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!!!!