people in the West began associating them with rebellion and defiance against convention and tradition. It became a prevalent accessory among punk and Gothic circles in the 80s, furthering the general perception of nose rings as an unsightly body modification.   

Nose piercing in modern times

Today, nose rings have transcended from being taboo to popular articles of fashion. Many prominent figures are seen wearing them, thereby normalizing them and watering down the stigma surrounding them. Some workplaces are tolerant to nose rings as they are now perceived as a personal statement and a form of expressing individuality.

Types of nose jewelry

Nose jewelries come in many sizes and shapes. Make it a point to learn about their different types and sizes before you talk to your piercer. Types of nose jewelry include:

  • Nose stud/nose bone – the most common starter jewelry. It is made of high quality metals like 14k gold, 18k gold, or titanium.
  • Nostril screw – has a bit of a curve to the tail, which makes it harder for it to fall out by accident. It is painful to remove and insert them
  • Captive bead ring – often used as well as mouth and ear piercings
  • Others: nose hoop, circular barbell, L-shaped nose pin a.k.a. fishtail


Is a nose piercing painful?

A needle will go through your nose cartilage, which is to say it really does hurt getting your nose pierced. Even so, it depends on the person’s level of pain tolerance. 

To help you get a grasp on how it feels, imagine it hurting one level more than having your ears pierced. However you might take the level of pain, the upside to getting pierced is that it is over fairly quickly. Just remember that the nerves in your nose are connected to your sinuses so your eyes will water. 

Which side to pierce your nose

In Hindu culture, women that pierce their nose wear the jewelry on the left since it is believed that the left side of the nose is directly connected to the reproductive system, and the nose ring is supposed to help them with fertility issues. 

Choosing which area to pierce can be a time-consuming activity. If you are struck by indecision, you can do what a lot of people do when they pierce their earlobes – get both sides pierced. This way, you can keep your piercings symmetrical and avoid deciding altogether. Here are other placement options that you can explore.

Nose jewelry placements:

  • Nostril piercing: The most common type of nose piercing.
  • Septril Piercing: This is a complicated placement where a nose bone or curved barbell is inserted half-vertically on the bottom tip of the nose. 
  • Septal Piercing: A septum retainer or a hoop goes through the columella or the area between the bottom of the nose and the cartilage. 
  • Vertical Tip or Rhino Piercing: A curved barbell is used where one end will be visible on the tip of the nose, and the other end will show under the tip.
  • Nasallang Piercing: This is a tri-nasal piercing that goes through the left nostril, right nostril, and septum. It will look like you have two piercings, and it takes the longest to heal.
  • Bridge Piercing: This is a surface piercing where a straight barbell pierces the bridge of the nose between the eyes. 

Factors to consider

  • Hair style – If your hair line isn’t symmetrical, consider piercing the nostril on the side that isn’t covered by your hair so that it is more visible. The side you choose to get pierced affects your overall aesthetic.
  • Other piercings – If you have other piercings on your face, you can use pierce on areas where there is more symmetry or evenness.
  • Practical considerations –  Pierce the nostril opposite to the side where you sleep to avoid any discomfort while the piercing is healing.


Most frequent questions and answers

The cost will largely depend on the placement and the quality and design of the metal used. For a typical nose piercing plus the jewelry, it can cost from $25 to $80. Triple nostril piercing is the most expensive type, costing around $60 to $100.

It can take anywhere between six weeks to a few months for a nose piercing to heal. Of course, it will depend on the type of nose piercing and a person’s healing time. A septum piercing heals the quickest (six weeks) while nasallang piercings take four to six months to heal as they are the most difficult to pierce.

The importance of cleaning your piercing cannot be overstated as it determines how long you can keep the nose jewelry on. Your nose piercing, like any wound is prone to infections, even more so because of its location.

Use salt water to clean your nose piercing

Saline solution is the only way to clean your nose. In order to prevent it from getting infected, you will need to wash the area several times a day with it. Fill up a little dixie cup with the saline solution and then put your nose in the cup. If an infection occurs and a crust develops, soak a cotton swab in saline and carefully rub out any crust attached to the piercing. Soak the spot in saline again to soften the crust. Don’t rub too hard or roughly.

Also, avoid all contact with your hands and fingertips on the area. Only touch it with a cotton pad when you’re cleaning it. If you can’t avoid touching it, never go in with unwashed hands.

Nose piercing aftercare

Aftercare is also important to complement the regular cleaning. Here are a few aftercare tips:

  • Using a fresh cotton swab, moisturize your nose piercing with a combination of tea tree oil and coconut oil to speed up the healing process.
  • Avoid wearing sterling silver in your freshly pierced nose as the metal will leave a permanent black stain on your skin. Use stainless steel, niobium, titanium, or 14k gold. 
  • If your nose piercing gets infected, apply powdered aspirin to provide relief. 
  • Avoid swimming pools, hot tubs or the ocean to decrease chances of bacterial infection and pollutant contaminant infection.

Bottom line

It is fascinating to note how nose piercings bridge the past to the present. They remain culturally significant, both as a sacred ancient ritual and as a popular fashion accessory. 

There are many ways to wear nose piercings which appeals to many. It can be a symbol of beliefs or an expression of personal style. Whatever your reason for wearing them, remember that it is a foreign object attached to your body, which means it requires maintenance. Practice your own due diligence so that it remains safe to keep them on your skin.

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