Nose Piercing Healing Issues

Healing and Aftercare Advice

This article is for people who already have their noses pierced and think they are having some sort of healing issue or other problem. If you don't have your nose pierced yet, "All About Nose Piercings" has better information for you.

Please note, if you just got your nose pierced, it perfectly normal for it to be red, swollen, tender, and maybe even bleeding a little. I mean, you just got a sharp object shoved through part of your nostril; that sort of reaction is to be expected.

If you are worried that something about the piercing wasn't done right, go back and see your piercer. After all, it's his or her work. If you are really worried you have an infection, go and see a doctor. They are the best at recognizing that sort of thing.

If you are looking for other information, you may find it below. The table of contents below offers shortcuts to specific topics.

Nostril Stud

A simple stud worn in a nostril piercing.  The bead on the outside has to be large enough that it doesn't sink down into the piercing itself.
A simple stud worn in a nostril piercing. The bead on the outside has to be large enough that it doesn't sink down into the piercing itself.

Nose Ring Cleaning

Jewelry and Fit Problems

Here are a whole range of problems that people have with brand new nose piercings that are related to their choice of jewelry. All of these can be avoided if you pick a hoop or ring to start with and make sure it is gold or surgical steel.

Too tight a fit: Many nose studs, especially those from the evil piercing guns, are very short and fit too tightly on the nostril. The initial swelling that follows a piercing can make them sink deeply into the nose, cutting off air to the healing piercing and making it impossible to clean properly. This can add to the chances of forming scar tissue (bumps) or getting an infection.

No backing: I get emails frequently from people who put a backless stud into a nose piercing and then wrote asking for help after the jewelry fell out or was pulled out accidentally. The moral of the story here is that jewelry without a backing often doesn't stay in place. Initially it might, especially if the new piercing is swollen, as that can cause the jewelry to fit very tightly, but once that goes down, backless studs can easily drop out, especially at night when you are asleep.

Black marks: There's really only one situation that causes this, and it's wearing sterling silver in a healing nose. The silver tarnishes (that's the black), and that tarnish rubs into the healing skin, leaving a stain that will be in the skin forever. I believe the only way you'd get rid of this would be to see a dermatologist who might have some method for removing the stained skin, but you'd probably have to give up the piercing to be able to heal the wound from the skin procedure.

How To Change A Nose Ring

Help, My Jewelry Is Disappearing into My Nose!

If you have a brand-new nose piercing, and the jewelry has sunken into it or even one end has vanished inside it, it means you picked a poorly-trained body piercer to do your nose. Sad but true.

Pierced noses swell up, and the size of the piercing channel is not stable. Back when I first started getting pierced in the late 1980s, body piercers seemed to know this. Now, many people doing nose piercings have almost no training, and it's literally hurting the customers.

The jewelry that you start out with for a new pierced nose should not be the smallest you can get.

This is why a reputable piercer will refuse to put in a teeny stud and why ring-style jewelry is really recommended to start. This prevents the jewelry from being pulled inside the piercing. Once your nose has healed (3 months later) then you can re-evaluate the size of the piercing and pick smaller jewelry.

If you have a stud that is disappearing into the piercing, you need to go back to where you got pierced and have them switch the jewelry to be something with a longer post and with a larger outside bead, or better yet, get a proper nose ring.

Changing Corkscrew Jewelry

Bumps, Keloids, and Scarring

If there's one question I get asked more than any other, it's about bumps, keloids, and scar tissue. As the popularity of nose piercing has spread, unfortunately so has the number of piercers who are not correctly trained on how to pierce properly (no ear piercing guns!), fit jewelry (rings really are best to start with), or care for healing noses (many piercers tell people they are just like ears, but they aren't).

What the heck is a keloid, anyway? A keloid is scar tissue that grows beyond the borders of the original wound, creating a bump. These bumps of scar tissues sometimes appear right next to people's nose piercings if there was a lot of trauma during piercing, if the starter jewelry has too tight of a fit, or if they are genetically predisposed to forming keloids. The bumps can start to show right away, or they might suddenly appear days or weeks later. It's not uncommon for them to show up after a snag or following a painful jewelry change.

If it's not a pimple don't pop it!

And if a bump appears next to a new piercing, never assume it's a pimple.

It would seem a lot of teens think that any bump that forms on their faces is meant to be popped. Pimples are pores that are blocked by a build-up of dirt and skin oils. They are frequently red from inflammation, or white as the oils build up into a head. The bumps that form next to nose piercings are very often not pimples, and the best evidence is that they bleed when squeezed.

If this happens, do not ever do it again! Apply some anti-bacterial ointment to the wound. If the bump is still there once the wound heals, start treating it as a keloid, which is the most common form of scar tissue that forms alongside nose piercings, and leave it alone.

How to Recognize an Infection

The tissue trauma of getting a nose piercing causes some redness, tenderness, and swelling, which may not show up until a day or two after the initial piercing. Being sore and a little red after getting a nose piercing is completely normal.

It's when you have all of the following symptoms that you most likely have a problem.

Infections are most-often characterized by:

  • Increasing redness
  • Increasing tenderness and pain
  • Increasing swelling
  • Discharge that is yellowish or greenish in color

To treat an infection, you need to keep the piercing clean (this includes your hands that touch it and the pillowcase you sleep on!) and apply an anti-bacterial treatment (ointment or cream) to kill the infection.

If you think you have an infection, you should really go back to see your piercer again or go see a doctor! I am not a medical professional and cannot tell you for sure if you have an infection or not based on a comment or description!

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Nose Piercing Healing Questions and Comments 558 comments

relache profile image

relache 2 weeks ago from Seattle, WA Author

Aranxa, what you described to me was you having a series of experiences over the course of several weeks which were nothing but trauma and irritation to an unhealed nose piercing. Repeatedly. While not maintaining a regular, steady care routine. Unfortunately, what you still have is a piercing that may still be unhealed in the center, which may be developing scar tissue on the outside. You have to get an experienced piercer to look at your nose, I can't guess from half a world away, AND you need to realize that healing a piercing is not effortless, it is a deep tissue wound, a puncture, not a scratch on the skin surface. You may have to change your entire lifestyle around the piercing in order to heal it, or it may be better for you to not have a nose piercing. But I can't make that decision for you, anymore than I can stop you trying a rapid succession of healing remedies inconsistently and tell you what is best for your situation. Get genuine medical advice on your nose, develop a gentle care routine based on that advice, and then for three or four months take consistent care of your nose and stop putting it in deliberately traumatic situations that slow down or stop healing.

Aranxa 3 weeks ago

Hi, I really need some help. I got my nostril pierced almost two months ago (August 9th, 18g, L shape, I believe surgical steel, not sure at this point). About three weeks after, I went swimming (bad idea). I didn't know about bumps at the time, so I popped what I thought was a pimple and started applying tea tree oil. When it got worse and after I did some research, I realized I shouldn't have done any of those things, so I stopped. Ever since, I've been doing hot compresses with saline, sometimes with chamomile tea and for a time I was applying aspirin paste overnight. However, in the time since the bump came up, I had a trip on a cruise (beach, sunblock and sun burn). I tried to care for it the best I could but it was not getting better. Right as my trip ended I got a horrible cold (sneezing, runny nose AF) and three days ago I had to move to France for work. I could never reach my piercer while I was still home, and now I have a big, red, raw looking bump that doesn't seem to get any better; I'm in France, I don't speak French, I don't know where to go. The internet says to leave it alone, do hot compresses, dip it in saline, do tea tree oil, don't do tea tree oil, put antibiotic cream, don't put cream on it, change the jewelry, don't change it... I'm getting a lot of anxiety out of this, please help me.

relache profile image

relache 5 weeks ago from Seattle, WA Author

Tal, adverse reactions do often seem just like an infection, and are as uncomfortable. There's no way to tell the actual metal quality of something as cheaply made as jewelry from Claire's, but large amounts of nickel are often present in bad sterling and it irritates many wearers horribly. Look for jewelry that is surgical-grade stainless steel for a silver look that will be body-compatible for decades.

tal 5 weeks ago

Hi, I got my nose pierced a few months ago and had no problems with it until I changed it to a hoop which I brought from Claire's it's sterling silver and I keep on getting infections I am wondering if the metal in which it's made of is causing these infections is this possible ? I am planning on changing back to a stud very soon because it's painful even when there appears to be no infection

relache profile image

relache 6 weeks ago from Seattle, WA Author

Arielle, I have no way of knowing the future or if anything will happen to your piercing.

relache profile image

relache 6 weeks ago from Seattle, WA Author

Emma, I can only guess because I can't see your nose myself but most likely yes.

Arielle 6 weeks ago

I got my new nose piercing 6 weeks ago and the person who did it for me said that after 6 weeks, I can remove the stud and replace it with a new piercing. I got an infection sadly and I went to the doctors and got some antibiotics and cream. The antibiotics are finished but I still have the cream. I changed the stud and replaced it with a new one, it is small. Will anything happen to my nose piercing ? I'm so worried.

relache profile image

relache 7 weeks ago from Seattle, WA Author

Isabelle, the repeated trauma is what is continually causing scar tissue (a keloid), to form. You may need to change to jewelry which can't be pushed into the piercing so much if you can't seem to stop having accidents.

relache profile image

relache 7 weeks ago from Seattle, WA Author

Kelsey, from over the Internet, I can't tell whether you are having an infection or a metal reaction either.

relache profile image

relache 7 weeks ago from Seattle, WA Author

Whisper, my own opinion is that jewelry which can sink into a piercing to the point it feels gone is an issue. Whether you get larger or a different style of jewelry is best decided with an in-person visit to a reputable piercer who can see you piercing and fit something properly.

relache profile image

relache 8 weeks ago from Seattle, WA Author

Rubi, the issue here is not healing your nose, it's whether or not your boss is going to allow your nose ring, and people have to settle these workplace problems for themselves. Suffice to say, nothing you are suggesting, both covering your nose or putting jewelry in and out daily is going to help your nose heal at all.

Emma 2 months ago

I got my nose pierced a few days ago and it seems to be coming out slightly and I have read up to just try and push it back in but it's not going back is it because I haven't got a back on it?

Kelsey 2 months ago

Hi, I got my nostril pierced about a week ago and I've been cleaning it about 2-3 times a day with salt water. Yesterday, I started noticing pain and tenderness in my nose and it is very red on the inside of my nose surrounding the jewelry. The outside looks fine but the inside is bright red and swollen. I'm trying to figure out whether it's an infection or if I'm having a reaction to the jewelry. Any advice would be helpful! Thanks

Isabelle 3 months ago

So I got my nose pierced in February and changed it 3 weeks ago to a 24kt gold stud but then went on an airplane and got a keloid... I'm guessing because I messed with it on the plane and probably got bacteria on it. However, I've been proactive about doing salt water soaks but I think I pushed on my nose stud too hard with the salt water soaks and made my hole bigger and i keep on, by accident, pushing the stud inside through the hole making another keloid (it's like a never ending cycle) and I've been dealing with all this for 3 weeks now. I just put on equate triple antibiotic in hopes to make it heal a little quicker..... Any advice?

Rubi 3 months ago

Hi, I got my nose pierced about 5 days ago. My employer didn't like the idea that I had one despite the fact I putting a bandaid on. We have daily 15 mins meeting before work and about 30 mins before the end of the day. Can I take it out for that time of the meetings and put it back in everyday?

Whisper 3 months ago

I got my nose pierced yesterday and had no pain what so ever. Most times I don't even notice it's there. I was in the shower and I really didn't even remember having the piercing. So for whatever reason I rubbed my nose kinda hard and it instantly felt weird. I felt and the stud was gone after a minute of panicking trying to find it I realized I had pushed it into my nose. It wasn't all the way through and I was able to push it back out. Should I be worried this will cause issues?

relache profile image

relache 5 months ago from Seattle, WA Author

Jo, in the end, many people with new nose piercings never have a definitive CSI moment where they are able to figure out exactly what happened to their piercing while they were asleep. Because the nose flexes and jewelry does not, anything from snagging to rubbing or bumping or any adjective you can think of might have happened. The cleanup is annoying but it's also a fact of healing some piercings for some people. You have to try and not sleep on the piercing, which I know sounds impossible, but thinking that a lot before you go to bed really does have a helpful effect the same way telling yourself you will remember your dreams really does work for that to.

Jo 5 months ago

I got my nose pierced two days ago and it's a stud. I know it's not been long but I was rather alarmed to wake up in the middle of the night with blood all over my face, it bled a lot when I got it pierced and it was a similar amount of blood. Could I have possibly bashed my nose when sleeping to cause this or is that normal to happen? I know they take long to heal but I didn't expect it to bleed as much now

relache profile image

relache 5 months ago from Seattle, WA Author

Chelsey, if the skin of your face is suddenly peeling in large areas for unknown reasons, you need to go see a doctor immediately.

relache profile image

relache 5 months ago from Seattle, WA Author

Amanda, light green color indicates some sort of infection, so not only should you be cleaning it like you are, you should daub a little antibacterial ointment on it. The sunburn may have led to he piercing getting a skin break, and if you were swimming or sweating p, it's not too hard to get something in there.

Chelsey 5 months ago

Hi I have a question I got my nose pierced about three weeks ago. I got a hoop done on my left side of nose and the skin around it is peeling. Also the same side of my face skin is peeling also my lips and was wondering if it's dry skin or a allergic reaction. Also it bleeds when moved and still a little swollen.

Amanda 5 months ago

I had my nose pierced almost three months ago, and everything was great til I got a little sun burnt then ever since its been red a little sore and clear stuff comes out when I mess with it. I clean it about 3x a day and when clear stuff dries to ring it's light green crusty. I was cleaning it tonight getting ready for bed with a q-tip covered in bactine (piercers suggestion) and while cleaning from inside almost pulled stud all the way into my nose! I had to shove it back out. Should I keep doing what I'm doing and wait another 3 months for full heal now! Any suggestions. The clear stuff and soreness has been going on for about two weeks now!

relache profile image

relache 5 months ago from Seattle, WA Author

Julian, my Hub lists what I feel is the best healing times (3 months) and describes what jewelry I feel is best, so for you to write to me and ask what you should do, I think you need to look at the piercing, evaluate how it feels and do what you think is best. You are the one living with the piercing, you best know what will work for you.

relache profile image

relache 5 months ago from Seattle, WA Author

Sarah, I do not know if it is "normal" but it is reported by a lot of people after they have done the same thing.

JulianJ profile image

JulianJ 5 months ago

Hello, kind of a long story but 4 weeks ago I got my nose pierced for the first time and it's a studded one. After 3 days it sunk a little bit into my nose so that it was leveled with my skin. It wasn't too bad, but I went back to my piercer right away and he put in a long bar. He said I had a little tear so he told me to come back in a couple weeks and he would change it into a short bar again. It has been 3 weeks now since he changed it and I called the place and they said it is my choice if i want to change it or not. My piercer told me to come back in a couple weeks to get a tighter one because the long bar is a little loose on me. Im afraid it will sink again if I change it back so I'm not sure if I should leave the long bar or go back and change to a short one again? What's the difference? The short one was like a loop shaped, U shaped, and the long bar is L shaped. It's disgusting but boogers gets stuck to it but it is easy to clean. It moves a little but not so bad. If i don't change it what would happen if i keep the long bar in? Thank you for your time.

Sarah 5 months ago

I changed my sliver stud to a plastic retainer is it normal to be sore?

relache profile image

relache 6 months ago from Seattle, WA Author

Desiree, newly-pierced noses are often a lot sore.

relache profile image

relache 6 months ago from Seattle, WA Author

Ush, just because something looks like sterling silver doesn't necessarily mean it is pure sterling silver. Lots of people react to lower grade silver that contains a lot of nickel, which is a less valuable but silver-colored metal. Some people scratch or hurt their piercing in the changeover, and there's no way for me to really tell what's happening. Go see a piercer if you are really stuck, after all that's their job to help with all this.

Desiree 6 months ago

i recently had my nose pierced, about a week and two days now, i finally way able to move it a little, i move it from time to time now-now its a little sore today(April 19).

ush 6 months ago

Hi. I got my nose re pierced 1 year ago. I took very good care of it and I had assumed it had healed so a 1.5 weeks ago I changed my stud to a sterling silver hoop. I'm afraid it pretty cheap but it caused me to get a small bump a few days later. I started my sea salt soaks and it got very small on about tuesday (there was no pus or blood) but a day or two later it got really big again. This morning it was bigger and there was pus and blood. I think my nose is rejecting the sterling silver and on top of that its infected. I try not to touch the hoop but sometimes i cant help it and i move around alot when I sleep. I know you aren't supposed to take the jewellery out but I'm considering changing it back to the stud. Im scared to do this because I know it might make the infection worse and also because the hoop i put in is 22 gauge and the stud I had in before was 18 or 20 gauge. I am continuing the sea salt soaks because they have always helped my nose bumps. Could you please give me some advice on what to do?

relache profile image

relache 6 months ago from Seattle, WA Author

Rose, whether or not you change your nose jewelry is entirely your decision. Good luck!

Rose 6 months ago

It's been 3 months today should I change my nose piercing I never had problems no bumps no infections nothing. I still clean it even if I do Change it

relache profile image

relache 6 months ago from Seattle, WA Author

Jan, if you want to abandon the piercing and have it heal shut, taking out the jewelry will do that. I have no idea why your nose suddenly developed a reaction, especially as you have told the story. Piercings can react due to physical damage (snagging or getting bumped), as well as changes your overall health. Carefully evaluate if you think something happened to the piercing itself or if there has been any recent big changes in your health.

Jan 6 months ago

My nose piercing is about 3 years old and I'v enever had a problem with it until about a week ago. It's crusty and then red when the crust falls off. I've been doing sea salt soaks, should I take the stud out?

relache profile image

relache 6 months ago from Seattle, WA Author

Maghi, I have a device called a wire gauge, and it is for measuring jewelry. That is how I know what size all my different piercings and their jewelry are. If you don't want to buy one yourself, you should be able to go to a piercing place and have them measure what is in your nose and the new jewelry. That way you would know for sure.

relache profile image

relache 6 months ago from Seattle, WA Author

Michaela, you sound like you have a nostril screw and want the curl to stay unseen. As look as that part is inside your nose but outside the piercing, any position that works for you inside your nose is fine.

relache profile image

relache 6 months ago from Seattle, WA Author

Annie, you say that you had a struggle getting your old nose ring out, so I would guess that's most likely that's why your nose is sore. I am in no position to truly be able to recognize if one reason or another is the cause here.

relache profile image

relache 6 months ago from Seattle, WA Author

Jennie, nose screws have a half curl of metal set perpendicularly to a short post, and the half curl remains outside the piercing. If you can't find the other end inside your nose, you should go back to your piercer and find out what is wrong.

maghi 6 months ago

hello i got my nostril piercing 3 months ago its completely healed as my pierce said. i was going to change yesterday it but i didn't and today when i wake up my nose is paining me and is red and it looks like the hole is bigger then before what sure i do so the hole will get smaller like before am using water and sea salt but every time am putting water on it the hole is getting bigger. and plz i want to know how should i know the size of the ring am wearing now my piercer is saying 20 gaug i bought the 20 but it looks smaller then the one am wearing . thx in advance

relache profile image

relache 6 months ago from Seattle, WA Author

Natalie, I have never met a job manager yet who couldn't see a piercing with clear jewelry. If you decide to keep switching jewelry while trying to heal your nose, you will have problems. There is no solution where you do not irritate the piercing by your actions.

Michaela 6 months ago

So the end of my nose stud is an s shape, and it would stick out occasionally if I would blow my nose too much, (which makes sense) so I took a q-tip and pushed it back up my nose. Is it possible I could have pushed it back to far? Thanks! I'm too knew at this

Annie 6 months ago

Hi, I recently my nose ring out and, now it's incredibly sore, I don't know if it is because of the struggle of getting the previous hoop out, or it's the hoop on my nose now (whether it's me having a allergic reaction or not) should I wait it out? Or switch it back to my original piercing I got my nose pierced with?

Jennie 6 months ago

I had my nose pierced with a stud a week ago. I am trying so hard not to touch it however I can't see or feel the other end of the stud, inside the nose. I don't think I'm swollen anymore and was wondering if I should be able to see/feel the end inside my nose. My husband looked and couldn't see it either. I believe it was pierced with a nose screw.

Natalie 6 months ago

Hi i got my nose piercing 4 weeks ago and i currently got a job that tells me i cant wear a nose piercing i went to my piercer to get a clear filler for when i work but my last shift i changed it and i thought i got a pimple close to my piercing tried to pop it and blood came out im not sure what it is but any ideas for having to switch out my piercing for work? Im scared i might get a keliod

relache profile image

relache 6 months ago from Seattle, WA Author

Rachel, I had a keloid on an ear piercing that went away after three months of applying tea tree oil twice daily. I had to dilute it to prevent skin burns but it got rid of all the thickened tissue on and in my ear. It has not returned, I did this twenty years ago.

relache profile image

relache 6 months ago from Seattle, WA Author

Lily, I can't give a specific cause, but many people who do a jewelry change after a long time often report all sorts of reactions. I think it can be from the change in metal, even if a 'good' metal, or from having the basic shape of the piercing change slightly from the different jewelry.

relache profile image

relache 7 months ago from Seattle, WA Author

Jaff, when you join the military, they have very strict rules against the majority of body piercings and limit tattooing along with rules for nearly every other detail of clothing and appearance. That's part of being a soldier.

Sara 7 months ago

I just got my nose stud around 5 days ago and it's out and can't go back inside my nose and that it is swollen does it mean it's infected if it can't go back in the hole?

Rachel 7 months ago

Thanks for the info. Based on this, I've determined I have a keloid (very, very small at this point, but I'm afraid it will GROW based on other articles I've read about keloids). What is your recommended treatment for a keloid? And, do they ever go away completely?

Jaff 7 months ago


i want to join military forces, but they told me that you GNS problem in ur nose. what does it mean?

can some one help me?

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    Raye (relache)4,002 Followers
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    Raye has many body mods, SFSI training, former CFR-D creds, and a decade-long stint as BellaOnline's body art editor, under her belt.

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