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Fifteen Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Got My Nose Pierced

Updated on October 25, 2016

1. It Didn’t Hurt as Much as I Expected

But it did hurt. I thought it would be a sharp, searing pain. And it really wasn’t. Yes, it was a pinch and a twinge, but it was nothing as bad as I had imagined. Prepare yourself for the fact that a needle through your nostril isn’t pleasant, but don’t get too worked up over it. You’ll be happy to know it only hurts a little more than an ear piercing. The worst part is that it is right in your face, so you have to close your eyes to avoid looking at it.

A nose screw.
A nose screw.

2. There Are Multiple Types of Metal Piercings

If you’re like me, you saw the typical studs, like the nose studs that almost look like an L. Or perhaps you thought of having a hoop. Either way, you probably never heard of “nose screws.” I hadn’t heard of them either. They are also called curved nose studs, and they, unlike the straight nose studs, have a bit of a curve to the tail, so you have to turn them in order to put them in. It makes it harder for them to fall out by accident, but it also makes it harder—and more painful—to remove and insert them. I got one when my nose was first pierced, and when I took it out, if I hadn’t heard of them, I would have been lost as to why it wouldn’t come out. Ask your piercer what he or she is using to make sure that you are able to remove your nose stud.

3. You Might Act Like a Total Dork Afterwards

It’s okay, though. You’re still cool. Sort of. Just not as much. For me? Well, I didn’t realize that it bothered me because it hadn’t hurt too much, and I get tattoos all the time. Apparently, though, having my nose pierced pushed my brain over the edge. Instead of getting it pierced and walking out, I decided to get faint and feel like I was going to pass out. Luckily I listened to my body, and I told my piercer what was going on. He got me sitting down and grabbed a wet paper towel for me to put on my wrists and forehead. Then he grabbed me a sugary soda to drink. It helped – a lot. It felt much better after that, and in about 5 minutes, I was up and moving. (And I’m glad I said something – not even a month or so later, I got my blood drawn and did pass out, hurting my head in the process. Don’t mess with it if you feel faint; tell the person doing your piercing. You’ll be glad you did, even if it’s embarrassing at the moment.)

4. Yes, You Can Accidentally Pull the Piercing Out

And it hurts when you do it. When I read about it online, one of the blogs mentioned pulling out their piercing by accident and mentioned that it hurt. She said that was why she had gone to the nose screw. I laughed at that: How can you accidentally remove a piercing that’s firmly in your nostril? Yeah, I laughed until I did it, too. I’m not sure how other people did it, but for me, when the piercing was new, every once in a while, I’d feel like I had an itch on my nose. The stud, I’m sure. But my brain wouldn’t get that message to me quickly enough, and I’d raise a hand and rub the end of my nose. And…OUCH! The little gem would catch on the edge of my hand, and suddenly it would be hanging out and I’d be cursing up a storm because I had managed to do it again. Be careful, but realize it’s probably going to happen at least once or twice.

5. Sometimes Cleaning it Feels Like Waterboarding

When I got my nose pierced, the piercer told me that I needed to keep it clean. To do that, he said, I would need to wash it several times a day. But I can’t just wash it like a normal human being washing their face. That would be wrong. Instead, he said, I needed to fill up a little dixie cup with a saline solution, and then I should put my nose in the cup and maybe even blow some bubbles into it. I should hold it in there for about 60 seconds. Do that a few times a day, he said, and it would keep it nice and clean, and it shouldn’t get infected. So I did it. And, wow. I felt like I was being waterboarded. I quickly discovered that having a little paper cup on my nose didn’t tell my brain that I needed to stop breathing through my nose, and when I would blow bubbles, the water would go up the other side of my nose, and my nostrils would burn with the saline. I finally figured out that it wasn’t that good to blow bubbles (was the guy putting me on when he said it?), and the best way that I did it was to simply hold the mostly-full cup up on my nose while I leaned down into it. Then I breathed through my mouth while I counted one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi—up to sixty-Mississippi—when I’d be able to drop the cup and breathe like a normal human beaning.

Nose screws come in different types of metal.
Nose screws come in different types of metal.

6. Some People Are Allergic or Sensitive to Metal

I started out with titanium, and it worked great. No reaction to it whatsoever. I bought a cheaper piece to replace it with, and that was fine with me, too. There are plenty of options, including nickel coated with various metals, nickel, and even silver or gold. If you’re allergic to nickel in any form, I suggest not even trying the pieces that have a nickel base. A friend got a different piercing, and she swapped out to some inexpensive studs. Needless to say, anytime she would put them in, within a day or less, her piercing would turn red and start getting puss. Unattractive to say the least, and also very uncomfortable for her. Don’t go cheap with metal that you’re using in your body. Save up if you have to, but don’t skimp.

7. How to Blow my Nose

It’s something you learned how to do in kindergarten or earlier, but when you pierce your nose, you have to learn it all over again. While the piercing is still healing, it hurts an awful lot to push against it when you are holding a tissue there. And I discovered pretty quickly that one of the bad things is that you will wind up with some boogers caught on the inside of the piercing. The little “leg” in there will get all sorts of nastiness on it, and for me at least, during allergy season, that meant that I’d wind up with gunk on my piercing. One of the easiest ways to deal with it, when it got itchy, was to simply rinse it out again like I was cleaning it from the initial piercing, and then blow my nose like normal. Soft tissues are a necessity!

8. Avoid Playing With it

For real! It’s really, really, really tempting to twist it or touch it or check it to make sure it’s still there. Don’t do it. It hurts, and it’s not good for it. I played with it when I first got it, and while it was fine for the first week or so, it actually started bleeding after that because I kept messing up the scab. It meant that I had to go ahead and start treating it with diluted tea tree oil (which worked great), but it also meant that I had to wait that much longer for it to heal. Plus it looks pretty gross when you have a ring of blood around a piercing. Even if other people didn’t know or couldn’t tell that it was blood, I could, and it was not fun.

9. It Doesn’t Always Show up in Pictures

Unless you take a super close-up. In which case, be prepared for a lot of really intense scrutiny of your nose. When I first got my piercing, I took a picture and put it up on my Facebook page. I thought that it would be so obvious. But it’s not. The initial stud was pretty small, and it was nice and shiny, but in a simple picture from a distance, it’s not immediately obvious. That’s good and bad—if you want to show it off, it can be difficult. But if you’re trying to take “professional” pictures, it won’t really damage your look. That said, you can definitely get less or more noticeable ones to make sure that you’re ready to change it up whenever you need to change the look.

10. People Will Ask About it

Be ready to answer questions. Personally, I prefer to lie. When someone comes up with a brilliant question like, “Did you get your nose pierced?” I just say, “no.” I don’t explain. I don’t ask why. I don’t say anything else—just “no.” It’s awesome to watch someone get confused. Of course, if you actually do want to talk about it, that’s cool, too. I’ve had some conversations with other pierced people, and we will talk about where we buy our studs and where we got our piercings. One woman was thinking about doing a nostril piercing because she already had her septum pierced, and she wanted to know if it was painful (see answer above.) Just like with tattoos, it can be fun to talk about what you’ve pierced and why.

11. Swapping it Out for a Different Stud Can Hurt

You are pushing folded metal through a small hole in your cartilage, after all. This is especially true when you have a nose screw in. I was surprised at how much it hurt to swap out—I thought it would be like changing out an earring. Nope. The nose is much more sensitive than an earlobe, so you will definitely feel the nose stud going out and the new one going in. That said, the easiest way to make it less painful and easier on you is to make sure things are well lubricated. Make sure to fully wash the new stud with antibacterial soap and water, then use some saline solution on both your nose and the stud. It’ll slide in much more easily.

How to Change a Nose Piercing Stud

12. People Will Judge You

But it’s not always bad. Some people will think it’s trendy or cool. Others will see it as a sign of civilization’s decay. Be ready for both. Accept the compliments and ignore the insults.

13. Picking Your Nose Just Got Harder!

I know, I know—no one *really* picks their nose, right? But that goes counter to what I see (and do) in my car. We all know that sometimes picking a nose is where it’s at. I’m not implying that we all sit around and do it non-stop, but there are too many boogers lying around for them all to be accidents. (One of my pop-pop’s favorite jokes was “Why are a gorilla’s nostrils so big?” “Because his fingers are so big!” Just saying.)

14. Zits Hurt

For those of us who are still unlucky enough to suffer from acne, get ready to suffer more. There’s nothing quite like getting a piercing and then immediately getting a zit right next to it. Besides the fact that it hurts all on its own, now you also have the pain from the piercing near the zit because the skin is swelling up. On top of that, you can’t really try to pop the zit because the piercing is so close that it will rub up against it or possibly cause it to pop before it’s ready. And, of course, you have to be careful because you don’t want to use anything on the zit that might irritate the piercing—especially when it’s new—and you have to be careful when you wash it. All in all, not what I would call a fun time.

15. If You Have to Take it Out, it May Close Up

I had to take it out not quite two months after it was pierced. I thought, and hoped, that would be long enough. And it almost was. But after having to keep it out for a week, the outside piercing (on the nostril) was still open, but the piercing inside my nose healed up pretty quickly. I guess that the skin inside was just sensitive enough that it wanted to be done with it before I was. A few people suggested that I just go ahead and force one of the studs through it. But since I don’t like blood or unnecessary pain, I decided it was far more worthwhile to pay someone else to do it with a proper piercing needle and sterilization.


Do you have any body piercings?

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    • profile image

      Maddy 2 weeks ago

      I'm 14 in a couple of weeks and I got my nose done last weekend, I cant even feel it anymore, it hurt a little more that a needle and I cried a bit (I have basically no pain tolerance) but now my helix hurts more than my nose and that's only when I clean it (for me cleaning it hurts like hell)but anyway I would compare it to a little more than a needle.

    • profile image

      Naza 2 weeks ago

      I'm planning on getting a a septum piercing and I was wondering how much I should clean my nose before going to get the piercing? I have rather small nostrils but with the allergy season going on things can get nasty. I do keep my nostrils clean but I don't want to go to a piercer only let them see something I didn't notice.

    • profile image

      Hi 2 weeks ago

      I like doing this article bc it's helps me and informs me of what can happen if and when I get my nose piercing

    • profile image

      Caidance 3 weeks ago

      I'm 14 and I want to get a hoop piercing and I'm trying to find something to compare the pain to. I was kinda imagining it feeling like giving your blood (you know the getting stabbed by the needle part anyways.) Is that somewhat what it feels like?

    • profile image

      holly summers 3 weeks ago

      im only 12 and i just got a nose peircing. it hurt a bit but its really worth all the pain.

      im so happy that i did it because it made me cool at school even though i got 1 hour detention!

    • profile image

      Meep 5 weeks ago

      It's not a zit. When you get a piercing the skin that has been pierced has to go somewhere and so it goes around the piercing place.

    • profile image

      Niamh 6 weeks ago

      I so agree with the not hurting part. I kept getting told that it would hurt and I'm only 15 and got it done for my birthday (it was after my birthday) on Sunday and I was surprised that it didn't hurt. I would say for me it was a 4 out of 10.

      But thank you this did help with the studs and rings part about taking them out anduring putting them in.

    • profile image

      Linda 7 weeks ago

      Thank you. This was really helpful

    • profile image

      Baily 7 weeks ago

      Thank you so much. This actually helped me. I haven't gotten my nose pierced just yet, but I am getting it sometime this week. And, I was reading about it. This is really interesting information. I was wondering if you have something like this for a belly button piercing?

    • profile image

      Angela 8 weeks ago

      I guess I've just been lucky but my nose piercing was not a big deal at all. It obviously hurt a little but caused more of a stinging/need to sneeze feeling. I've read a lot about this saline solution method for cleaning piercings but the (very experienced) piercer I went to told me to wash it once a day with antibacterial soap and then disinfect with bactine three times a day and that worked great for me. I never had any swelling/redness after the first day or so and all soreness had pretty disappeared in a week. This caused me to forget about it and yank it out a couple of times, which definitely sucked but other than that no issues at all. He also told me to wait at least 4-6 weeks before changing the ring and 8 months to a year before removing it at all. I think the crucial factors are where you get your piercing, who does it, and how well you clean it after. A facial piercing in a sensitive area is going to need recovery time.

    • profile image

      kyla 2 months ago

      thanks !!

    • profile image

      Szr 2 months ago

      Hi. I got my nose pierced Friday and I Am really worried, the lady didn't gave Mr much info about after care. She provided me a saline solutionin tube and got told to put a drop or two twice a day outside my nose where the piercing is. She told me not to touch and never told Mr about cleaning it. Now I Am freaking out and very scared about infections etc... Is there any advice you can give me please? I don't really want to bother my doctor for this, I think it will be quite rude not really a medical emergency. Thanks!

    • KatSanger profile image

      Katherine Sanger 3 months ago from Texas


      It really depends on the person. I thought it just felt like a sharp pinch, but my sister couldn't stop cursing because she was in so much pain. I also have tattoos, and I've only found a few spots that I really consider painful. I would say go ahead and try it - it is over super fast if you have a good piercer, and you'll be happy you did it. :)

    • profile image

      Angelina 3 months ago

      I got my nose pierced a week and 3 days ago although yesterday it came out when I was washing my face, didn't hurt and I can't put it back in so I am going to my piercer tomorrow. I heard it hurts to get it repierced although I am not afraid one bit! I heard the first time getting it pierced hurts too but I didn't feel a thing! Before I got it pierced I was even pinching my nose to get a sense of how much it would hurt and pintching my nose actually hurt more because actually getting it pierced is so fast. So I guess it depends on the person

    • profile image

      anju369s 3 months ago

      I am a male. I am keen interesting in nose piercing. I expect your suggestions

    • profile image

      Mandy 3 months ago

      I found that I had a sneezing fit after the needle was put through and despite my best efforts my eyes got watey (thankfully the piercer said that's common).

      The most annoying thing I wish I'd known is that it takes a day or so for you to adjust to seeing it on your nose. I was often distracted by the stud catching the light and sparkling...more than once I was told to stop doing the cross-eye thing lol.

    • profile image

      Heather 3 months ago

      My nose is what I'm interested in getting next! I just had a dermal put in my chest. Thanks for the wonderful info

    • profile image

      Michelly 3 months ago

      Hi . I'm just wondering does it really hurt or not as much .? My friend got hurts and she said at end it hurt little bit for her but idk what to believe because people say no it don't then they say yes it does so I'm wondering does it .? ?,

    • KatSanger profile image

      Katherine Sanger 4 months ago from Texas


      Mine would often get caught/pulled out a bit when I first got it. As long as it doesn't bleed or hurt too much, I would give it more time. You can also get one of the studs with the "twist" to keep it in.

    • profile image

      Isabella 4 months ago

      Hi I have a question, every day I have to clean my peirsing and when I do, it feels like I just got it ripped out. It doesn't bleed and I have to move it a lot

    • profile image

      Barbara 4 months ago

      I'm 70 and considering a nose piercing,

      being a 'nasty woman'

    • KatSanger profile image

      Katherine Sanger 4 months ago from Texas

      Nat Bloom - Mine didn't itch, actually. I avoided cleaning it with soap at first (mostly because it hurt), and what I did was to just use the salt water to cleanse it.

    • profile image

      Nat bloom 4 months ago

      I am contemplating getting my nose pierced (very lower nostril).

      The only thing I am wondering about is washing my face everyday. How should or would I go about that? Would I just avoid the pierced area and wash the rest of my face as usual?

      And if it does itch...should I just soak a cotton ball with sss or h2ocean and apply it to the pierced area?


    • KatSanger profile image

      Katherine Sanger 4 months ago from Texas

      When it comes to healing, everyone is different. For me, it took about a month. But it was still a little uncomfortable when I accidentally smacked it for about six weeks. :)

    • profile image

      Am 4 months ago

      How long does it take to heal?

    • profile image

      Amber Garrett 4 months ago

      Actually I didn't twist my nose ring for a very long time and for the longest time my nose ring didnt heal little do you know it helps to twist it because it is easier for it to heal

    • jtrader profile image

      jtrader 5 months ago

      People don't remember about those things.

    • profile image

      Anonymous 5 months ago

      I did it myself and people freaked out

    • KatSanger profile image

      Katherine Sanger 5 months ago from Texas

      Hi Angie,

      It's really not much different than ear piercing in one sense - you can still take it out and have it heal up. If you daughter (and you) really understand the choice, I personally don't see why it would be a problem as long as she knows the care it will require.

    • profile image

      daisy 5 months ago

      i want my nose pierced but i have no idea how much it will hurt??? ive got my helix pierced and i didnt feel likd that hurt at all.

    • profile image

      Daniella 5 months ago

      This is really cool, I just got one and this really helped me understand what will happen.

    • profile image

      Savanah 6 months ago

      I got mine done last year for my birthday. I am 14 and no one really seemed to have a problem with it.

    • profile image

      Angie 6 months ago

      My 11 year old daughter wants one! I feel she is too young !!

      Please advise

    • profile image

      Mary 6 months ago

      Just got my nose pierced he said he used a bigger need to make it easy will shrink to the size of the stud

    • profile image

      Dr AT Kannan 6 months ago

      I found this article well written and I would like to add that in India specially in south India there are nose studs which are screw able with or without stones usually diamond stones called be sari mookuthi with number of stones being 1 to 14 and commonly women wear it and occasionally men have it.

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 13 months ago

      This was a fun well written hub. I don't have any piercings, I do find them interesting and sometimes quite pretty.

    • profile image

      daviddonkor70 13 months ago

      wow. really good interesting hub,although i won't be trying a nose pierce...sounds painful.

    • TessSchlesinger profile image

      Tessa Schlesinger 13 months ago from South Africa

      I guess I'm old school. I think they're hideous and I always wonder why people would do that to themselves. Looking for attention that they don't have? A rebellion against society?

    • Alexis Cogwell profile image

      Ashley Cogdill 13 months ago from Indiana/Chicagoland

      Love it! I LoL'd at a few items in you list. :)

    • modernalchemyst profile image

      Josephine 13 months ago from New England

      Excellent Hub, very informative! I have a lip piercing I recently removed and I know the information was out there, but I didn't realize that the hole would be so much more noticeable than closed ear piercings. And yes, people will ask you about it. constantly.

    • profile image

      2 player games 13 months ago

      Very interesting and very good.thanks for sharing...

    • Linda Robinson60 profile image

      Linda Robinson 13 months ago from Cicero, New York

      Hey Katherine exceptional writing and very essential news and details for anyone considering to possibly have their noise pierced, intelligent and well-written content so that anyone can definitely make the right decision. Looking ahead to reading more of your excellent hubs. Linda

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 13 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Very interesting and well written hub Katherine. I am sure this will be very helpful to anyone contemplating getting their nose pierced.

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