Thinking of getting a septum piercing? We've answered all your burning FAQs

·5-min read
Thinking of getting a septum piercing? We've answered all your burning FAQs

If you're thinking about getting a septum piercing, but want to arm yourself with some facts before deciding, you're in the right place. We don't blame you - piercings can feel like a big commitment, and often a bit nerve-wracking for some people. Septum rings may once have been considered quite an extreme, alternative piercing reserved for punks, but nowadays, they're practically as commonplace as balayage or nail art. (Okay not quiiite - but depending what circles you run in, it can seem like every other person in the room has either decided to go for it, or is thinking about getting one.)

That’s not to say they’re boring, though - septum piercings have historically been used around the world as a rite of passage; the mark of a warrior, or to signal one’s marital status. They’ve been around for thousands of years, and the piercing has been popularised in more mainstream culture lately. This might be thanks in part to the slew of celebrities who've worn septum rings recently: Rihanna, Willow Smith, Bella Thorne, Zoe Kravitz, and FKA Twigs, for starters. So - let’s get down to it, and start with the basics.

What is a septum piercing?

Welp, quite literally a nose piercing in your septum. Your septum is the thin piece of cartilage and flesh in middle of the bottom of your nose; it’s the bit that separates your two nostrils. If you pinch that area, you’ll feel a harder area of cartilage, but that’s not what gets pierced - the softer, fleshy bit underneath does, aka “the sweet spot.” People often wear hoop or horseshoe jewellery in their piercings, as it’s visible underneath the nose, or less commonly; a bar. You may have heard people refer to it as a "bull ring" piercing before.

Photo credit: Noam Galai - Getty Images
Photo credit: Noam Galai - Getty Images

Does a septum piercing hurt?

We hate to break it to you, but yep, you’re probably gonna feel some momentary sharp pain from this type of piercing. You’ll likely also get an eye-watering, nose-tickling sensation as though you need to sneeze - this is common with nose piercings. The good news is, while you may feel some soreness after (like most piercings), the sharp pain should be manageable, and over quickly. It’s slightly different for everyone though, depending on your pain tolerance, and how well you get along with (or fear) needles. Many people report a "warm" sensation in the area for while after the piercing, which you may have experienced before with, say, an ear lobe piercing.

How long do septum piercings take to heal?

So, how long is this thing going to be healing for? It’s not an exact science, as everyone’s skin is different, but the hole might be mostly sealed up by the fourth or fifth month. *But* that doesn’t mean it’s safe to start changing the jewellery all the time, or messing with it loads at that point - this will likely cause irritation. As you may have experienced with other piercings, the scar tissue can take a year, or even up to two years to reach its fully healed strength. They say good things take time, and a sturdy, healthy septum piercing is no exception. This one's a long game.

Photo credit: Jo Hale - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jo Hale - Getty Images

How much does a septum piercing cost?

At some jewellery counters (especially luxury ones), the piercing itself might be free, as long as you purchase your septum ring at their shop. At other studios, you could be looking at anywhere from £15-£40. The rings themselves can vary from about £15 on up to hundreds of pounds, if you look at precious metals or stones.

What is a septum piercing done with?

Unlike a piercing gun, which may have been used for your first ear piercing in the 90s, septum piercings are usually done with a sterile, single use needle. This is for a) more precision control of placement and b) for hygiene safety reasons. Your piercer should be licensed, well-reviewed, and wearing a clean new pair of gloves. They should also take a single-use needle of a sealed, sanitary packet at your appointment. Take some time to research piercing parlours or jewellery counters in your area before you take the plunge, and check out the customer reviews, too.

What metals can I wear in a septum piercing?

Stainless steel is a safe, hypoallergenic (and affordable) option. Niobium is a moderately-priced metal that’s great for sensitive skin, and titanium is a slightly pricier pick that shouldn’t irritate the area either. If you prefer luxe precious metals like gold, make sure it’s at least 14k gold or higher quality, and always opt for solid gold, not gold plate jewellery. Gold plate can wear away over time, and the core of the ring could contain irritating alloys. Solid precious metals are the priciest options.

Photo credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin - Getty Images
Photo credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin - Getty Images

How should I care for a septum piercing?

As with any piercing, avoid touching it, especially with unwashed hands that could introduce bacteria. Try not to knock into it, which could be painful, and generally avoid twisting and fiddling with it. Do a saline cleanse twice a day, and gently pat dry the skin with a clean towel or cloth afterwards. If you’re wedded to your 12-step skincare routine, avoid spreading product near the area - all those lotions and potions can contain irritating fragrances and chemicals that your fresh piercing won’t like before its fully healed.

With time, a little research and care, and a bit of patience, you’ll be well on your way to a cute new septum piercing.

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