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Care and upkeep of a nose ring November 6, 2008

Filed under: misc (everything else) — Thinking Woman @ 5:52 pm
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I have wanted a nose ring for as long as I can remember. I’ve always thought they were gorgeous, even before they went mainstream, but I didn’t have the guts to be that radical for two decades. And when I’d really made up my mind to go for it, I had a baby so I still had to wait; some tiny risk of infection and it being close to the brain – well, seemed unwise just then.

The first think about getting a body piercing of any type is you are supposed to go to to one of those specialty shops because they do it a special way. I did the research and it made sense to me at the time. The guns compress cartilage, I think. Don’t ask me, just go surf around and do your own research. Anyway, these people are experts and also they are a unique breed of somewhat sado-masochistic types so good for them; let them have at the whole thing if that is what they enjoy. I have to assume there is an element of artisticness (is that a word?) in the process, so I don’t see getting yourself pierced by a doctor or at a jewelry store.

Obviously, ask your pierced friends for recommendations and then check the place out before going in. Leave and let your impressions sit with you. I had my belly buttton done years ago and I regretted the choice of place; they actually did the deed in what seemed to be a closet. Not a very pleasant memory. Could that be why it turned into a nasty, disgusting mess of keloids and scabs and my body rejected the ugly surgical steel contraption they put in? Because of the horrible associations? All I know is that thing never was sexy. In fact, it caused me to have to keep my belly covered for a few prime pre-child years until I finally gave up and let it heal over. So yeah, get a recommendation, especially for facial piercings, which are generally not as easy to keep covered.

I gotta warn you about something that happens right after they pierce you. It was both a blessing and a shock. The crazy sadistic dude stuffed the thing through my nostril while I did some breathing thing and then without warning, he stuffed a sour lollipop into my mouth. While this was effective in distracting me through the worst of the pain, I would have appreciated a choice in the matter. The strong sweet/sour combination was brilliant for shifting my focus off my nose, but if you don’t eat lollipops, you might want to have something suitable on hand. Perhaps the straw to a huge fruit smoothie.

For recovery, they always load you up with all sorts of weird chemicals and swear that is the way to go. And they warn you off anything you might want to try. My experience is that a lot of fussing causes my piercings to become infected and form keloids and scabs, and that includes using too much of whatever weird chemical they recommend. Make your own decisions. For me, less is more. I might use the thing a handful of times in the first week and then hope for the best. For me, it’s key to keep my hands off the new piercing so as to avoid infection and causing it to tear and bleed.

The thing they put in the new piercing is ugly. Butt ugly. It is a very fat drab gray surgical steel nose ring with a ball on the end. It’s worse than having a booger hang out of your nose. And you have to keep it there for a long time. So get used to it. You can’t touch it for months. And you won’t want to. I did go ahead and change mine a bit sooner than recommended and it was horrifying. I think I was able to get the gray surgical nose ring out, but there was no way I was capable of getting my pretty one in. My husband had to pretty much repierce my nostril Remember that you have to get through the outer layer of skin, through some cartilage, and then through the inner layer of skin. It’s all got to line up, and you are working with a coil. The agony you’re feeling is the nose ring puncturing the interior of your nostril in a new place. Nice.

A bit about nose jewelry. After all, what the heck is the point of all this disgust and pain except for the bling on your face, right? First of all, don’t bother buying the crap they sell at any store you can find. Believe me, I’ve tried. I even spent hours all over The Village in NYC looking for something nice. If you can’t find it there, you can’t find it anywhere. Oh sure, they all have little pretties. But they are $10 crap costume jewelry. The stones are tiny and fall out after 3-4 weeks. Most are bezel set and you can’t even see what color the stone is; prongs are much better for showing off tiny jewelry. In a pinch, I had to use earrings a few times while I awaited my next nose ring. That is a sucky solution because most of them are too long, it’s super difficult to get the back on, and it shows, like a giant mass of snotty metal up your nostril. Plus it hurts a bit. If you do need to use an earring to keep the hole open, go for a child’s earring; the posts are shorter and the stones are smaller so more suitable to being on your face. There is also gauge to consider. This is counter-intuitive; higher numbers mean smaller gauge. The one they leave in is thicker than what I use now. I don’t see any reason to try to stuff a thick post through that tiny hole but hey, whatever you’re into. I use the same gauge as most earrings and it’s worked fine.

So how do you find a nose ring? Google “nose jewelry” and have a blast. Expect to pay around $50-$100 for a real piece of jewelry with a real gemstone and proper setting. It’s well worth it because they do hold up. It’s a bit of hit or miss as you can’t tell if the color you choose will show up well on your face until you try, and they are not returnable. They come in sealed bags and you can hold it up to get an idea and return it if you never opened it. I recommend doing that!

There are a few different styles of post. I use one that is like a C on the inside. It stays in well. Unfortunately, my piercing is perhaps a bit low on my nostril because I constantly have to turn my nose ring around so it doesn’t hang out of the bottom of my nostril. This likes to happen especially on days I am in large groups. That sucks for sure so don’t get your piercing too close to the edge of your nostril. Or choose a different style of nose ring that fixes this issue. I would like to clip off a bit of the tail of mine and have it filed down, but I’d need this done by a jeweler. Some day.

If you do go with a prong setting like I did, you need to rethink towels and form other new habits. You must dab gently around your nose or you will hook it and it really smarts. There isn’t really any way to completely avoid hooking; it just happens sometimes (like in the middle of the night when you are sound asleep) and you learn to deal with reacting to a strong pain in the middle of your face by quickly stuffing your nose ring back in.

To this day, I cannot put it in by myself. I lie on the bed and my husband takes care of it for me. I am glad to have one I like so this doesn’t need to happen with any regularity!

On upkeep, I asked a lot of people before I considered getting a nose ring. When you blow your nose, that side is going to be tricky. When you swim, if you hold your nose like me when you jump in, you are going to have to deal with causing mild nosebleeds. I am forcing myself to try to expell some water from my nose at just the right moment but so far, I’ve only had a 50% success rate with that so I have to deal with snorting water up my sinuses. I prefer the nosebleed. Like I said, you do need to keep on top of checking for the inside hanging out. Or maybe that’s just me. I haven’t checked around on that one. You do need, unfortunately, to do some interior and exterior maintenance. Obviously, the inside is going to accumulate some dried mucus. Rather than futz around, I have learned to spit mucus in the sink. I know it sounds sort of disgusting, but when you think about it, I am sure we’re meant to do this and not blow noses or fuss around up inside our nostrils. Spitting is a good skill to master; it comes in handy when you are biking or running or other times you just don’t have any other way to clean up. The key is to get some distance and work on your aim. You’ll get some unsightly dried skin around the edges on the outside. It’s super easy to wipe that away, much like clearing the stuff from the corners of your eyes.

I think that’s about it! Your life will change the instant you get a nose ring. No kidding. Family will be stunned and offended. Friends will be mortified or impressed. Some will wonder what changed. After a while, you forget about it, but there is always that extra five points of coolness. I’m not uncool, but I did it for the 5 points of prettiness; I just love having pink bling in the middle of my face!

Edited to add: I just read that lavender oil helps with the healing process. As I am one to try natural things, I think that’s a great idea and would certainly try it if I had it to do again. If anyone tries it or as tried it, please give feedback so others can benefit!

2/9/2008 ETA: Please leave a comment! This is my most highly read blog entry by far! What brought you here? Did you learn what you were hoping to learn? Do you have anything to add that might help others? Leave a comment!!!!

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44 Responses to “Care and upkeep of a nose ring”

  1. Thinking Woman Says:

    This turns out to be my most popular blog entry. And yet, there are no comments. Feel free to ask me anything about the whole nose piercing thing! I asked people very direct questions for years and yet a few things still took me by surprise.

    My favorite thing about having my nose pierced has been the realization that blowing your nose is unnecessary; I no longer suffer from that nasty red, swollen nose when I have a cold.

  2. amcn Says:

    I also have a nose ring…and just blogged about it! Hence how I came across your post…

    I totally agree with your sentiment about less is more. I just switched my nose ring to a hoop (which yes, offended my mother) and fiddled with it a lot the first few days. Once I realized that my obsession with cleaning it and twirling it and all that jazz was making it worse, I left it be and it’s in much better shape. They really should tell you to just douse it with some salt water and leave it alone.

    • Thinking Woman Says:

      I definitely have found that not fiddling pays off. When I got my ear pierced the first time, I somehow got the idea that it was important to constantly turn them (I was about 9 years old). They were a horrible mess. After a year, they still hadn’t healed and a doctor said that maybe I just couldn’t have pierced ears. I was so sad! But I followed doctors orders and took the earrings out. About 4 years later, I was playing around with them and noticed I could get the tip of the earring in. Gross warning! There was hard stuff in the hole but it turned out to just be dried up old nastiness and eventually, I poked it out the back with the earring. I got more ear piercings after that and never touched them! They’re all fine.

      When I got my belly ring, low rise pants weren’t in style yet. So no matter what I did, the waist band of the pants kept bumping the piercing and ripping and infecting it. I wonder what would have happened if I’d waited to do it until after the style changed; it’s difficult to believe I ever wore my pants like that, but we all did. I finally gave up on that one and no longer find belly piercings all that attractive. Maybe when I have a gorgeous belly again I’ll rethink that one!

  3. Adi Says:

    I just got my nose pierced, and found this blog helpful. I was getting confliciting views from everywhere, saying don’t use the 3% hydrogen peroxide solution they gave me, even though the piercer told me to only use that, and definetly not use salt water.
    I’m going to just clean it twice a day with a little tiny bit of the solution he gave me. x

  4. I have to say, that I can not agree with you in 100%, but it’s just my IMHO, which indeed could be wrong.
    p.s. You have a very good template . Where did you find it?

  5. Lola Says:

    I’m not sure where you live but I searched at least ten local places and none in boston forced you to use the plain stud ball you are saying you have to use to get your nose pierced. I used a stud, but it has a diamond on the tip of it so it just looks like a plain diamond unless you are on top of my face. I also have the hook problem, where it hangs out and it’s because it wasnt properly sized. You need to go back to where you got it done and have them fix it, it really has nothing to do with a jeweler. Your piercer would tell you the same. I’m heading back tomorrow because it’s making me insane. Also, constantly turning it, especially when in the first six weeks of healing, can cause keloids and infected bumps which is not good. A lot of people are told to turn it also, and you should never do anything but clean it once in the a.m, once in the p.m. and do salt water soaks the first few weeks.

    You can get plenty of decent nose rings that are good quality for far less then 50.00-100.00. There are plenty of sites that have decent, surgical steel grade jewelry for 22-25.00. The only thing you should be putting on your nose is sea salt and water combo during the healing phase. No lavender oil, no peroxide, NO alcohol, nothing. “Ocean” saline was much easier then soaking cotton balls and holding them inside and out and worked just as well. Make sure to use non-iodized sea salt, for those of you that come across this looking for after-care tips.

  6. Sissy Says:

    I wish I had found your blog before I got my nose pierced. I got mine done right before finals. One night in the summer, after I’d moved home, it came out and I couldn’t get it back in. My dad had to repierce my nose, and yes, it hurt like the living bejeezus. Since then, I’ve had to repierce it a couple times. I think the place I went to did it at a wrong angle, and now any time I change it I have issues.

  7. D Says:

    I was able to have my piercing done with a quartz retainer from glasswearstudios.com. Initially done to hide it atwork but found this to be very comfortable so I’ve left it in. Quartz is able to be autoclaved also .

  8. Tru2me Says:

    I’m getting my nose pierced soon (hopefully this weekend!) At times I think I’m too old to have one, but I REALLY want one! Very helpful post! How old were you when you got your nose pierced?

  9. FJT Says:

    I am 47 and have just got mine done 7 weeks ago. I just love it and it has always been a dream of mine. I gave up smoking and this was my husbands way of saying congratulations. You are never too old. My 24 year old daughter copied me ha ha.

  10. Diahn Ott Says:

    Just had mine done today, and I’m 40 (and 1/2) :-D. Thanks for the great post!

  11. Barb Says:

    I’ve wanted to do this when I turned 40 … I turn 42 this week, and I’m seriously considering doing it now … My kids aren’t so sure about it though. They think mom’s off her rocker πŸ˜‰

    • Thinking Woman Says:

      Oh yeah. A 40-something getting a nose ring, that can be removed at any time, is off her rocker. But a teenager getting tattoos is just fine. Hmmm.

  12. Thinking Woman Says:

    Does anyone have any links to great nose jewelry sites? Dressy stuff suitable for someone in their 40s with kids! I love the jewel I have but I am so tired of the inside part drooping down and showing. I had a look at Claires the other day. Cute but way too small to show up on my face! The back was a simpler style – like an L – would not show but would also fall out all the time, I think. I’d love some with an L, a larger stone, not necessarily genuine but good color choices, and a setting that is not always catching my hair and towel. The cheapie prong settings just suck for that!

    • Eileen Says:

      Try Tribalectic.com. You can trust the metal quality and they have nice things at reasonable prices. Their forums are interesting, too. Good luck!

  13. HMMM Says:

    For anyone looking to get their nose pierced.
    Do the research before. If you had done some looking around, or spoken candidly to your piercer, all of these situations could have been avoided. Read stories on BMEzine, or check out wikipedia or ask.com. Its not rocket surgery people. Its your face, you would think you would mention that to the piercer. If they don’t agree, or can’t do the proper jewelry placement, go somewhere else, they are providing you a service, you have every right to take your business elsewhere.
    Sea salt soaks or Vitamin E oil or mild soap are the only things you should ever use on your piercing. Tea bags are acceptable as well. Again, a google search would have told you the same. I wouldn’t advise using lavender oil.

  14. Deepa Says:

    Hey.. great post! i stumbled on this as i was searching on how to get a nose ring infection to heal minus removing the nose ring. I pierced my nose two months back at a jewelry store and after i’d removed it at a salon to get a good face massage, found that i couldnt put it back on and investigated to find a granuloma. Terrified, i zoomed to a doc and he asked me to forget putting on the nose ring for a month and to get it re-pierced by him or any doc – just in case the hole closed up.

    Well, close up it did and following his advice, i had my nose pierced by a doc and things were perfect until lately when i caught a bad spell of cold with awful lot of sneezing thick mucus. And just lately when i pushed a conical bit of tissue into my nose for some serious cleaning, found it stained with blood. I investigated with the help of a mirror and i now find the very same granuloma that was there earlier! And it looks like the nose ring caps it! I really dont want to remove the nose ring to help the granuloma heal, cos i cant bring myself to re-pierce anymore. i hope to try the salt-water application perhaps using a cotton bud and some application of tea-tree oil – thanx to all the many comments here. Hope it helps! Wish me luck! i’ll definitely come back to say if it worked!

    • Thinking Woman Says:

      So a granuloma – it’s like a little white pimple or something? Sorry, I’ve never heard the term before. I hope you get this figured out without having to let it close. I like the tea tree idea. Keep us posted.

  15. MomofOne Says:

    hello! Just ran across your blog and found it VERY informative… although i see that it was some time ago when posted… but still… wanted to ask…. My 16 year old is wanting to have her nose pierced and I would like to have a stud made with a family diamond… but don’t know if I can do this and/or the piercing place will? I haven’t talked to anyone or any place.. don’t have a clue where i will taker… just wanted to start with the actual stud first… Thank you in advance… i can’t wait to hear from you! πŸ™‚

    • Thinking Woman Says:

      I sure hope that is possible! I have wanted a custom nose ring made. Let us know if you find someone to do it.

  16. Jori Says:

    I just had my nose pierced yesterday and so far I’m pretty happy with it! I watched a lot of youtube vids of people having it done, and I read up on aftercare and possible problems. My piercer was great, and I did my research on where to get it done, and I am very happy with the outcome. (It definitely hurt, so I’m going to take the best care of it that I can…I don’t want to re-pierce!) I bought a saltwater spray at the shop, and the only care I am doing is spraying it 3-6 times per day (today I did 6), letting it dry and then gently cleaning with a wet cotton swab. It has lifted a few times but I haven’t turned it.

    Also, I am at the tail end of a cold, so I am spitting (fun, huh?) but I’ve also had some success by blowing my nose straight into the sink (no tissue – just plug the other nostril and blow hard to expel mucus while aiming into the sink) and then rinsing with water and blotting with TP to dry.

    I have a flesh-colored stud in right now. I want to be discreet because of my job, although they don’t mind me having it, but then when it’s healed I can change it as needed. My piercing shop (HTC of Phoenix, AZ) had the flesh colored L-shaped screw in stock, so they used it for my initial piercing and I will wear it for at least 8 weeks or until it’s healed.

    I’m considering doing a video and blog about this. I know I was SUPER curious, so all the info that’s out there is very helpful!

    Thanks for writing this blog!

    • Thinking Woman Says:

      Great tips – the snort into sink and the salt water. Never heard of flesh colored. Clever while you’re adjusting and healing! Have fun finding a fun piece of nose jewelry!

  17. Thinking Woman Says:

    So I have no idea why I didn’t say this in the first place. I think I was in denial. They freaking pierced me in the wrong place. I had them mark my nose and I was sort of arguing with the woman. I kept showing her where, right at the base of the nostril, there is a sort of a corner indentation. And she marked it ON my nostril. Well duh, of course my nose rings all hang too low and look like a booger. It’s a few years since I had it done so I’m not about to redo it but I’d kind of blocked this bit out and figured this was normal but it’s not. Grrr. I will have to figure out who can make me a custom nose ring with a smaller curlicue so it doesn’t dangle. Any leads, anyone?

    • Synn Says:

      try checking out etsy.com. there are lots of adorable rings and the such there, and when they make them, they might be able to make the post shorter. good luck πŸ™‚

  18. purplediva Says:

    Hey!!! I’m 43 and I just got my nose pirced yesterday. LOVE it!!

    My kids think it’s pretty cool. Yaay!

    My plan was to get a purple stud but I read several places about studs getting caught on things like hair and wash cloths.

    I wasn’t banking on the little ball though. It feels like a bugger inside my nose, it’s bigger around than I thought it would be and it looks sorta strange. But I would do it again in a heartbeat, no doubt about it. It doesn’t feel as much like a bugger nor does it look as odd today. I’m actually wondering whatelse I might have pierced….

  19. DivaNailz Says:

    Glad I found your blog, I’m 45 and just got my nose pierced yesterday and I love it. My husband had a fit of course but we have no kids and I am tired of feeling old! My friends think I’m nuts but I think they are jealous. Thanks for the cleaning tips, I have the ugly “starter” ring in for now can’t wait to get a cute little stud!

  20. nice blog and thx for information, congratulations you already have a good blog. I’ll share my blog had

  21. Cindy Says:

    I found your site because I was searching for a solution to constantly having to turn my nose ring around so it doesn’t hang out of the bottom of my nostril…ugh! I too think it is because my piercing was done too close to the bottom of my nose. Has anyone had success with putting a bigger (or smaller) guage size jewelry in? I got mine pierced 3 months ago and I’m still having issues with healing, because I keep poking it back in my nose with a Q-tip, which of, course keeps irritating the healing process. Anyway, I too am in my 40’s, so you are never too old! Great blog with good info for those thinking about getting a nose piercing.

  22. Tawny Says:

    I’ve had mine since I was 14 years old and am now 32. My mom signed for mine at Claire’s in Anchorage Alaska. IDK if you can do it there anymore…but, mine is done perfectly! Never had an issue w/mine ans still love it. My mom is considering getting one now!

  23. Dixie Shipley Says:

    I had mine pierced 3 weeks and I thought I was supposed to be turning the screw. Unfortunately, the stone went down into the hole. I pushed it back up and it does not do it unless I would turn it which I won’t do again. However, now I’m worried I won’t be able to wear tiny studs because the hole will be too big. I plan to go back to the piercer in a few days when I’m back in the area, but I’m wondering if anyone has any information for me.

    Thanks.

  24. Katz Says:

    Ok ladies, I always wanted a nose piercing but was not able because of my State job. Retired a few years ago and can do as I want now without someone saying it’s not proffessional!
    I am going to be 63 yrs. old in Oct. and just had my nose done 3 weeks ago. Just love it. The ring is a fishtail surgical steel with small ball. I use nothing but sea salt water on a Q-tip twice a day. Not sore, feels great.
    One thing I learned is because I snore & am a nose breather the inside bent tail vibrates which causes it to tickle while I sleep so I rub my nose during sleep which causes the thing to fall out some, but no problem putting it back in.
    The pain was almost equal to having that last push during delivery of a baby.
    By the way got my first tattoo at 60 yrs.

  25. Katz Says:

    Have fun you only live once!!!

  26. I got my nose pierced say, almost a week ago. I got a little stud, but I’m actually a little worried about it sinking in.. If that’s not weird. :/ It just seems like it keeps sinking into my nose, and it actually worries me a little bit. I am considering going back to where it was done to see if there is some other jewelry they can give me that’s maybe not ugly but is a little bigger? I don’t know, we shall see haha. πŸ™‚

  27. Mary-Joe Marcon Says:

    Thank you for the very informative information!

  28. Astrid Says:

    Got mine done last year at 42. I guess I had a really good piercer (I did a lot of research), because mine was about as painful as a blood draw–which is to say, not very. I did bang it around a bit trying to clean my nose, though, and had some problems with the dreaded “bump.” When I went back to the piercer recently to swap out a ring for the stud (he offered to autoclave the new jewelry and swap it out for me free of charge), he rebent the stud to make it fit a bit better. I keep meaning to try it now, but I’m sort of attached to the little gold ring . . . .

    I really love my piercing. I wanted to do it back in college, but circumstances prevented it . . . and then it got too popular. Now, I figure it’s mostly the thousands of 14 year olds who have videos of their piercing experiences on YouTube and me. And since I don’t really spend a lot of time with 14 year olds . . . it’s pretty much just me. And, uh, all of you!

    If any of you are considering piercing and are in the Chicago area, I totally recommend my piercer. Feel free to email and I’ll share details.

  29. Ivy Says:

    Thanks for the funny post! I had my nose pierced a month ago and my nose is starting to feel swollen. And it looks like the nose ring is getting sucked into the side of my face!! I can barely see it anymore. Looking for a solution and this made my laugh. Gonna google a new ring too. I hate this backing!! How does anyone keep the boogers out of the holes?!? Ugh!!! But my students think my piercing is cool. Guess its a win after all.

  30. Thinking Woman Says:

    I had abandoned this blog for a years but the comments keep coming in so I just approved a round. Keep ’em coming! Update for me is I am now using a straight stud with a ball on the end. The bottom doens’t dangle out. It’s a bear to get the thing in but once it’s in, the ball is big enough that it stays in! They cost about a buck on Amazon! I so happy!

    • bbg Says:

      Found this blog while googling nose piercings “over 40.” I am 45 and have wanted to pierce my nose for quite some time. Over the years, I worried that I was too old for such a piercing, or that I would receive negative reations from my conservative husband, family, employer . . . . But I’ve recently reached a point where I am “over” being a worrywart and am ready to do this “for me.” Have decided to take the plunge into facial piercing tomorrow. Wish me luck!

  31. Laura Says:

    Yes, another comment on your blog! Got mine done two days ago. It’s sore and I hate the long straight pin inside my nose. Looking forward to getting it healed and having an actual stud to use. Would you post the link to the Amazon stud you bought? I think I might buy it for later use. Thank you! (This was the most informative post I’ve found on nose-piercing aftercare, btw. Better than my shop’s site!)

  32. Cindy Says:

    I like this blog – nice to read of all the successes. I had my nose pierced yesterday – everyone including my kids was quite shocked I did it. Always wanted to get it done – turning 49 in Thursday and said what the heck. I have a pearl stud and it seems a bit big, but I am looking forward to having a little stone when it heals. If it works out fine, if not I will remove it. It is that simple.


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