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Septum Piercings 101: Everything You Need to Know Before and After

Posted by Jessy L. on 8th Nov 2023

Septum Piercings 101: Everything You Need to Know Before and After

Septum Piercings 101: Everything You Need to Know Before and After

Did you know that septum piercings have a rich cultural history around the world? Although the piercings through the center of the nose may seem like a fad today, they have actually been around for over four thousand years.

Have you ever wondered about septum piercings and if this type of jewelry is right for you? Here is a guide to septum piercing tips, septum piercing healing, and answers to any other questions you may have about this unique facial piercing.

Before Your Septum Piercing

Getting a septum piercing is not as easy as simply walking into a piercing parlor to get the procedure done. Before you perform any body modifications, you should make sure you know what you are getting into.

Learn all about how the piercing will impact your appearance, your job, and every other aspect of your life. Remember, if you are not completely on board, it may be best to wait until you know what you want.

Is a Septum Piercing Right for You?

Although the septum piercing may seem cool to look at, you should explore if it would be the best fit for you. For instance, it is easier to manage a septum piercing if you have a wider septum, as the piercer will have more cartilage to work with. That way, the piercing is much more stable.

In addition, you need to see if you have a deviated septum. This happens when your septum is more on one side of your nose instead of being perfectly symmetrical.

For people with a slightly deviated septum, you can get a septum piercing but it may appear slightly crooked on your face. If you have a severely deviated septum, ask your doctor if it will work for you. They may recommend avoiding a septum piercing because it could cause more harm.

If you frequently have nasal irritation, then a septum piercing may not be the best option. Blowing your nose and touching it constantly can irritate the piercing and even cause infection.

Get the Green Light From Your Workplace

Although piercings are becoming more and more standard in the workplace, you still need to make sure that they will be accepted at your company. This depends on the type of organization you work for and the unique guidelines of the business.

Ask Your Supervisor

To get a good idea of whether or not you can have a septum piercing at your job, it may be best to talk to your supervisor before getting the piercing. They usually have a good idea as to what is allowed or not allowed in your workplace.

Depending on the structure and size of your company, your supervisor may be a mid-level manager or the CEO. If you present the subject and make a good argument for body piercings in the workplace, you may be able to get away with your septum piercing.

Consult the Employee Handbook

Most workplaces have an employee handbook, which contains company policies such as dress codes and other important guidelines. Your workplace handbook should contain policies for body modifications, such as piercings and tattoos.

Sometimes the handbook will allow secure piercings, especially if you work in foodservice. However, if you work in a highly professional setting, such as an accounting or law firm, then you may not have as much leeway when it comes to body piercings.

In general, if your company is a startup in an industry like tech, then they will likely have more flexibility with body modifications. You can always ask the higher-ups at your company for clarification if the handbook isn't clear about septum piercing jewelry.

Look Into Workplace Substitutes

If your job does not allow facial piercings, you may still be able to get your septum piercing. Talk to your piercer beforehand about your options so you do not have to change the jewelry yourself before your piercing heals.

One option you can go with is a clear bar that goes through your septum on the inside of the nostrils. Known as a retainer, this can make sure that your piercing site stays open while it heals. Later, you can switch it out for whichever jewelry that you prefer.

Most of the time, the clear retainers are small and straight, so they do not curve outward. If you wear one, it should not be visible at all.

Another option is flipping your jewelry up inside of your nose if you get a horseshoe-shaped septum ring. Get a small enough ring so that the ends do not go past the edge of your nostrils. Then you can still wear your septum jewelry at work, and flip it back down when it heals.

Once the septum piercing site is fully healed, you will be able to flip the jewelry up during the days that you work, and flip it back down when you finish your shift.

Find a Reputable Piercer

After you find out if you can get a septum piercing at your job, you next need to search for a good piercer to do the job. Finding the right pierce is important because you want someone highly recommended who has experience with septum piercings.

Ask for Recommendations

Word of mouth is sometimes the best way to find a good piercer. If you have friends or family who got their septums pierced, ask for recommendations of local piercings that are professional.

In contrast, you can also get good advice on what to look out for and who to stay away from. You should not have to find out the hard way that a piercer does not have enough expertise.

Look at Online Reviews

Online reviews are a fantastic tool for finding a reputable piercing business. With sites like Yelp and Google Reviews, it will be easy to narrow down your list of piercers in your area to a few that you want to explore.

If a business has a couple of negative reviews, do not rule them out completely. Check to see if the customer had an issue with the business itself or if their experience is not related to the quality of the piercing.

Sometimes companies will even respond to complaints personally on review pages. How a piercer handles negative feedback is also a good indicator of the way he or she does business professionally.

Visit Beforehand

Once you have narrowed down your piercing options, you can take it a step further and have a consult with the piercer. Although many piercing businesses take walk-ins, it is still a good idea to see the business up close.

You can look to make sure that they operate their business safely and use standard cleanliness procedures. If their customer service is lacking, that can be a huge red flag. It is also a good idea to explore your options for jewelry and size beforehand, so you know exactly what you want.

Do Not Pierce It by Yourself

Whatever you do, do not pierce your septum, or any other body part, by yourself. Although it may seem tempting, this can actually be incredibly dangerous and cause infection or permanent damage.

When you pierce your septum, the needle must go through the cartilage in your nose. If the cartilage gets damaged, it can cause all kinds of problems and even make your nose visibly damaged.

Getting Your Septum Pierced

Once you decide that you want to get your septum pierced and find a good piercer, the next step is to actually get the piercing. Here are some septum piercing tips that will help make the process smooth and efficient. You will walk out with a new septum piercing in no time!

Decide on Your Septum Jewelry

When you walk into the piercing shop, they will offer you a variety of different types of jewelry to choose from. The jewelry you pick depends on how prominent you want your piercing to be, and if you want it to face upward or downward in your nose.

If you do not know which type to pick, you can ask the piercer for their recommendations. They may be able to point you in the right direction based on aftercare and which styles are the most popular for newer septum piercing jewelry.

Curved Retainer

The curved retainer is one of the most popular choices for septum piercings. These go in through the piercing and have the ends sticking out of your nostrils.

It is easy to maneuver and remove if needed because it does not have a bead, a hinge, or another mechanism to keep it closed. These retainers come in all types of materials, so you can get one that is comfortable for you.

Another benefit of the curved retainer is that it is incredibly discreet. If you want something that hardly shows, then it is a great option.

To make it completely invisible for work purposes, you can get a smaller curved retainer that holds your piercing open but does not exit the nostrils. That way, you will be able to wear your jewelry all the time while the piercing site heals.

Captive Bead Ring

A captive bead ring is a great style for your septum piercing if you want to make a statement. Usually, this type of jewelry has a bead or jeweled centerpiece designed to go directly in the middle of your nose.

The captive bead ring designs range from simple to ornate. A good starter can be something with a small, simple bead. This will not be too heavy, and will not pull on your piercing site as much from the weight.

If you are sensitive to piercings, you may want to hold off on a captive bead ring. They can tear easily and disrupt the healing process. However, your piercer can sell you jewelry that is the correct gauge so you can put it in later.

Septum Clicker

For another option that makes a statement, consider a septum clicker. These have a similar style to captive bead rings, except rather than a full circle, there is a straight section that has a hinge.

Since the portion that goes through your nose is straight, you will not have to worry as much about the weight of the jewelry tugging your skin downward.

When your septum piercing heals, you can use the clicker jewelry on many other different types of piercings. It is extremely versatile, so it can be a great investment in your body jewelry collection overall.

One downside of the clicker is that it may be too heavy and ornate to wear in a professional setting. You cannot hide it during the healing process, so make sure that you are able to wear it full-time before committing to it.

Segment Ring

If you want a ring in your septum that is seamless, then you may want to consider getting a segment ring. Rather than a bead or another mechanism for closing, the segment ring features a segment that pops out and clicks in perfectly.

Segment rings tend to be comfortable and lie flat against your skin. Since the sealing portion fits in seamlessly with the rest of the ring, there will be no uneven distribution of weight either.

A segment ring is a good starter option because you can get one in a small and discreet size. In addition, the design causes much less skin irritation. This can speed up your healing time, so you can switch out your jewelry more quickly.

Since these rings rotate easily through the nose, you can clean them with little to no effort. This does a great job of getting rid of buildup and preventing infection.

Hinged Ring

The hinged ring has a similar design to the segment ring. Unlike the segment ring, though, the section of the ring that allows you to guide it through your septum is hinged.

One benefit of a hinged ring over a segment ring is that you cannot lose the piece of the ring that closes it. It is always connected to the main portion of the ring and can easily click into place with little effort.

Although the hinge is supposed to be completely seamless within the ring, there is still a chance that the small difference will result in some skin irritation. In addition, it may be slightly more difficult to rotate the ring inside of your nose with hinged jewelry.

Some hinged rings feature tiny jewels or beads on the portion where it opens. This is for aesthetic purposes, and it shows where you need to look to access the hinge.

Circular Barbell

The circular barbell is another popular option for starter septum jewelry. It is a similar shape to the curved retainer, except rather than bending slightly outwards, it goes in an inward horseshoe shape.

This type of jewelry also features small balls on each end. The balls are meant to keep the jewelry from sliding out if it shifts to one side of your nose or the other.

To remove the circular barbell, you need to unscrew one side of the horseshoe and guide it out of your nose. The balls are secure and should not take too long to take out or put back in.

Circular barbells are an ideal choice for a new septum piercing because they are clearly visible and do not require much maintenance. They also do not tug on the skin because they tend to be more lightweight.

Best Materials for Body Piercings

When it comes to septum piercing jewelry, the material is just as important as the design. With body piercings, you create an open wound that needs to heal. Therefore, only the highest quality metal is suitable for any new piercings, septum included.

Luckily, you will still have many options to choose from depending on your budget and the look you prefer. A good piercer usually does not offer cheap jewelry that can easily cause irritation or infection.

Make sure to let your piercer know ahead of time if you have any metal allergies. Although the jewelry may be high quality, some materials can contain trace amounts of nickel or other common metals that can trigger an allergic reaction.

Surgical Steel

Surgical steel is by far one of the most popular choices for any type of body piercing. It is incredibly durable and will not bend or break easily. You will not have to worry about your jewelry changing shape or bending to the point that it is uncomfortable.

Most people will not have any sort of allergic reaction to surgical steel because it is hypoallergenic. Very few people have sensitivity towards surgical steel, making it an extra safe option if you have skin prone to irritation.

In addition, it is completely safe to go swimming in a pool or the ocean with surgical steel jewelry. You will not have to worry about rust or corrosion. You can easily clean it with a bit of soap and water, and it will be good as new.

Solid Gold

Solid gold is another wonderful option for jewelry. Gold is another material that very few people are allergic to or sensitive to, so you should be safe if you pick gold for your septum piercing jewelry.

Unlike surgical steel or titanium, however, gold is more malleable and will bend. Make sure that you get jewelry that will sit comfortably in your nose and will not bend out of its original shape.

If you end up getting gold jewelry, make sure that you get it in higher carat weight. Lower carat gold tends to have supplementary materials in it, such as nickel and copper. These can rust and provoke allergic reactions in sensitive skin.

The purest form of gold is yellow gold, followed closely by white gold. Avoid rose gold for an open piercing, as this material contains a large amount of copper to achieve its unique pink hue.


Perhaps the strongest option for septum piercing jewelry is titanium. It is a whopping three times stronger than its surgical steel counterpart, so you never have to worry about breaking or general damage.

Because of its strength, titanium tends to be more expensive. However, if you want the highest quality option that is also strong, then it may be your go-to material.

Another perk of titanium is that it resists scratches and erosion. Even if it costs more upfront, it may actually save you a lot of money in the long run. Your spectrum piercing jewelry will look good as new for a much longer period of time.

The Piercing Process

Once you pick out your jewelry, your piercer will then go over the piercing process with you. A reputable piercer will explain every step to you in detail, so you know exactly what they are going to do.

If you visit a good piercer, the process should be over within a few minutes. Then you can walk out and continue through your day with your brand new septum piercing.

Safety and Sanitation

Your piercing professional will make sure that their station is completely clean and sanitized before you enter to get your septum piercing done. This includes wiping down surfaces with disinfectant, using sterile and new needles, and sanitizing other tools.

If you see anything that looks unclean, this is a huge red flag. In this case, it is best to leave and find another piercer. Since piercing creates an open wound, it is susceptible to germs and infection. It is better to be safe than sorry in this case.

Once you verify that everything is clean and sanitized, your piercer will wash their hands thoroughly. Then, they can swab the piercing site gently with an alcohol wipe or a cotton ball soaked in disinfectant.

After disinfecting the skin, they will likely take a marker and use it to designate where the needle goes. This will help them to insert the needle perpendicular. It will also lessen the time that the piercing takes and the amount of pain it causes you during the process.

Freehand Technique

Depending on the piercer that you visit, they will probably have a piercing method that works best for them. There are pros and cons to each technique, and they may switch it up depending on the type of piercing they are doing.

The freehand technique involves only using a needle to create the hole. The piercer will aim for the cartilage, quickly puncture the area, and then slip the jewelry through before it begins to bleed.

Sometimes, they may need a better visual field to do this for septum piercings, since the site is inside of the nose. In this case, a pair of forceps can help to widen your nostrils so that they can push the needle straight through the center of your septum with ease.

Receiving Tube

Another popular method for piercings is the receiving tube. This process can take a bit longer than the freehand needle, but it offers more control for the piercer in general.

A receiving tube is hollow and the piercer uses it to push the needle through in a straight line. It will prevent needle prick and make it even easier to insert the jewelry after they create the hole.

After placing your preferred jewelry, your piercer will wipe away any blood and discharge from the piercing so that it remains clean. Then they should throw away any disposable materials and sanitize the area as well.

Always Tip Your Piercer

Remember, you should always tip your piercer after the services are complete. It is good etiquette and a way to show your appreciation for your new body modification.

A good rule of thumb is to take the total cost of the service, divide it by five, and add that amount to your total as a good tip. Usually, the piercer will charge the cost of the jewelry you choose, plus a small fee.

Aftercare and Septum Piercing Healing

Once you have your brand new piercing, you may start to feel pain and swelling after the initial euphoria wears off. Unlike ear lobe piercings, the healing process for septums can take longer and be more difficult.

However, you do not have to feel intimidated by the septum piercing healing process. Here are some of the best septum piercing tips for taking care of your new nose ring.

Avoid Touching Your Nose

Remember, a septum piercing is an open wound, so it is vital that you avoid disturbing it as much as possible. In general, try to avoid touching your nose or getting hair or other debris in the area of the piercing.

If you must touch your nose to blow it, clean it, or adjust your new jewelry, make sure to wash your hands before doing anything. Wash for at least 20 seconds in warm, soapy water, and do not touch anything before moving your jewelry.

To take it a step further, you can put on sterile gloves before you touch your septum piercing site. You will know they are clean and you can get rid of them after a single use.

Wash With Saline Solution

While your piercing heals, it is important to keep it as clean as possible. You should not wash it directly with soap, because that could irritate the piercing site.

The best method for keeping your septum piercing clean and free of infection is to use saline solution. You can make it at home using salt and lukewarm water.

Dip a cotton swab or a Q-tip into the solution and gently move it around the septum piercing. This will also help to loosen any crust or buildup that occurs during the healing process.

If you do not want to make your own saline solution, many piercing shops sell it pre-made. You can also buy it in spray form. Make sure to clean your piercing several times during the day.

Do Not Take Your Piercing Out

It is vital that you do not take the piercing out during the healing process. When you take it out, the wound will immediately start to close because the tissue has not healed yet.

You may experience swelling and some discharge after the piercing. This is totally normal as your body reacts to an open wound. When you clean the area, you should be able to move the jewelry out of the way without taking it out of your nose.

Even if your piercing gets an infection, piercers recommend that you do not take it out. If the hole closes, it could trap the infection inside of your body. This could cause it to spread through your bloodstream, rather than draining out through the piercing hole.

Look Out for Signs of Infection

Even though some redness, swelling, and discharge can be normal after a piercing, you should still make sure you look for signs of infection in the weeks of healing from a septum piercing.

However, if these symptoms get worse or persist more than a few days after your piercing, then it could be an infection. Try to keep the wound as clean as possible and consult with a doctor if necessary.

Make sure to let your doctor know the consequences if you pull the septum jewelry out. They may want to keep an eye on the piercing, drain pus and discharge, and prescribe oral antibiotics for you to take.

If you have a fever, chills, or you see red streaks going from your ear towards your face, then you need to go to the emergency room immediately.

Scar Tissue and Keloids

Although your piercing should heal up normally, there is always a risk that you will develop scar tissue. Scar tissue is when your skin and cartilage thicken from the trauma of the piercing needle.

Sometimes scar tissue can build up into keloids. Keloids are bumps that form on top of cartilage that can vary in size and shape. If you have a keloid on the inside of your nose, it could cause serious problems.

There are many methods that can get rid of a keloid if you develop one. Some of them include laser removal, freezing it off, and surgical removal.

Contact Your Piercer With Questions

If you have any questions or concerns during your septum piercing healing, your piercer should be available to answer them. Make sure to get their contact information before you leave so that you have a trusted resource.

The internet is also a valuable tool when it comes to septum piercing tips. Make sure that every source you use is verified. On many sites such as Reddit, there are professionals who are willing to answer questions about their expertise, such as piercers.

Septum Healing Timeline

Although everyone is different when it comes to septum piercing healing, there is always a good rule of thumb when it comes to a general timeframe. Healing occurs in stages, and this dictates when you can change jewelry or when your tissue is fully healed.

A few days after the piercing, you will experience redness and swelling. This is the most uncomfortable part of the healing process. You can use over-the-counter drugs such as Ibuprofen to bring down the swelling and reduce your pain levels.

After one to three weeks, you should start noticing less tenderness and pain in the area. It may still be sensitive, but not so much that moving the jewelry causes immediate irritation.

Most piercers say that you can start to change jewelry after six to eight weeks, but that timeframe can vary based on your healing process. You do not have to change jewelry if you do not feel comfortable.

For example, if you suffer from an infection after you get your septum pierced, it can reset the healing process. This means that it might be several months after your initial piercing before you can change your jewelry.

Even if you feel like your cartilage has healed after several weeks or a few months, it actually takes six to eight months on average to fully heal. One of the reasons it takes such a long time for cartilage to heal is because it does not get blood flow like other parts of the body.

When to Change Jewelry

If you feel like you are ready to change jewelry, congratulations! Once you are confident in your septum piercing healing, you can move on to the fun part: building a wonderful collection of septum jewelry.

You can reference a timeline that your piercer gives you to dictate when to change the jewelry. However, it is also a good idea to judge how your septum piercing feels. If it is too sensitive even after nine weeks, then you should avoid changing jewelry.

Check the Material

Like your piercing material, you should only use high-quality jewelry for your new septum piercing. Ideally, you want to use gold, stainless steel, or platinum.

If you do not have skin sensitivities to materials like copper, then you may be able to get away with cheaper jewelry. However, make sure that you only use this for a few hours at a time, as it is prone to corrode and rust.

Many websites have hundreds of options for septum piercing jewelry in high-quality materials, which are also affordable. When in doubt, go with the material that your piercer used.

If you know for a fact that you respond well to surgical steel, then you can buy surgical steel jewelry without worrying about an allergic reaction.

Use the Right Gauge

One of the most vital septum piercing tips for replacing jewelry is to find the correct gauge. Your piercer should let you know which size gauge that they used when they performed the original procedure.

You can contact them if you forget. They will usually use a standard size gauge for all septum piercings, so it will be easy for them to remind you of which size to purchase.

Gauge sizing is tricky because the larger the number, the smaller the actual gauge. A 14 is thinner than a 12. If you go with a smaller gauge, it may feel more comfortable for you, but you will likely have to stick with that smaller gauge in the future.

Give Your Body Time to Adjust

Even if you do not have sensitivity, your body may still need time to respond to new jewelry. Expect some irritation in the first few days after changing your jewelry. Even if there is a miniscule size difference, you could end up slightly stretching your cartilage.

You should still be aware of signs of infection that differ from the usual redness and irritation. You should also resume your saline cleaning process if your nose has a hard time with the new jewelry.

If your body continues to reject the jewelry, then you may need to find a different material or shape that works better. For instance, the weight of some septum rings can tug on your cartilage and cause pain and swelling.

Be Completely Prepared for Septum Piercings

If you or your loved ones want to get septum piercings, you should not let the process intimidate you. With this handy guide to body piercings and healing, you can get the look you have always wanted and guide it through the healing cycle.

Want to learn more about how you can spice yourself up with new face and body jewelry? Check out our site for all of your options or contact us today for more information.

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