Curious About Nose Piercings? Here's What a Pro Wants You to Know First

If you've found yourself here, you've probably been debating the idea of getting a nose piercing. Tons of questions are probably popping up, like how much a nose piercing costs and which side of your nose you should actually get the piercing on. Or, if you're a seasoned piercing pro and you already have your nose pierced, you might be wondering how long it takes for a nose piercing to heal, how to clean it, or when you can finally switch jewelry out and start playing with some new looks. There's no denying that there's a lot to consider.

As far as cool piercings go, the nose is top tier. There's a reason it's been a popular placement for decades. Though it's a fairly easy spot to take care of, it still requires a level of diligence and you'll want to know your stuff. If you're ready to finally commit, we have all of the information you could need ahead. We reached out to Sam Hayler, senior piercer at Astrid & Miyu, to answer all of your burning nose piercing questions. The UK-based jewelry brand not only has a cult following on Instagram but also offers piercing services at a handful of its locations. So whether you're a piercing veteran or currently debating taking the plunge, she's answering all your top questions ahead.

Types of Nose Piercings

If you want a nose piercing, you have a few decisions to make — starting with the type and location. The first (and arguably most common) option is a nostril piercing, located on either side of your nose. Second is a septum piercing, which is placed through the skin that divides your nostrils. Viewed straight on, this type of piercing appears just below the bottom of your nose.

According to Hayler, the main difference is in aesthetics versus pain. "They're quick and relatively low in pain if they're placed correctly," she says. "However they might make your eyes water slightly or sneeze as you'll have the inside of your nose tickled!" There's also the "nasallang," or the double nose piercing, which is a horizontal double piercing on the upper part of your nose.

If you're having trouble choosing or want an expert opinion, your piercer can work with you on a placement (and jewelry) that matches your lifestyle and desired aesthetic. But if you want to play it safe, a nostril piercing with a stud is always a good choice. "These are less likely to move around or get knocked," Hayler says.

How to Find a Reputable Piercer

When dealing with body modifications of any kind, safety should always come first. In this case, Hayler stressed the importance of making sure the piercing is only done with needles — no piercing guns, please. She also recommends using Google reviews or even word of mouth to find piercers that are reputable and experienced. And if you need extra assurance? Just reach out directly. "Can they answer the questions you have? And are they able to explain how they sterilize their tools and supplies?" Hayler noted.

What to Expect During a Piercing Appointment

One of the best things about the piercing process? The actual piercing is insanely quick. The average appointment may run 30 minutes — 15 of which usually involves filling out consent forms, selecting jewelry, and answering questions. The rest is used for actual piercing time, plus sanitizing the area, placing the jewelry, etc. "Once the piercing is complete, the area might feel a little bit warm," Hayler says. "This is normal and can last a while; the initial pinch and sting is usually over after a few minutes."

Do Nose Piercings Hurt?

The pain level of your nose piercing will depend on a number of factors, including how sensitive you are and what your pain tolerance is. Most nose piercings are not known to cause too much discomfort, and the actual piercing process only takes a few minutes to complete. Your nose may bruise after the piercing, but the pain should subside quickly. However, be careful not to snag your piercing on clothing, towels, etc., as that can be quite painful.

How Much Does a Nose Piercing Cost?

As for cost, Hayler says it varies by the jewelry and placement. In most cases, you'll pay for the jewelry as part of your total appointment fee, which can be more expensive than the piercing itself. "We have 14kt options from $170 or titanium options from $65 including jewelry and service," she says. With this in mind, it's important to consider a studio's jewelry selection before you book an appointment: "Make sure you are happy with the options and studio as you'll most likely be wearing the jewelry for quite some time."

Nose Piercing Jewelry Options

Remember what we said about safety? That applies to the type of jewelry that'll be used in your new piercing, too. Certain metals are more likely to cause a reaction than others (and vice versa), so it's extra important to be mindful during the selection process. "Solid 14kt gold or higher and implant-grade titanium or niobium are the recommended metals to be used within a fresh piercing," Hayler says. "These are the most biocompatible materials out there and have a very low risk of reaction." As for what to avoid? "Sterling silver or anything lower as these are mixed with nickel, which is what most people are allergic to."

On the aesthetic front, options will vary based on the type of piercing you're getting. For nostril piercings, you can opt for a ring or stud, though Hayler prefers the latter: "The piercing will heal more smoothly." For septum piercings, you can choose anything from simple rings to straight or curved barbells to arched "horseshoe"-style rings that have an opening at one end — Hayler's favorite. "It's easier to heal as these can be flipped up to hide if you need to for work or school."

Nose Piercing Healing Time

If you want to know how to heal a nose piercing fast, there are a few things to keep in mind. From start to finish, the healing process for a nose piercing can take between three and six months. "The longer you leave it, the better," Hayler says. When it comes to cleaning your new piercing, make sure you're following the instructions from your piercer to a tee. "The recommended aftercare is a sterile saline solution used twice a day, and do your best not to touch it at all."

How to Treat Infected Nose Piercings

Changing your jewelry can be tempting, but if you want your nose piercing to heal properly (not to mention, avoid infection), it's best not to touch it prematurely. If you do, the risk of infection is much higher. "If you remove the jewelry before it's fully healed, you effectively have a wound that can harbor germs and gunk, leading to a pretty nasty infection," Hayler says. What's more, the hole can close up. "It's only the jewelry inside keeping it open, which is the same for all piercings."

Think you might have an infection or potential problem? Make sure to look closely. "There's a very fine line between a healing piercing and an infection," Hayler says. "Normal healing will feel a bit warm, be a little red, and be leaking a white-ish clear fluid, which will turn to 'crusties' around the jewelry. If it's an infection, it'll most likely be all of the above — plus itchy and leaking yellow or green." Consult your piercer if you need a quick gut check, but if the symptoms of infection are more serious, Hayler recommends seeing a doctor. Until you're certain, just make sure not to remove the jewelry so the piercing can continue draining properly.

When Can You Change Your Nose Piercing Jewelry?

If you're ready to change out the jewelry you got when you first got your nose pierced, you need to wait until the piercing has fully healed, which in some cases could be six months from the day of your piercing. Removing the jewelry and changing it out too soon could result in nose bumps or even infections.

Do Nose Piercings Close Up?

If you've had enough of your nose piercing and you're ready to let it go, the good news is that the piercing hole will close up. "All nose piercings are going to close," Brian Keith Thompson, owner of LA's Body Electric Tattoo, previously told POPSUGAR. However, there's one small caveat. "You are going to have some kind of scar, depending on how long you wore your jewelry. The longer you wore the jewelry before closing the piercing, the more pronounced the scar will be," Thompson said.

Fake Nose Piercing Studs Are a Great Solution

If you're not ready to commit to a full-on nose piercing, there are a few alternatives that are worth exploring. You could opt for a fake nose piercing and purchase a faux nose ring. There are clip-in options as well as magnetic options, or there are even sticker studs available that stick directly to the outside of your nose.