What’s a Septum Piercing? Find Out if it’s For You

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The septum piercing has become synonymous with boldness, mystery, and style. There’s a reason many fashion enthusiasts love this piercing — it instantly transforms you into the most interesting and memorable character in the room.  

Are you tempted to get a septum piercing? This guide explores everything you need to know about septum piercings — the pain level, the healing process, aftercare, and possible complications. 

What’s a septum piercing?

septum piercing - What's a Septum Piercing? Find Out if it's For You


A septum piercing is a nose piercing that goes through the thin flesh between the nostrils. It sits in the middle at the lower part of the nose. It’s different from a septril piercing, which combines a septum and rhino piercing.

Where does a septum piercing go? 

A septum piercing goes through the flesh at the lower part of the septum (the septum is the area that separates the nostrils). From afar, you may think the piercing goes through the cartilage that separates the nostrils, but a professional piercer will only pierce the thin flesh at the bottom between the nostrils. 

What does a septum piercing symbolize?

Septum piercings held different symbolism in ancient times. For example, in New Guinea, boys wore septum piercings as a sign of passage into manhood. Women in Bangladesh wore it after marriage. Today, a septum piercing is a fashion trend that expresses your readiness to stand out. 

What is a septum piercing good for?

Some acupuncture studies say that a septum piercing is good for a better immune system, although there may not be enough scientific evidence to support that. Also, we know that a septum piercing adds an edge to your look and can boost your confidence. 

Getting a septum piercing

septum piercing with jewelry


If you’re considering getting a septum piercing, here are some things to keep in mind.  

How much does a septum piercing cost?

A septum piercing costs between $35 and $90, depending on your location, the piercing studio, and the jewelry type. 

How painful are septum piercings?

Since they’re flesh (not cartilage) piercings, septum piercings are not really painful. There’s a “sweet spot” on the septum which will bring you little to no pain if your piercer gets it right. Most people describe the pain of septum piercings as a tiny, sharp poke. 

What gauge is a septum piercing?

Most septum piercings are 16-gauge, although you can also use 18-gauge jewelry. The gauge you use depends on your preference and piercer (they may suggest the best size for your nose anatomy). 

Healing and aftercare

Woman with a healed septum piercing


After piercing your septum, you must practice proper aftercare while it heals. Here’s what to keep in mind. 

How long does it take a septum piercing to heal?

A septum piercing takes three to eight months to heal. However, the exact time varies, depending on your body’s natural healing time. Your aftercare practices also affect how long your septum takes to heal. Proper aftercare will encourage your piercing to heal faster.

When can you change your septum piercing?

You must wait for your septum piercing to heal entirely (three to eight months) before changing it.

How many days after you get your septum can you flip it?

You can flip your septum after about four days. But you should wait until your piercing heals before flipping it back and forth. This is because flipping a new septum piercing (especially multiple times daily) can cause irritation and infection. 

How to flip septum piercing up

First, confirm that the ends of your piercing jewelry are not too close. If they’re too close, visit your piercer to distend the jewelry. Otherwise, follow these steps to flip up your septum piercing:

  • Clean the piercing with warm water to soften any crust
  • Make an “O” shape with your lips
  • Stretch the “O” downwards (this will pull down your nostrils and make your septum thinner)
  • Finally, flip your septum piercing by turning the ends of the jewelry in your nostrils. 

How to care for a septum piercing

To enjoy your septum piercing, you must care for it properly using these tips: 

  • Avoid touching your septum piercing unless you’re cleaning it — wash your hands with soap and water first.
  • Use saline solution to clean the piercing site at least twice daily.
  • Avoid flipping your new septum piercing often.
  • Keep harsh cleaning solutions like hydrogen peroxide, iodine, and alcohol away from your piercing.
  • Keep chemical products like makeup and perfumes away from your septum piercing. 

Complications of septum piercings

Septum piercings are not always a bed of roses. We’re discussing some possible complications that come with septum piercings.


Infection occurs when bacteria enter a septum piercing site. That’s likely to happen if you use unsterilized equipment for your piercing (a big reason why you should visit only a professional piercer) or touch your piercing with dirty hands. 

How to know if your septum piercing is infected 

A septum piercing is infected if:

  • The piercing site is swollen, red (or dark), and hurts a lot
  • The piercing produces pus and blood
  • You feel sick 

The first two signs above could be typical for a new piercing. But if they persist for weeks after your piercing, there’s a high chance it’s infected.

Septal hematoma

Septal hematoma is when blood accumulates within the septum, causing severe pain and swelling. It happens when you pierce the septum cartilage (instead of flesh) and damage the blood vessels and tissues lining the cartilage.  


Your septum piercing may develop a thick scar if something tugs it often or if your skin rejects it. Septum scarring is usually not very obvious, but it can be uncomfortable. Plus, it could be aesthetically unappealing if it’s a large scar like a keloid. 

Frequently asked questions

Do you still have questions about septum piercings? We’ve prepared this section for you. 

Why does my septum piercing smell?

A buildup of bacteria, sweat, dead skin cells, and other debris causes a septum piercing to smell. The buildup is more likely to occur when you don’t clean your piercing regularly. 

How do you hide a septum piercing when you first get it?

One tip is to wear jewelry that sits closer to the base of your nose — this makes the piercing less noticeable while it’s healing. Hiding a healed septum piercing is more straightforward; you can wear a retainer or flip up your jewelry. 

How do you blow your nose with a septum piercing?

Blowing your nose without irritating a new septum piercing can be tricky. The best thing to do is blow your nose under running water instead of using tissue (where you must press down your nostrils). Alternatively, wet your nose with water or saline solution and blow it with soft tissues. You can also use a Q-tip to clean your nose. 

It’s easier with a healed septum piercing; just flip up your jewelry and blow your nose without tugging your piercing. 

How long does it take a septum piercing to close?

It depends on the age of the piercing. A new septum piercing (less than a year old) can close in a day or less. Older septum piercings may take years to close up.

Why does my septum piercing sting when I move it?

Your septum piercing stings when you move it because it’s new and probably has a crust around it. Avoid touching your piercing while it’s healing (unless you want to clean it). 

Is a septum piercing extremely painful?

No, a septum piercing is one of the least painful nose piercings. It’s natural to feel pain and tenderness while it heals, but the piercing process is not very painful.

Ready to join the trend? 

A septum piercing is a stylish way to switch up your look. Now that you know what’s involved in getting one, you can hop on this trend. Remember to clean your septum piercing regularly with clean hands. In a few months, you can flip your jewelry and enjoy the best part of this unique nose piercing.

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