Guide to Nose Piercings: Nostril, Septum

Updated on August 30, 2007

When you hear about a nose piercing, chances are you think of a nostril piercing, which is the most common, or a septum piercing, which is the second most common and looks like a bull ring between the nostrils. You'd be correct on both counts, as either type falls into the category of "nose piercing." In addition to the nostril and the septum, there are several other variations of piercing that and decorate the nose.

The standard nostril piercing is a very tiny adornment typically done with a small, 20-gauge needle. Although it is usually always pierced with a stud, after the wound is done healing (it usually takes about 4-6 weeks) this can be replaced with a different stud or a hoop if you so desire. I have had my nostril pierced twice. The first time I had to take the stud out for work and then lost it so the hole closed up; I then got it re-pierced last year, and I can honestly say it heals the quickest out of any piercing I've experienced -- and I've had quite a few: tongue, belly button, multiple ear cartilages, and a few unmentionables. Aside from ears, a nostril piercing is the easiest to deal with, and the body tends to take very well to the jewelry.

A variation on the standard nostril piercing is the double nostril piercing, where both nostrils are pierced. Matching jewelry is usually worn in both holes.

High nostrils are a nostril piercing that is typically done much higher up, towards the bridge of the nose. When a high nostril piercing is combined with a double nostril piercing, the result is an upper nostril piercing. Still with me?

A septum piercing, also called the bull-ring piercing, goes through the nasal septum at the middle of the nose. According to, "The nasal septum is the cartilaginous tissue dividing wall between the nostrils. Generally, the cartilage itself is not pierced, but rather the small gap between the cartilage (also known as the "sweet spot") and the bottom of the nose." The septum is normally pierced with a 14-gauge needle and can take up to 1-3 months to heal completely.

Some people are fond of stretching, or gauging, their septum piercing. While gauging is a common technique in the piercing world, excessive stretching of the septum can create an unsightly dropping effect.

The same tactic of stretching or gauging is sometimes applied to nostrils as well.

A more extreme type of nose piercing is the nasallang, a combination piercing that consists of a pair of nostril piercings with a septum piercing at the same level located between the two. It appears to be all one piercing when worn with a barbell when in fact it is three separate holes.


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      Ellie-jay 2 years ago

      I just got my septum pierced yesterday and I've got to be honest it hurt I know the piercer used septum clamps which may be the reason for the pain but yeah It was not painless in the slightest. My most has been like 'running' i don't really know it's like it's running out of one nostril since and I need to know if this is normal or not?! Thank you x

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      taurus 5 years ago


      You might wanna use a moisturizer or oil on it. I prefer jojoba or vitamin E oil.

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      Ginger 6 years ago

      I've had my septum pierced for about 9 months now, I had no problems with it at first, it healed very quickly with little discomfort. Recently though, I've noticed it beginning to feel sore. It feels really tight and dry and hurts when I touch the tip of my nose. It doesn't get crusty anymore, but it does get little dark goopies on it. I rinse it off with warm water in the shower daily. Should I be doing something more or differently? Is it starting to reject??

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      Anonymous. 6 years ago

      Please don't confuse stretching and gauging. They are not interchangeable terms.

      Gauging is a unit of measurement, while stretching is the action of stretching the tissue between the measurements. "Gauging" is a slang term, and while everyone knows what you mean when you use it, it really discredits your article.

      On an unrelated note, I was looking over some of the comments posted, and I have but one thing to say...


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      chocolate septum 6 years ago

      hey got mine done a few days ago doesn't hurt at all kinda makes me want to change it already lol it feel healed the bridge of my nose doesn't hurt or nothing and im a 14 g she3 pierced it at that and my nose is very proportionate i realize ppl with huge nostrils get this done or big noses but mine fits my face pretty well and i cant see the hole only thing that shows are like 2 tiny sliver tips and i flip it up i feel nothing sometimes i forget it there lol the pain is like pulling a hair from your nose or scratching the inside of your nose with your nails

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      Bee 6 years ago

      I really wanna get my septum pierced. I think it looks awesome and it's easy to hide too (not planning on telling the whole world) . But I have a problem.

      My nose is really turned up so I don't know if it'll look good on me? Will it stick out or anything. I've only seen it on people with straight noses so.. My nose is pretty thin and in the front it looks cute only sideways it's a problem.

      Please give me advice .. thx

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      jennyhebb 6 years ago


      hi ime 13 and i got my nostril pierced about 6 or 7 weeks ago.. i had to pierce my nostril again myself as the inside closed up when the stud fell out in my sleep. i had the same problem, i could get the stud into the hole,although when i felt inside it wasn't going through.. i could just feel the end of the stud,through my skin, i should put my finger on the inside where i could feel the stud & pushed on the outside to push it in,it doesn't hurt atall:)hope i helped.

      and if i have had my nostril pierced for 6 weeks (7 in 5 days) then how long will it be until i can take it out and it not close up?thanks.


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      JonisaJollyRancher 6 years ago

      hello everyone :o im piercing my septum

      the need gose through i can feel the pointy side of it lol. but how through does have to be ? because the ring wont go in the other side

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      k.meenakshi 6 years ago

      hai sunandhini u r great to accept husbands wish it makes u r life more love and sacrifice i too got 2 septum and 2 nostril from my husbands hand

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      sunandhini 6 years ago

      My husband pierced my septum with a needle immediately after my marriage and a neylone wire passed through the whole and tied to back side to my ears, like we put nose wire to cattles. Now he is planning to pierce both side of my nose and a new whole in my septum to hang a septum jewellery so that the tip of my nose will be put more downward. Though I was scarred at the first pierce, now I feel comfortable with a life within nosewire. Because my husband is more exited to see me in nosewire and is verymuch interested in playing with it.

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      margarita 7 years ago

      so i do all of my piercings and im thinking about doin a second nostril piercing on the same side is there any tricks to it? i don't wana get too close to the other one.

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      Taurus 7 years ago

      Get yourself a tenpenny nail and a brick. Bump your nose against something solid, like a support beam or a railroad trestle and hit the nail into whatever part of your face you want it. If you're lucky and you hit it hard enough, you can not only pierce it, but hide it from mummy too! Then you two can go to the bookstore together to pick yourself up a book on the english language!

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      Valetina Cilia  7 years ago

      I Would Like To Pierce My Nose But I My Mother Doesn't Let Me So I Would Like To Know How To Pierce It On Myslef And Then Hide It . Thaankss :) x

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      James 7 years ago

      I'm with Taurus on that one, it really does all revolve around the time you have the stretched hole and of course size you go to. I had my septum pierced at an 8 gauge, knowing that I was going to stretch it, and it's at a 2 currently. I've had it for 3 years, and I can take it out for a a while and it won't go anywhere.

      As a side note to all you youngins getting into piercings. I have pierced myself, as have many of you I'm sure. DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT pierce yourself. There is a reason behind people being licensed to pierce. And when it comes to your nose, especially your septum. You do not want to mess with chance. There are a lot of nerves that run down the middle of your face, and you can seriously damage yourself. You can read this and make all the ignorant comments you want. But I'm just trying to save a couple of you from making stupid mistakes.

      Good luck!

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      Taurus 7 years ago

      In my case, septum hole shrinkage occurred pretty quickly after removing jewelry. I'd have to run another taper through it (though it wasn't near as bad as the original stretch) and replace my plug if it had fallen out the night before or something. I'm currently sporting a 6ga hole and plan to get to at least 00 as a "goal size" or whatever that means...

      In my friends' case, they'd both stretched to an 8ga and wore it for years before removing jewelry. One of them can still fit 10ga jewelry in his nose, while the female can still fit a 14ga ring in her nose after not wearing anything for over 3 years. Also, an acquaintance of mine had his stretched to at least 9/16ths and doesn't wear anything in it. I'm sure it isn't that size anymore, but it's gotta be pushing close to 7/16ths still as you can clearly see through it without him making effort of showing his stretched (not gauged) piercing.

      Of course it depends on the individual, but ultimately, I'm finding that the longer you wear it (in years, none of this month business), and the size you stretch to will determine the permanence of your septum piercing.

      Good luck and remember to be patient and listen to your body!

      ... not your boss.

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      Jake 7 years ago

      If you stretch your septum does it shrink fairly quick, cause i kinda wanna stretch mine eventually but i want it to be able to shrink

      if so what is the "point of no return" for septums?

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      ZacHasHeart 7 years ago

      I've had my septum pierced 3 times now. The first time, I stretched it to an 8, and took it out because of work. The second time, either I didn't take care of it well enough, or he pierced it wrong because it was always sore and hurt when I flipped it up. I got it done about 3 months ago, and stretched it about a week or so after I got it, I guess I heal quickly because it didn't hurt at all. I stretched a couple days later, and I've been at an 8 for probably about 2 and a half months. Getting my nostril done tomorrow night.

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      Dean 7 years ago

      @Squalosurf you just need to get a smaller ring that's all there are many different sizes of ring that you can get and it all depends on were your piercing is and what you want

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      Dean 7 years ago

      i have both my nostrils done and a 2 gauage septum and my bridge nose piercings are awesome!!

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      Katia 7 years ago

      A 20-gauge needle is not usually used in nostril piercings. The jewelry used may be 20-gauge, but usually the needle is one gauge larger (so for a piercing that will use 20-gauge jewelry, an 18-gauge needle will be used).

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      Squalosurf 7 years ago

      I got my septum pierced during my senior year in high school and piercings weren't allowed so I had to hide it. I just had a pincher in it and kept it flipped up, then when I went to stretching it (yes it's called stretching for all the people who get pissy when they get corrected) I used a straight plug with o rings. I played basketball all season and went at least 6 months with no one even knowing about it until i decided to show them. It's VERY easy to hide

      I do have a question though. I want my nose pierced but a little farther down so I can put a little hoop in it so it will be at the bottom of my nostril, is there another name for this or will I just have to explain it to the piercer?

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      punx 7 years ago

      nose piercings aint all that bad i got my nose done both sides, a septum, a bridge and hopefully getting a nasallang. i got 8 lip piercings and 2 tongue piercings. ihad my cheeks aswell and many many others like dermals and surfaces. anyway are nasallangs as painfull as septum? i was told aparently its more the time it takes to pierce as it can be quite slow cuz its not through the soft spot as usual.

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      Kym 7 years ago

      im thinking about getting my bridge pierced here soon, i wear glasses about half the time & i've never had a surface piercing before... so any info anyone can give me would get great!!

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      kaven 7 years ago

      i just got my septum pierced, i had it done with a hourse shoe ring so i can just slip it up my nose like a retainer.

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      Ashton 8 years ago

      I got my septum pierced quite a while ago. I told my piercer that I needed to hide it, so instead of giving my a circular barbell or captive, she just gave me a retainer.

      I could flip it up for work and pull it down when I was off. My septum was the easiest to care for/heal of all my piercings (I have a lot: vertical lip, 0g lobes, 10g cartilage, double nostrils, dermal anchors).

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      beejay 8 years ago

      hey i have my septum done and it healed within a day or 2 was awesome didn't even hurt

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      Shibby 8 years ago

      For those of you worried about hiding your septum piercing after you get it done if you talk to your piercer you can have him pierce it up so it is already in your nostrils and hidden. As long as you don't try to take it down for about a month and keep it clean it should not affect the healing time nor the way in which it heals.

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      reema 8 years ago

      my husband pierced my septum by packing needle and passed nylon rope now it is complately healed now iplaned to pierce both nostrils

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      chikancita 8 years ago

      well i just got my nose pierced and i love it hope my parents dont say nothing

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      mallik 8 years ago

      it looks beautiful with nose pins on both sides

      marvellous to look at

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      8 years ago

      "unsightly"? wow

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      Emz 8 years ago

      I'm getting my septum pierced tomorrow, and I am excited lol.

      I decided to take Kyleigh's advise and just go for it. Like you said, it's my body. =]

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      fitle toes 8 years ago

      i hate nose piercings

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      don't 8 years ago

      don't get nose peircings

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      Kyleigh 8 years ago

      I wouldn't worry about what other people thought!! I have 5 tattoos and I just got my nose pierced and my family HATES it!! haha but I like it..a lot and so I told them I wasn't worried about what they thought of if they liked it or not b/c it was MY body and I liked it so... But I guess that's just my opinion. But I think that if you really want it...GO FOR iT!!

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      Emz 8 years ago

      I want my septum pierced, but I think most people I know wouldn't like me for it, is it really easy to hide? Even after it's just been pierced?

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      Cali 9 years ago

      I have a silly question! I have had my piercing for over a year and I have noticed every once in awhile it will get irritated and sore. Am I not changing it or cleaning it often enough?

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      Amberlin. 9 years ago

      i have 13 piercings. and to all of you asking questions.. add me on msn ill answer then...

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      POPEYE 9 years ago

      what about two piercings on the same nostril? anyone know where i can get information about that? i have my nostril pierced in the normal place but want to know if i can get another one next to it...

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      Me  9 years ago

      i want to know if there's one of these but on lip piercings? with all the details on strings, problems, advantages, healing, all those fancy names... cause if i was to get anytjing done it'd be my lip...:) and ears

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      PiercED. 9 years ago

      Wow. It's pretty funny watching an argument take place. Grow up.

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      .. 9 years ago

      It's not so much correcting language as using the correct term. Go to an electritian meeting and tell them about the electricaly-turnon-thingy, you'll get some corrections I'm sure.

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      To Just a Hint! 9 years ago

      Do you know how annoying people who correct other people's language are? Get over yourself!

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      Just a hint 9 years ago

      "gauge" is not a verb, it is a unit of measurement, therefore "gauging" is an erroneous use of the word gauge, and you can only refer to the widening of pierced holes as "stretching".

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      nikii 9 years ago

      I got my high nostrils done on both sides. The piercer clamped my left stud too tight and within two days it started pulling itself into my nose. I went back to the place where I got it done and the guy told me it was weird cos it was only swollen on the inside, and the stud was clamped too tight and wasn't giving it any room to be swollent without trying to pull the stud through. He fixed it, and the day after I had a scab, it's a little sore, but it feels a lot better than it did. the other one doesn't give me any problems, and I can't wait until they heal completely. :)

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      Nose ring wanterr 9 years ago

      how can I talk my parents into letting me getttingg onee!

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      Bobo Kitty F*** 9 years ago

      The best thing about my septum ring is that I found one that fits in my nose. So I just slip it up in there. It is cool, When people notice you turn slip it up and poof its gone. Like a magic trick.

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      Gwensgifts 10 years ago

      I just got my nose piercing two weeks ago and I love it! I thought I'd have to take it out for work (I'm a teacher) but they haven't said anything yet!