The Complete Guide to Getting a Successful Nose Piercing

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Nose piercings are body piercings on parts of the nose (the cartilage or the skin) to wear jewelry. They’re done by passing a needle through a part of the nose and replacing it with jewelry. This piercing is a common feature of many cultures worldwide – especially in South-East Asia, with the nostril piercing being the most popular. 

Nose piercings are bold and add a cool edge to your look, so we understand your interest in them. We’ve prepared this article to sate your curiosity. Keep reading to discover all you need to know about them.

History of Nose Piercings

Nose piercings have existed for thousands of years in the Middle East. The Bible even refers to nose rings as a wedding gift in the book of Genesis. 

It’s believed that the tradition of nose piercing migrated from the middle east into India in the 16th century when the Mughal emperors invaded the region. Indians absorbed this into their culture, and now, whenever you think of an Indian bride, you think of an elaborate nose ring.

In the 1960s, the culture of nose piercings spread to the United States. Hippies returning from India brought this tradition back with them. The culture spread till goths and punk rockers picked it up in the 1970s and 1980s as a symbol of rebellion against societal norms.

Despite their controversial beginnings in the West, these piercings have gradually become mainstream. Occasionally, some people frown on them, but people are becoming more open-minded.

Why were nose piercings invented?

It’s difficult to say precisely why nose piercings were invented because cultures differ. Though we can infer that Middle Eastern women wore nose piercings purely for aesthetics, other cultures have different reasons. 

In Native American cultures, nose piercings were used to mark a boy’s entry into manhood. Australian aborigines also believed nose piercings improved physical appearance.

A fascinating use of nose piercings comes from the Apatani tribe in India. They began a nose plug tradition to deter kidnappers from taking their women away. Though the kidnappings are a thing of the past, the women still pierce their noses. And they take pride in the tradition.

Why do people get nose piercings?

Some people get nose piercings for the love of the aesthetic. Others get it because it’s cultural.

In India, married women wear a nose ring (also known as a “nath”) to show devotion to their husbands. This ring has religious and health significance and is popular in several Indian communities.

Indian woman wearing a nose ring.


In the West, nose piercings are aesthetic for many people. However, some people pierce their noses as a mark of rebellion or an unofficial rite of passage. 

What types of nose piercings are possible?

Though nostril and septum piercings are the most common, there are other types of nose piercings. Here are seven types of nose piercings you can try out.

Nostril Piercing

Nostril piercing


Nostril piercings go through the soft cartilage of the outside of the nose. They’re the most popular type of piercing and versatile when it comes to jewelry options. For this piercing, you can go for a stud, ring, or curved barbell.

Septum Piercing

Septum piercing


Septum piercings pass through the nose septum – the flap of tissue separating the nostrils. An experienced piercer will know to target the “sweet spot,” which is the point of least pain.

Nasallang Piercing

Nasallang piercing


Nasallang piercings go from one end of the nose and come out the other. At first glance, they look like two piercings on both sides of the nose. They’re painful but rare, meaning this is a great option to help you stand out.

Bridge Piercing (or Erl Piercing)

Nose bridge


Bridge piercings cross the nose bridge at the narrowest point between the eyes. However, they may pose a problem if you wear glasses. Choose jewelry with smaller ends and a spot that won’t affect your glasses to avoid issues.

Rhino Piercing

Rhino nose piercing


The unique name of this piercing comes from its similarity to rhino horns. When getting a rhino piercing, the needle will cut a vertical hole through the tip of your nose. The procedure is painful, but the results are unique.

Austin Bar

Austin bar - the complete guide to getting a successful nose piercing


The austin bar piercing is done through the tip of the nose as well. But it goes horizontally instead of vertically. It looks like the nasallang piercing, but it doesn’t pass through the septum.

Septril Piercing

Septril nose piercing


Septril piercings are uncommon and not the best idea for a first piercing. You need to have a preexisting septum piercing to carry it out. The septum is stretched and then drilled straight down to the nose tip.

Getting a Nose Piercing

While nose piercings spice up your look, things can go wrong if the piercing gets infected. You have to be cautious about the piercer and aftercare. No need to fear – we’re here to make the process a little easier.

The first thing to do for a safe nose piercing is to choose an experienced piercer. Find out the cost of the piercing and the kind of jewelry you’ll use. We recommend using hypoallergenic metals like sterling silver, titanium, and niobium.

How old do you have to be for a nose piercing?

In the US, you can get a nose piercing if you’re over 18 years old. Some states permit minors to get a piercing with parental consent. If you’re below 18 years and interested in getting a piercing, check your state laws to know what you should do.

How much do nose piercings cost?

Nose piercings can cost anywhere between $30 to $100 depending on the type of piercing and jewelry used. A more experienced piercer might also charge a higher price than average. Still, reach out to the nearest piercing studio to find out what they charge before deciding.

Does Claire’s do nose piercings?

You can get your nose pierced at Claire’s. Nose piercings are one of the most popular options at this store. Remember that they only offer this service to people over 16 years and will require parental consent if you’re below 18.

💡 Choose Carefully: Although many people get piercings at malls or shops like Claire’s, we don’t recommend getting pierced in stores. Jewelry stores like Claire’s use piercing guns, which can’t be properly disinfected because the plastic will melt in an autoclave. 

Besides that, piercing guns apply blunt force, which can rip nose tissue. We advise you to choose a piercer with a needle instead of a piercing gun.

How to Prepare for a Nose Piercing

Ready to get your piercing? Here are some tips to smoothen the process.

Talk to people with nose piercings

Find out what the process is like and what to expect. You can also read about nose piercings on sites like ours or check out people’s experiences on forums like Reddit.

Research Piercing Shops

Choose a piercing store with experienced piercers. Only visit shops with a piercing license and use piercers who are APP-certified. APP is the Association of Professional Piercers and a health and safety organization spreading information about piercings. When you read about a shop, find out about their piercing practices. You can also walk in and ask questions, making sure they have an autoclave machine to sterilize your jewelry, and they use needles from sterile packs.

Choose the Right Piercing and Jewelry

If it’s your first piercing, consider choosing a septum or nostril piercing. Both piercings are rated as less painful than the others and also take less time to heal. These qualities make them ideal to start with and get a feel of what piercings are like.

Nose piercing - The Complete Guide to Getting a Successful Nose Piercing

Use a hypoallergenic metal to reduce the risk of a reaction. Metals like titanium and niobium are good examples of hypoallergenic metals. 

Eat Before You Go

Eating ensures your blood sugar is up, and you aren’t likely to pass out when you get pierced. You can have a light snack or a full meal. 

Bring Your ID

The piercing shop needs to confirm that you’re over 18-years-old. Take your driver’s license or passport with you to show you’re of legal age. If you’re a minor, you and your guardian should have IDs. You should also bring your birth certificate if you and said guardian bear different last names.

Brace for the Pain

While most people find the pain of nose piercings minimal, there’s still some pain. You likely won’t have any numbing cream because the sharp pain is brief, leaving some soreness behind. You may also tear up a bit when the needle goes through, but that’s common. 

Remind yourself to keep breathing and to relax. The initial pain will last a few seconds, and you’ll be fine.

What size needle do they pierce your nose with?

A piercer will use either an 18 gauge (1.0 mm) or a 20 gauge (0.8 mm) needle. An 18G needle is preferable for heavier jewelry, while a 20G needle goes better with studs and smaller rings.

How painful are nose piercings?

The pain varies depending on what part of the nose you’re piercing. Septum and nostril piercings are less painful, usually rated about 4 or 5 out of 10. Nasallang, rhino, and Austin bar piercings are more painful because of the thickness of the tissue. But in general, the nose is one of the less painful body parts to pierce.

How long does it take for nose piercings to heal?

Healing time varies by piercing type. Septum and nostril piercings typically take the shortest time to heal; usually within six months. However, piercings going through thicker tissue (like nasallang and rhino) take more than six months to heal completely.

How fast do nose piercings close?

The speed of a piercing closing depends on how long ago you got pierced. A fresh piercing can close within an hour, while a piercing you’ve had for a year might last 24 hours before it begins to close. However, piercings older than a few years can stay open for much longer.

The length of time for older piercings also varies by individual. Piercings close in a week for some people, while others can keep their piercings open for several months. 

💡 Quick Tip: If you’re worried about your piercing closing while taking out your jewelry, invest in a clear plastic retainer. Retainers are near invisible and can keep your hole open when you want to hide your nose jewelry.

How to Care for Nose Piercings

Without adequate care, bacteria can infect your piercing. Proper aftercare can lower the risk of infection. You get your lovely piercing without any uncomfortable pain.

How do you clean nose piercings?

Clean your nose piercing twice a day during the healing process using a saline rinse (your piercer may recommend one) or saltwater. You can also make your own saline solution at home by dissolving a teaspoon of salt in a quarter cup of distilled water.

To clean the piercing, you can use clean thick paper towels, Q-tips, or cotton cloth. Thinner materials, like tissue paper or cotton balls, aren’t advisable because they can fall apart. 

Soak the material in your solution and dab it gently inside and outside the piercing. Wait about five minutes for residue and dirt to soften, then wipe them off. Be gentle during this process, so you don’t move the jewelry too much.

What should you not do after nose piercings?

You need to keep a fresh piercing clean. But that isn’t the only thing to remember. Here are some key things to avoid after getting a nose piercing.

  • While the piercing heals, don’t touch, move or replace the jewelry. If you must touch the jewelry, wash your hands first.
  • Avoid swimming pools, hot tubs, and saunas during the healing process. You don’t want your piercing getting exposed to dirty liquid.
  • Don’t use dirty tissue to blow or wipe your nose. Blow gently, so you don’t agitate the piercing. If you can, blow it in the shower to wash out the snot before it hardens to crusts.
  • Don’t apply hydrogen peroxide or over-the-counter antiseptics to the pierced surface. These substances can irritate the open wound.

Do nose piercings get infected easily?

Your nose piercing can get infected easily if not properly cared for. The nose can attract a lot of bacteria while you breathe, which stick to the mucus inside. If you don’t clean the fresh piercing regularly, bacteria can get into it.

You’ll know your piercing is infected if:

  • It is excessively itchy and red
  • You have a mild fever
  • Your piercing oozes yellowish or greenish fluid

If you think your piercing is infected, seek medical attention. If you’re unable to, you can try a few home remedies by:

  • Cleaning the site three to four times daily with a sterile saline solution.
  • Using a hot compress to reduce any swelling and relieve pain.
  • Applying a topical antibiotic.
  • Seeking medical attention if there’s no improvement after a few days. Doctors will typically advise the use of oral antibiotics.

💡 Take note: Don’t take out your piercing when there’s an infection unless your doctor advises you to. When you take out the piercing, the hole can close up, trapping the infection inside your skin.

How to Get Rid of Keloids from Nose Piercings

Keloids are raised scars that occur due to excessive collagen. They shouldn’t be confused with piercing bumps. Piercing bumps are small and tender, but keloids usually grow larger than piercing sites.

Keloids can be soft and pliable or hard and fibrous. But they aren’t harmful and are usually influenced by genetics. If you know there is a history of keloids in your family, you may want to avoid getting a nose piercing.

However, if you’ve already gotten a piercing and you have a keloid, you can get rid of it by:

  • Getting a corticosteroid shot. This shot is injected directly into the keloid and may help to flatten it.
  • Using cryotherapy. This process involves applying low temperatures to the tissue to reduce the size. It works better for small keloids.
  • Using laser treatment. Lasers are employed to help flatten and fade the color of the keloid.
  • Using surgical removal. In this method, a professional cuts off the keloid directly. The bad news is most keloids return after this procedure.
  • Using ligature. If your keloid is big enough, a doctor can suggest tying it with surgical thread. Eventually, the thread will cut into the keloid, and it’ll fall off.

We recommend seeing a licensed health professional for advice if you notice a keloid.

Frequently Asked Questions

Though we’ve said much about nose piercings, you may have a few other questions. Don’t worry, we have answers to those questions too.

Can men get nose piercings?

A man with a nose piercing might look out of place in many cultures. But that doesn’t mean a man can’t get one. Men can get nose piercings, and many men do. Celebrities like Zayn Malik, Machine Gun Kelly, and Travis Barker have nose piercings and look amazing with them.

Can boogers go through your nose piercing?

Boogers can get stuck on your piercing jewelry, but they typically can’t pass through the hole itself. Mucus is thick, and piercings are narrow (<1.0mm).

How do I get boogers off my jewelry?

Snot complicates having nose piercings. They stick to the ends of studs and feel yucky. However, don’t try to pick them off with your fingers, especially with a fresh piercing. That process can irritate the piercing and hurt you. 

Use warm water instead. Run over the crusty mucus to soften it, and then wipe off the bits with a Q-tip. Ensure the Q-tip is tightly spun to prevent bits from coming off.

Can my nose swallow my piercing?

As scary as this sounds, your nose can inhale your piercing. Depending on your jewelry type, you can breathe it in when it comes loose. The risk of this happening is low, as you’re more likely to lose the piercing outside than suck it in. But if it does, don’t panic. 

If someone around you is trained, you can apply first aid with back blows or abdominal thrusts. See a medical professional if you inhale your nose piercing.

Can you sneeze with a nose piercing?

You can sneeze with a nose piercing. Sneezing doesn’t hurt for most people, but there might be slight pain if your piercing is fresh. But it can tickle when you sneeze because of the jewelry’s movement.

Can a 13-year-old get a nose piercing?

A 13-year-old may be able to get a nose piercing, depending on their location. Some US states allow minors to get piercings as long as they have parental consent. You can find out the laws in your area.

Can you get your nose pierced while pregnant?

We strongly discourage getting a piercing while pregnant. Even if the piercers follow all the precautions, any infection at the site can enter the bloodstream and may be dangerous for the fetus. 

What religion has nose piercings?

Nose piercings are important in the Hindu religion. In Hindu culture, people believe nose piercings can reduce negative energy. It’s also believed that piercings on particular nerves in the nose can improve reproductive health and reduce menstrual and labor pains.

Try a Nose Piercing to Amp Your Style

After ear piercings, nose piercings are the most popular type of body jewelry. They add edgy character to your face and are a sure way to help you stand out. Naturally, it’ll hurt to get pierced and can take a few months to heal, but the results are striking! 

Ensure you visit an experienced piercer and adhere to specified aftercare. Soon, you’ll have a beautiful piercing to show off without complications.

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