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Why You Should Think Twice About Getting Nose Piercings

Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of two, and published sci-fi and horror author.


Nose piercings are a time-honored tradition in India, mostly due to the fact that people thought a nose piercing would reduce the pain and complications of childbirth. They’re an edgy piercing for those in the West, while your options can range from a small silver stud to showing hoops dangling from an unconventional place. It is showy, it is relatively easy to pierce, and there are enough people doing it for historical reasons that it isn’t too far out there. Why not do it? Here are a few reasons why you should think twice about getting a nose piercing.

Nose Piercings Are Prone to Infection

You may be thinking that we’re worried about your cold or flu causing an infection in the nose piercing. While the bacteria in your snot can cause an infection in the nose piercing, there are actually worse germs lurking in your body. A fraction of the population carries staphylococcus bacteria in their nose. These bacteria can migrate into a nose piercing at any time.

One of the signs of this infection is nose piercing bumps; any large bump is a warning sign. Other warning signs are significant swelling that doesn’t go away, pus, pain at the site, and excessive bleeding. If the infection isn’t treated, it will kill the tissue in the nasal wall. This will cause serious deformity when the dead tissue is removed. Yes, your nose piercing could cause you to lose part of your nose. Or the nose bump is simply a pustule that needs to be cleaned and allowed to heal.

One of the nastiest things about nose rings is how it catches so much snot on its way out. You can end up with boogers on the inside of the piercing. And you can’t take the piercing out while it heals; you have to rinse the area in a safe way. You may need to relearn how to blow your nose, too, so you don’t push the sharp edge of a piercing into your nasal wall. Conversely, you just made it a lot harder to pick your nose so you don’t have to blow it.

All of this is aside from how much harder it got to pop pimples on your nose and the possibility of that pus affecting your piercing. If you have acne on the center of your face, do not even consider a nose piercing. Even if it doesn’t contribute to the infection risk, your nose piercing will draw attention to your worst feature, your facial acne.

Don't let your dog lick your face when you have a nose ring.

Don't let your dog lick your face when you have a nose ring.

Swelling and Irritation Are More Severe Here

If you’ve had an ear piercing get infected, the ear lobe or edge of the ear could swell up and turn an angry red. This is uncomfortable. When the same thing happens in your nose, you could have problems breathing. When the blood collects in the nasal septum, there’s nothing you can do except visit the Emergency Room.

Certain metals can cause rejection of the jewelry. This can cause swelling or a full allergic reaction. And again, this is on your face and affects your airways. The safest metals to use are titanium, surgical stainless steel, and gold. However, you should only use gold in established piercings, not new piercings. Yet gold jewelry can cause problems for other reasons. If you aren’t using 14 or 18 karat gold, the filler metals can irritate your skin. Don’t make the mistake of using gold plated jewelry, either.

Always avoid silver and nickel. Sterling silver will cause allergic reactions in a fair number of people, and when it tarnishes, it will actually foster bacterial growth. Nickel makes a lot of people react, so just avoid it. To be safe, stay away from any metal that isn’t certain to be stainless surgical steel or titanium.

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You Could Hurt Yourself

Did you know that you could accidentally inhale your jewelry? If the nose ring gets loose, that is a possibility. Have you ever swallowed something by accident? If you’ve inhaled it, there are only three places it can go - your lungs, your stomach or coughed back out. And the sharp little piece of metal is cutting up your insides the whole way. This is rare, but it can contribute to chocking and death.

Then there’s the more mundane risk of pulling the piercing out by accident. This can occur several ways. Getting caught on clothing is one way. Scratching your nose and accidentally pulling it out is another. I hope no one gets angry at you and pulls it out, but young children could do the same by accident. The same is true if you’re playing contact sports like basketball.

Choosing the Wrong Studs Can Be Painful

Curved nose studs, also called nose screws, have a curve in their tail. The biggest point in their favor is that they stay in place better. The downside is that they are literally more painful to put in. If you don’t ask what type of piercing is being put in, you may have trouble getting it out when necessary. And swapping out a different stuff for the first time will hurt, too.

Trying to Live Like It Isn’t There Will Hurt You

When your nose piercing is healing, you can’t do anything that could introduce irritants or infectious agents. You aren’t supposed to go swimming, due to the bacteria in the pool water. Don’t apply moisturizer, sunscreen or makeup to the area around the piercing. This creates problems if you want to apply acne medication or other medication to the area around the piercing, as well.

Don’t touch the area with dirty hands, and that includes hands you’ve rinsed with only water. Don’t remove the jewelry while it is healing. This can be tempted when a crust forms around that. Don’t pick at that crust with your dirty fingernails unless you want to risk an infection. Instead, use a clean cotton swab to remove it. It will also wash off when you take a shower.

Note that you have to keep up this sterilization routine for four to six months as the piercing heals. Fail to keep it up, and you could develop scarring, black marks, or bumps on your nose due to tissue overgrowth. Or the skin will heal over the jewelry. That’s painful to correct.

Another mistake people make when they get a nose piercing is trying to wash their face like normal when the piercing requires a completely different regimen. You’re supposed to rinse it with saline water. How do you do that? You fill a cup with the saline solution and immerse your nose in it for at least sixty seconds. Breathe through your mouth while you do this, because blowing bubbles in the solution with your mouth could inadvertently add bacteria to the mix. It is a mistake to use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to sterilize the area. Hydrogen peroxide in particular kills skin cells, and this will worsen the scar tissue formation.


Nose rings may be a popular sign of rebellion, but it comes with a number of risks you may not want to take. If you can’t dedicate the time to it healing right or may make a mistake, don’t get a nose ring. At a minimum, think twice before you have the nose ring put in.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Tamara Wilhite

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