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