The Septum Piercing: Five Things You Might Not Know February 15, 2023 – Posted in: Piercing Advice, Piercing Types – Tags: , , , , ,

This year, the septum piercing is making a resurgence. Fashion magazines like Vogue and Femestella noted septum hoops gracing the noses of many models when showcasing 2022 fashion lines, and it’s not uncommon to see celebrities combining their red carpet looks with a stunning septum ring. 

It makes sense; now that ‘90s and early-2000s fashion trends are making a comeback, so are piercing trends of that era. And, unlike in the ‘90s and early-2000s, piercings are now more accepted by mainstream society, so they’re more popular than ever before. If you’ve been considering getting your septum pierced, but you’ve never been quite sure how it would be received, now is the time.

Like any piercing, however, you need to do some research before getting your septum pierced. Piercings may have an association with rebellion, but you have to remember that they are piercing a hole in your body. There is a level of responsibility that you need to take when you decide to get pierced.

Here are five things that you need to know about septum piercings before you get one.

1. Septum piercings shouldn’t go through cartilage

It’s easy to think that your septum piercing will go through cartilage. After all, most of your nose is made up of cartilage, including your septum. However, the septum piercing won’t actually go through the cartilage of the septum. It pierces what piercers call “the sweet spot” instead.

To find your sweet spot, pinch the end of your septum (the skin between your two nostrils). You should feel a thin flap of skin between the septum cartilage and the tip of your nose. This is where the septum piercing is placed. The sweet spot varies in size depending on the person, and some people don’t have a sweet spot at all. A piercer will need to take a look at your sweet spot to see if it’s large enough to accommodate a piercing.

The reason why we pierce the sweet spot and not the septum cartilage is that it’s so much easier to heal. The septum sweet spot will take around 4 – 8 weeks to heal while the septum cartilage takes 6 – 9 months or even longer. Furthermore, septum cartilage is quite thick making placement difficult. While it is possible to pierce septum cartilage if you don’t have a sweet spot, many piercers will still refuse to pierce you due to the fact that it’s easy for the piercing to come out crooked.

2. The septum piercing probably won’t hurt as much as you think

There’s an unfair rumor that septum piercings really hurt. Whether this comes from those who actually got the septum cartilage pierced rather than the sweet spot or simply due to imaginations run wild, this hearsay is mostly false.

In reality, the septum piercing is relatively low on the pain scale. Of course, this depends upon your anatomy as well as your individual pain tolerance, but it will typically hurt a lot less than anticipated. 

The sweet spot is usually quite thin making it incredibly easy for a needle to pass through. If you’re pierced by an expert piercer who knows how to conduct a septum piercing properly, you shouldn’t feel more than slight pressure. What will happen, however, is that you’ll probably tear up quite a bit. This has nothing to do with the pain but rather the piercing location.

If you get pierced in the septum cartilage or if your sweet spot is thicker than normal, you might feel more pain than described. That being said, most septum piercees experience very little pain.

3. The septum stench is a thing, but it’s easily avoided

Septum piercings are notorious for having what’s called “the septum stench.” A smell occurs in all piercings, but the odor is more apparent to those who have septum piercings due to its location within the nose. This funk is the result of dead skin buildup within the piercing as well as secretions associated with healing. 

Unless you fail to clean the piercing, you’re likely the only one to smell it. However, it can become unpleasant. Luckily, this stench is easily avoided. Simply keep the piercing clean with a piercing aftercare saline solution, and it will wash away the odor-causing debris.

To keep your piercing clean (which you should be doing throughout the healing period, anyway), simply spray a sterile packaged piercing aftercare saline solution, like NeilMed, onto a cotton swab or a folded piece of gauze and gently wipe the piercing holes on either side. Any crusties or other buildup around the piercing should be gently dabbed away; if you pick at your piercing, it could cause trauma to the piercing site.

4. You can easily hide your septum piercing after healing

One potential reason for the popularity of the septum piercing is that it can easily be hidden when needed. Because the piercing is located within the nose, the piercing holes cannot be seen, and piercing retainers will largely go unnoticed.

Furthermore, it’s possible to wear a small circular barbell and flip it inside your nose to hide your septum piercing. While this isn’t foolproof, it offers an easy way to quickly hide your piercing should the situation arise. Keep in mind that larger circular barbells may not fit within your nose, and they can press against the inside of your nose and piercing holes causing discomfort and trauma.

Woman with septum piercing

Photo by Airam Dato-on on Unsplash

During healing, hiding your piercing will be nearly impossible. It’s inadvisable to wear piercing retainers while your piercing heals because they do not fully close and it can be easy to move the retainers around or even knock them out of the piercing. If you’re wearing a circular barbell during healing, you should not flip your jewelry since jewelry must be kept as still as possible during the entire healing period. Be aware that your septum piercing will likely be visible for the duration of healing (up to two months or more). If this is not possible, then you should opt for another piercing choice.

5. You can stretch your septum piercing

Those who prefer larger jewelry styles can stretch their septum piercing after the initial piercing has fully healed. Stretching your septum piercing will depend upon the size of your sweet spot and whether or not you were pierced in the septum cartilage. If you were pierced in the cartilage, you might be able to stretch your piercing a bit, but the process will be much longer and more difficult than in the sweet spot.

Stretching your septum piercing will be similar to stretching your lobe piercing. Stretch one gauge at a time, slowly inserting larger and larger jewelry until you’ve stretched to the desired size. Don’t go too quickly, and have a piercer guide the process so that they can let you know when it’s safe to move to the next size up.

If you’ve been thinking about getting your septum pierced, there has never been a better time to do so. This piercing style defies social cliques, and the wide variety of jewelry that it can hold means that you can easily make it your own. Now that you know some basics about the septum piercing, find a reputable piercer, and take the plunge.

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