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Septum Piercing FAQ

Does it hurt?

Septum piercings are usually not a difficult piercing to sit through. The needle (and then jewelry) pass through the thin, soft piece of skin towards the tip of your nose, between the cartilage and the thicker, rigid skin below it. Most people describe it as a strange sensation, one that makes their eyes water and makes them feel like they need to sneeze, but not one that is especially painful.

Is it easy to hide?

Septum piercings are the easiest facial piercing to hide. If you wear a septum retainer, all you need to do to hide it is flip it up inside your nostrils. (The jewelry can sometimes be seen if someone is under you and looking directly into your nose, but who does that?) Retainers come in steel, titanium, niobium (in matte black), and even clear or colored glass—all of which are safe for healing.

Can I flip up a circular barbell and hide the piercing, like I can with a retainer?

While this may work for some people, if their nostrils are large enough and the jewelry is small enough, it doesn’t work for everyone, so discuss your options with your piercer. If you absolutely must hide it during the first two months it’s usually better to stick with a retainer.

When can I put in fancy jewelry?

It seems that every year the variety of high quality septum jewelry increases, as more and more jewelers make designs in gold and other precious metals with gemstones and ornate filigree designs. (For a taste, check out designs by Body Vision Los Angeles.) While most of these piercings are too busy to be used for initial piercings (since the setting can catch dirt and lymph and make cleaning difficult), they are just fine for fully healed septums. That said, it is best to give your piercing at least two months before changing jewelry, but afterward the possibilities are endless.

Is it an easy piercing to stretch?

Stretching your septum may make your eyes water, or make you sneeze, but it is usually not too difficult or too painful. However, stretching the piercing to larger sizes can become increasingly difficult as the jewelry starts to put more pressure on the hard cartilage in the nose. If you do get to that point and still want to stretch more, give your body more time in between stretches. As always, listen to your body.

Why does my piercing stink?

Your skin secretes natural oils and constantly sloughs off dead skin cells, and the skin on the inside of your piercing is no different. This discharge tends to collect around your piercing and on your jewelry, and while this happens with every piercing, it just tends to be a lot more noticeable when it’s right under your nose! Don’t fret, though: regular, thorough cleaning of your piercing and jewelry should take care of it.

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