You’re ready to consider a septum piercing if you’re seeking something that’s a little more daring than just a gem adorning the nostril.
Also known as bull rings, many people think septum piercings are much more dramatic and daring. People choose them to express either cultural traditions or their own individuality. Getting one is a little more uncomfortable, and they take a bit longer to heal.
Your nasal septum is the cartilage that divides your nostrils, a stiff but flexible piece of tissue that does not contain any blood vessels. The actual piercing spot, however, is a very thin partition of skin just inside your nostrils where the bottom of the nose meets the top of the lip.
Since the needle won’t actually go through the septum –if you’re using an experienced piercer– there will be a tiny bit of blood, but there will be very little pain.
The optimal needle gauge, by the way, will be 14 or 16mm-the larger the number, the smaller the gauge. Some people like to stretch their piercing, but you should never do this until it heals. It’s unwise to stretch it larger than 8mm.
Let’s talk about that experienced piercer: Just how do you find one? You can check out piercing studios or boutiques in your area or even visit a tattoo parlor. Ask the piercing expert to show you a portfolio of his or her work. He should also be willing to answer your questions about hygiene and procedure. If the piercer doesn’t share your concern about hygiene, then run!
And he should never make you feel like an inexperienced baby just because you have a lot of questions. He should be patiently willing to answer everything you can think of.
You should be aware that many septum piercings are slightly uneven because the texture of the cartilage -or, more accurately, the skin beneath it -makes it difficult to achieve perfect alignment.
In most cases, this misalignment is so slight that nobody will ever notice. But if your piercer is inexperienced, he might angle the needle too steeply on one side, and you will end up with a crooked piercing.
Do nose piercings hurt? In a word, yes, but just briefly! Some people say that septum piercing hurts less than piercing any other part of your nose.
Mostly that’s because the partition of skin to be pierced is so slender that the needle goes through in an instant. But there is some discomfort because the nose and sinus areas have a high concentration of nerve endings.
You won’t feel any nasty crunching when your septum is pierced, but you can expect it to sting. Your eyes will water in sympathy. The first day or two afterward, the lining of your nostrils and sinuses will be irritated, and you might sneeze a lot, which can be both annoying and uncomfortable.
Expect healing to take at least six weeks. Use cotton balls or a swab stick with a warm sea salt water solution to cleanse your piercing. At times you will want to soak a cotton ball in the warm solution and just hold it against the piercing to relieve irritated tissues.
Gold is the best metal to choose when you’re deciding on septum jewelry. Silver will permanently stain your skin, and other less pure metals can irritate sensitive tissues. 14k, 18k, or 22k jewelry allows for maximum comfort and healing. Choose from one of these jewelry types:
- The circular barbell is a tiny rod curved into an arc. Decorative beads screw onto the ends. You can flip the beads up into your nostrils when you don’t want your piercing to show.
- Septum rings can be plain or decorated with a bead or jewel.
- The captive bead ring is one of the ring styles, but the bead is held in place by the ends of the circle, placing tension on the bead. You can slide the ring around through the piercing, but the bead itself will stay where it’s being held in place.
- Septum tusks are straight pieces of metal, with the ends usually tapered.
Just as it is important to choose a piercer with care, you must likewise be selective in your choice of jewelry. There is no metal that will feel more natural or promote better healing than gold.
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