After getting my septum pierced, I wanted to share my story and advice with other people who are thinking about getting one.
My Septum Piercing Experience
For my birthday in May, my aunts offered to pay for me to get my septum pierced as a birthday present since they knew I wanted it done. One of my aunts had had her ear pierced once or twice at Adrenaline Tattoos in Toronto (a very reputable place, and rather pricey), so she suggested I get it done there.
We proceeded to Adrenaline on the day, where an employee confirmed with me that I wanted it done and had me provide photo I.D. proving I was at least 18 years of age. I signed a release form, and then we then picked out the colour, size, and style of jewelry I wanted to be pierced with. I chose a standard, surgical steel septum ring with two balls in the front, so that I could flip it up my nose if I wanted to hide it. I then sat in a booth in the waiting area and awaited my turn.
I'm not going to lie: I was pretty terrified about what the experience was going to be like. I had never gotten a piercing before (besides my ear lobes, but my parents had that done when I was a baby, so I don't remember it), and I was scared it was going to hurt—a lot.
Family members who'd had nostril piercings said that the experience was extremely painful, that they started tearing involuntarily, that it was the most painful piercing they'd ever had, etc. I expected my septum to hurt as much as that piercing, so I braced myself for the worst.
However, I was totally wrong.
Before: A Fake Septum Ring!
After: Ta-Da! Totally Worth It!
The Process of Getting My Septum Pierced
When it was my turn, the piercer called me in and told me to take a seat on the padded table (similar to the kind you sit on at the doctor's office). She asked me if I was sure I wanted to do this and told me that I could still back out, but I gave my consent again, and she prepared for the piercing.
She had just about every facial piercing imaginable, and they all looked healthy and well-placed, so I immediately felt comfortable with her and sensed that she knew what she was doing. She had a very pleasant demeanour and made small-talk as she put on gloves, sanitized the equipment, and opened the package of a fresh needle. She told me about her own experience having her septum done and reassured me that it was a very easy piercing to care for.
Here's what the process was like:
- First, she sanitized the inside of my nose.
- Next, she took out the clamp (used to pass the needle through, to ensure a clean piercing), and told me to tilt my head back, which I did.
- She looked up my nose and used her fingers to find the "sweet spot," a thin layer of skin that separates each nostril, and then clamped it with the clamp, which wasn't particularly comfortable.
- I was psyching myself up at this point and prepared for it to really hurt. She told me to take a deep breath in and slowly exhale, which I did.
- As I exhaled, she passed the needle through, quickly installed the jewelry I'd picked out, and flipped it up into my nose as I had requested. All done!
How Much Did It Hurt?
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the maximum amount of pain, I would rate the pain of my septum piercing at 3/10.
The actual pain of the needle quickly passing through my nose was nothing. It was a shock and a bit of a sting, but only for a quick second, and then it was done. Only one eye teared up a tiny bit!
Overall I'd rate the pain about a 3/10 because it really wasn't bad at all. I've actually had needles in my arm that hurt more than this piercing did.
Note: One reason why this piercing hurt as little as it did was that it was done properly, by an experienced professional. If the needle is not passed through the "sweet spot," but pushed too far down (or worse—through the cartilage), this piercing can hurt a lot.
The Healing Process
After it was done, my aunts paid and tipped the piercer at the cash register, and I was given care instructions, a copy of the receipt, and a baggie of un-iodized sea salt. We ate some Mexican food, and then I went home!
Pain and Swelling
Now the healing process began. The first day, it was barely tender or painful at all. It wasn't until the next day and for approximately a week after that that the piercing was a bit sore, and the tip of my nose and surrounding area became a bit swollen (mild swelling is completely normal for a fresh piercing). The swelling was very slight and was noticeable only to me.
How to Clean the Piercing
On the first night, I commenced the sea salt soaks as instructed. Here's how to do it:
- Dissolve about 1/8 tsp of un-iodized sea salt in about a cup of warm water. I liked to use a little boiling water to dissolve the salt completely, then I added some cool filtered water from the fridge to reduce it to a warm temperature.
- Submerge the tip of your nose in the water. You can pour the water into a shot glass, a glass with a wider mouth, or even a bowl and soak that way, if it's easier.
- Soak for 5-10 minutes. (I typically did 7 or 8 minutes, to be safe.)
- Soak once a day, every day, for at least the first couple of months.
How Often Should I Soak? For How Long?
Soaking the tip of your nose isn't exactly the most convenient or comfortable experience, but it's necessary to do it once a day, every day, for at least the first couple of months, and then every other day for a month or two after that, or until the piercing is completely healed.
Some people heal slower than others (including me), so be patient, keep up with your salt soaks, and eventually your piercing will heal right up, even if it takes longer than the suggested 6-8 weeks.
How Long Does It Take to Heal?
The piercer told me that most piercings heal between 6-8 weeks, but my septum took a lot longer than that to heal completely. I'm a slow healer, so I had to do sea salt soaks every night for around two months, and then every other night (or every two or three nights) for another month or so. I had the piercing done in mid-May, and it wasn't completely healed until late August or early September, which means it took roughly 3 1/2 to 4 months to heal.
How to Heal a Septum Quickly: Leave the Piercing Alone!
Just leave it alone. Part of my slow healing time was due to the fact that I kept moving the jewelry around, fiddling with it, and constantly scraping the crusties off, which was not only unnecessary but actually irritated the piercing and slowed down the healing process. In retrospect, if I had left the piercing alone, I'm sure it would have healed faster.
Verdict: 10/10, Would Recommend
This was a quick and relatively painless piercing. The healing time was a bit slow, but that's because I fiddled with the jewelry and am slow to heal generally.
Overall, I'd absolutely recommend this piercing to anyone who's interested in getting it done. It's one of the simplest piercings you can get, and it's the only piercing I've seen that looks good on everyone who's gotten it.
If you'd like to learn more, read Septum Piercing General Info and FAQs to answer all of your other septum-piercing questions.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2014 Celine
Marianne on April 21, 2019:
I just had my septum done a few days ago and oh my god. The lady who did it was an apprentice, but the main boss was helping her through it. She put the clamp in, and with no warning from her, she shoved the needle through and the needle came out the other side - without the jewelry on it. All I heard was “oh god” from both of the piercers. They made the pain a 8/10 because they didn’t properly do it. I’m still having issues with the pain, and I’ve been messing with it too much to the point where it throbs whenever I move my head. But otherwise, it looks amazing and I love it!
damm on February 21, 2018:
Mines hurt a lot.
shezzy on May 24, 2017:
i agree there was no pain people say it hurts really bad but when i got it done it was painless it hurt more getting the ring in more than getting the piercing i have 13 piercings my belly was more sore i would recomend this piercing to everyone who likes it and so what if people call you a bull. i like it :)
Celine (author) from Canada on April 03, 2015:
@Alexis I'm glad this helped! since you've had piercings before, a septum piercing will be no big deal :) I hope it goes well!
Alexis on April 03, 2015:
So I'm getting mine done on Monday.
I'm very nervous. But I was nervous with all my piercings. But the post is really helpful and it calmed me down a bit.
Celine (author) from Canada on December 11, 2014:
@Mim congrats, I bet it looks great!! I'm glad it didn't hurt for you, either. thanks for reading! ^-^
Mim on December 11, 2014:
Yes, got mine done today and I 100% agree with the no pain thing! And I have no pain tolerance! Great article :)
ALI RAZA KHALIQ on November 07, 2014: