Pierced my septum two weeks ago. It isn’t that big of a deal and I’m already getting used to it and forgetting about it occasionally but here’s some Q and A. Whether you know someone with a piercing or are thinking of getting one yourself, this post might A to your Q’s?
Questions people frequently ask me:
- Did it hurt?
When I got the piercing, yes. So bad. Ouch. 7/10 of pain. It actually goes through the skin under the cartilage in your nose, so it’s not as bad as some people imagine, but it hurt. I’ve seen some people describe it as a pinch, and your eyes water reflexively even though it doesn’t hurt that much. Well no. It is nothing like a pinch, it’s a huge-ass needle going through your skin, and the tears are actual pain.
After that, no, unless I hit it on something, which I sometimes do while sleeping.
When it heals completely, no, unless I yank it through my remaining skin or something.
- Can you take it out?
Now, probably not, might be hard to put it back in.
Eventually, yes. I have a curved barbell (photo at the end), so I can see how this might be confusing. The balls can be unscrewed.
And no, it’s not permanent. It’s through skin and not cartilage. If I don’t put a ring in it it will close, just like a earlobe piercing. Also, nobody will be able to see it. Also, no, I am not doing “permanent damage” to my body, MOM!
- Why did you do it?
I think it looks cool.
- Did your parents say anything?
Yes. Many things. I did warn them before I got it, so I think that helped. They tried to dissuade me but well, it’s my body.
- Can you tutor with a nose ring?
So I give tuition, and nobody fired me, so yeah I guess.
Questions I googled and didn’t really get satisfactory responses to but which I can now (kind of) answer:
- Are septum piercing culturally appropriative?
This is something I think we should research thoroughly and think carefully about. The answer I arrived at was no, unless you are wearing those “tribal” or “Indian inspired” designs without being desi, in which case please stop.
- Septum piercings on asians?
The most encouraging thing I read while researching was this: a septum piercing looks good on everyone. It accentuates a good looking nose and distracts from a less good looking nose. I didn’t know how it would go on my Asian nose since photos were mainly of sharp noses. Well, I love it! If you are thinking of getting one, I say go for it.
- Is there supposed to be so much blood?!?!
Immediately after I got pierced it was fine. Then I started feeling increasing pain, and 1 hour later blood was everywhere. Don’t worry, it’s normal. Just soak up the blood and wait for it to clot. Mine stopped bleeding after about half an hour. A little blood would show up when I cleaned it for the first three to four days.
- How do I pick my nose?
This was a huge concern tbh. HAHA. Google reveals that people have no problems with this once it’s healed, but I have not gotten to that point yet. The answer is cotton buds. You will get better at it don’t worry.
- How do I blow my nose?
Just do it, and clean up afterwards. It’s a pain.
- How do I flip it up?
I keep hearing about this. I don’t see how it’s physically possible? Anyway I watched some videos and realised that you actually flip it inwards instead of “up”. Here’s such a video. Supposedly it’s not recommended that you flip it around for the first two weeks; either keep it up or down. In fact you should avoid touching it as much as possible. I still have not figured out how to do it though!! It might be that I have the wrong size of ring. Will update when I find out from my piercer.
Update: pretty much completely healed now, still can’t flip it up. I believe the legs of the barbell needs to be further apart than it currently is. I swapped it out for a ring, but I also have a little staple shaped retainer that can in theory be flipped up. See my thoughts on types of jewellery below.
Update 2: okay it’s a year later and I finally figured it out because I really need it flipped up for my upcoming job in a restaurant haha. Conjecture in the previous update was correct. I had to widen the barbell quite a bit, which I managed by putting the ring on a pair of scissors and then slowly opening the scissors. There are specialised tools for this, or you could go to your piercer, but who has time for that. I think this is probably because my asian nose is significantly shorter than non-asian ones.
The retainer I got has really short legs and can indeed be flipped up, but also falls out of the piercing really easily if nudged because of the short legs, which is quite scary. I didn’t get one with longer legs because then it can’t be flipped up… quite an annoying situation. So the only thing that has worked for flipping up so far has been a proper barbell, appropriately widened.
- Can I put antiseptic cream on my piercing?
The usual recommended after-care regime is cleaning with saline twice a day, and warm water a few more times a day. My piercer gave me a really small bottle of saline and said I only had to do it for two days. I managed to buy more saline from Watsons though, so I continue to use it, which can’t hurt.
Supposedly you can’t use antiseptic which will dry out the skin and slow healing. No one has any answers about antiseptic cream though. I did use it in the end, and it turned out fine, so.. heh. Use a reasonable amount; sniffing the stuff probably isn’t that good for you.
- Oh god why does it itch so much?
Apparently because it’s healing. This was TERRIBLE, and is why I decided to use antiseptic cream on it. Which helped SO MUCH.
- Why is it loose?
A few days later I felt like the ring was loose and moving around easily, which led to worries about various things. Don’t worry, it’s normal, it’s just the swelling going down.
Update: types of jewellery
Went online and bought a bunch of different stuff to try. First of all, don’t try to change it dry! Use water or some kind of oil. Ouch. Had a few panicked moments of not being able to get it in and forcing it in and ugh ><.
Anyway, things to consider are material and kind (barbell, CBR, clicker). Best to get titanium when getting it pierced to avoid nickel reactions etc. After that you can take your chances with surgical steel / niobium etc, most likely fine unless you have sensitive skin. I immediately noticed that steel has a smell from sebum gathering on it, which is fine and normal though kinda gross. There’s piercing deodorant apparently, but I just put up with it tbh. Barbell is easiest; I switched from that to a moderate quality clicker which was a fucking ORDEAL to close. Recruited half my family and half an hour and lots of fretting later, it closed and I won’t be taking it out for some time. Assuming I can get it open again… hmm…… I also got one CBR, which after this ordeal, I’m definitely not going to bother with. You have to bend the ring to get it to go in, bend it back, and somehow fit the ball in just right. Yea… nope. You can probably get your piercer to help if you are not too socially awkward / shy to ask or lazy to go.
Bonus thoughts about People:
- Family and friends
So I’m not supposed to swim for the first two weeks to avoid infections. When I tell people that I can’t swim because of the piercing, their usual response is “forever?!”. Which… is partly my failure at communication, and partly their readiness to believe outrageous things because a septum piercing just seems so out there to them. Calm down folks!
People in my social circles aren’t that exposed to body modification. I can tell that most people are not huge fans, though they have all been really nice about it, and I didn’t get even a fraction of the comments that I was prepared for. (There’s no need to tell me that my piercing is “… unique”, complete with that slight pause while you search for an adjective. come on.) I got the piercing because I personally really like the look of it, though I was aware that many of my friends would not like it. Well, they will get used to it (… I hope)
I’m pretty sure people have different expectations and first impressions of me because of my nose ring that may or may not be more accurate than what they would otherwise have had. That’s just something I have to live with, I guess. People will always be thinking things, and I can’t control that, so I might as well do whatever I want? 😛
I suppose I can flip it up as needed. Deciding when “needed” is will be a whole other topic of discussion.
People do stare at me occasionally. The other day someone very audibly sighed and was almost glaring at me while walking past, which was kinda weird haha. Also happened to be at the same place and time as a bunch of secondary school kids who had had less life experience and exposure to what is to them “weird”, and also pretty low social filters.
I find myself being nicer to people. I feel responsible for the image of people with piercings now, so I can’t just randomly be rude to people heh. This effect might fade as I get used to it, idk.
Update: Ha. And like a month after this I cut my hair pretty short and now making people uncomfortable is a natural fact of life, so like… whatevs, normies. HAHA. I do seem to be very “visibly queer” though; dumb stories in the next post. I’ll probably write about queer-coding and looking “alternative” somewhen in the future. Other than that, most people seem to be getting used to it, hooray.
Hey, look, I’m cool now! 😛