How long until I can change my jewelry?

We would not recommend you change the jewelry for at least the first 6 months. Your piercing will take at least this long to be fully healed, and changing the jewelry before this time can result in irritating or tearing the piercing channel, increased risk of infection, scarring and/or difficulty reinserting jewelry. You may have that one friend who did it, but trust us; we see lots of screwed up piercings from people who tried. In the majority of cases it's bad news.

How long until I can leave the piercing empty?

Nostril piercings tend to close down very quickly. The inside of the piercing is a mucus membrane, which usually will not stay open without jewelry in it. We have seen fully healed (1+ years) nostril piercings shrink down within 10 minutes. For this reason, we suggest you always keep jewelry in your nostril piercing. If you need to hide it, try a clear acrylic retainer or small piece of clear thick fishing line (burn and flatten one end to melt into a disk). These are nearly impossible to see, and work great for sports and surgery too.

If you must leave the piercing empty, wait at least a year before trying. Then start with just a couple of minutes at a time and work your way up. Always be sure your hands, piercing and jewelry are clean when you attempt to reinsert jewelry. Using hot compresses on the inside and outside of your nostril can help relax tissue and ease reinsertion. Also, definitely lube up the jewelry (K-Y jelly or other water-based lube is best) before sliding it in. If you do annoy the piercing, soothe it afterwards with a warm saltwater soak. (See Aftercare section for details.)

How do I get the nostril screw out?

The first time you try to change your nostril screw will be weird and probably frustrating. Until you've done it once, you can't tell which way to turn the screw to get it out. Once you get a feel for it, taking it in and out will be as easy as your earrings, but the first time is a pain.

A few pieces of advice: Wait until your piercing is at least 6 months old, preferably longer. Taking it out too soon may cost you your piercing (or at the very least some pain). If at all possible, use a warm compress on the area first (just to make it easier the first time). Then, with clean hands, pull out on the nostril screw while twisting the piece away from your face. If you do not quickly see the curve of the screw coming out of the piercing (and feel some "give"), stop, and try turning the other way while pulling out. You may need to jiggle it a little as you pull, but you should soon see the curve turning out of the piercing as you twist the screw. To put it back in, just put the end in the hole, then turn the screw while pushing in. Voila!

[Yes, we know this explanation sounds complicated, but once you have done it, changing your jewelry will be second nature. The first time is hard, but after that you know what you’re doing. Good luck!]

Can I get the piercing wherever I want?

Traditional placement is in the crease of the nostril, which is the thinnest part of the cartilage and heals the fastest. To find the crease, look in the mirror and flare your nostrils. Almost anywhere in that bend will work, and most people have one spot in there that looks most flattering on them. You can pierce a little below the crease, although we would caution you not to pierce lower just to wear a smaller ring. If you put the piercing in an awkward spot to wear smaller jewelry, it will just look awkward, not discreet. Far better to get the piercing in a place that flatters your face, and adjust the jewelry accordingly. You can always get a ring that "just hugs" once the piercing is healed.

Why can't I get a really tight-fitting ring?

Even if you never see it, the nostril tissue is going to swell slightly after the piercing, and during healing. You need enough room on the jewelry to allow for this swelling, and to allow you to move the jewelry through the piercing during cleaning. If the jewelry is too tight, it will irritate the tissue, often resulting in pitting and scarring (which can be permanent). To have a perfectly healed piercing, allow your piercer to fit initial jewelry to you, and switch to something that "just fits" only once your piercing is fully healed. Never wear jewelry that is too tight.

Why does my nostril screw stick out?

Your first nostril screw will be bent to fit your healing piercing. This means that it is custom fit to your nostril, allowing a little extra room for swelling and cleaning. In the first day or so it may stick out a little on the outside. This usually solves itself with a couple days. Once the piercing is healed, you can have the jewelry rebent to fit you more closely.

You may also notice your nostril screw rotating down on the inside so that the curve shows on the inside of your nostril. This occurs because the initial piercing channel is slightly bigger than the nostril screw, so the jewelry moves easily in the hole and can turn down. Within 48 hours or so, the piercing usually tightens up enough to hold the nostril screw up and in place. If not, stop in to see your piercer. He/she can usually tighten the jewelry without removing it, so that it will stay in place better but still allow for healthy healing.

Why shouldn't I get my nose pierced with a gun? It's cheap!

It may be cheaper, but it can be more painful, and it tends to result in some nasty scarring and, very often, an infection.

Piercing guns cannot be sterilized, so there is often microspray of blood and body fluid in the gun from other people. This comes in contact with your jewelry and your piercing, and can result in everything from staph infections to hepatitis.

Furthermore, guns were not made for piercing cartilage. When they force an earring through your tissue with spring-loaded pressure, they can damage sensitive tissue and cause swelling and scarring. Since the jewelry they insert is too short for nostril tissue, it tends to become imbedded in the skin, again resulting in more swelling and scarring. (You may have seen people with a large sunken hole that the stud sits in. Not pretty.) Scars may look like a pit or large hole, or may become red or purple raised lumps (like a keloid). These scars can be permanent.

In addition to these drawbacks, putting a regular earring stud in the nostril causes a hygeine problem. If you leave the back on the jewelry, you have a perfect situation for trapping mucus, dust and bacteria around the piercing hole. Yuck. If you take the back off the stud, the earring can easily fall out, and nostrils tend to close very quickly, especially when new. Technically, what we call a no-win situation. Improve your odds; get pierced correctly.