Nose Piercings – Nostril, Septum, and Bridge Piercings

Nose piercings are extremely popular throughout the world. The nostril piercings are the most popular, although there is a surge in septum (properly called the nasal septum) piercings too; Bridge Piercings, located between the eyes, are still very rare. No matter which nose piercings you desire, all have the potential to frame your face and emphasize your features beautifully.

Nostril piercings are as old as humankind. Many cultures pierce their noses for varying reasons, be it for warrior status, child-bearing help, religious references, or coming of age rites, people have been piercing their noses for longer than recorded history. In America, nostril piercings are a relatively new fad – the first groups of people to get their noses pierced were hippies returning from sojourns in India and followers of “punk rock”, so the initial impression of nostril piercings was that of a disestablishmentarianism feel. Today, having a nostril pierced is hardly considered “punk” or “rebellious” and an increasing amount of workplaces allow for nostril piercings; out of all facial piercings, this is probably one of the piercings to achieve benign responses from older or more traditional members of society.

Both nostrils can be pierced and the side you get pierced is really a matter of your personal preference. You and your piercer will decide on which jewelry is appropriate for your lifestyle (and the initial jewelry used for the piercing may not be what you have in mind) and which jewelry will best accommodate your face for the inevitable subsequent swelling. The piercer may choose the best location for your new jewelry by asking you to flare your nostrils. The best looking nose jewelry is located in the crease that become apparent during flaring and in this location you minimize your chances of accidentally ripping out your new piercing!

The Septum piercing is located, well, in the septum (the cartilage that separates your nostrils) and looks extremely painful. Actually, it is one of the least painful piercings you can get, for a good piercer won’t actually go through the cartilage. Your piercer will pinch your septum to locate the “sweet spot” – a sliver of thin skin – and the jewelry will be placed there. Captive beads and circular barbells are usually used for the initial jewelry, and many people choose to gauge this piercing over time. If you decide to gauge, remember that the initial swelling will subside in one month to three months, so only after this allotted time can you begin the process.

Unfortunately, there are some stigmas associated with this piercing (most work environments are not friendly to it), but luckily, these piercings are easy to hide without having to remove the jewelry. If you get pierced with a circular barbell, instead of letting the ends hang downward you can swing the ends into your nose, thus hiding the piercing. Once you can safely remove the piercing, you can always buy a clear or flesh color retainer to disguise the piercing too.

Bridge Piercings are still rare but are becoming more visible in everyday culture. While this piercing is actually located on the nose, it is placed on the upper part (the bridge) of the nose right between the eyes, hence the name. If this piercing is flipped from horizontal to vertical, and lifted slightly on the nose and forehead plane, it is called a “minds eye” or “third eye” piercing (which is still very rare, and explained in my eye-area article). Bridge piercing is also called the “earl” as a tribute to the first person to wear this piercing (Earl van Aken). Bridge Piercings are contemporary of origin.

Bridge Piercings and Third Eye Piercings are considered “surface piercings” (a complete in-depth analysis of surface piercings will be provided in another article), so the risk of rejection is high, and once removed, scarring is a real possibility. Without fail, Bridge Piercings are pierced with straight barbells (rings simply won’t work for an initial piercing, although once healed, a D-shaped captive ring may work). A professional piercer will tweak the jewelry so as to fit your face shape, if not create a completely customized piece of jewelry for you. While the Bridge piercings carry no risk to harm your eyes, or your sinuses, they should not be attempted by amateurs. If you are considering this piercing, be warned that the rate of complete healing is very low, and the risk of migration is very high. Not many people are able to keep this piercing, and reoccurring infections are a real risk even if you do take great care of this piercing!

As always, be sure to keep your new piercing clean with warm saline solution. Never ever touch your jewelry – your hands are absolutely covered with germs – unless you absolutely must and you have just washed your hands. By following these two simple guidelines, you will be on the right track to a quick and painless healing process.

During the first couple weeks, you may notice tenderness if you have to blow your nose. And to be completely forthright, you may notice that boogers stick to the inside of your piercing. The average healing period is eight to ten weeks, but this can be prolonged if you wear makeup, take your nose ring in and out repeatedly, partake in illegal drugs (this will definitely irritate your piercing), or smoke (tobacco is amongst the worst offenders for infection causers). After ten weeks, it should not hurt to blow your nose. Be gentle when drying your face – towels are your enemy for the first couple weeks, for jewelry can get caught on the fabric and get yanked out.

If you love the look of nose piercings but are uneasy about potential job prospects, you can (and should) buy a retainer. You are definitely not the first person to be in this conundrum, so many body jewelry manufacturers have created clear or flesh colored retainers – that is, jewelry specifically designed to maintain the integrity of your piercing while blending in with the rest of your face. These enable you to keep your nose piercings from closing up (because like most facial piercings, the holes will close relatively quickly) all while going undetected in the workplace. If you are interested in a nose piercing (or two…or three…) there is really no reason to hold back!