The Septum Piercing: Awesome Pictures Plus Everything you Need to Know

By Tephanie Stephenson / April 9, 2018
swarovski ring for septum piercing
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The septum piercing is one of the most coveted facial piercings. It is mostly sported by girls, but thousands of boys also tend to go for this type of piercing. It really is a versatile piercing and a great accessory for self-expression.

Today, we will go on a deep dive with septum piercings. We will discuss everything that you need to know about it including its history, how to prepare for the piercing, the healing process, how to clean it and what to avoid, pain levels, how much it costs, risks, and of course, the proper aftercare.

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The Meaning and History Of Septum Piercings

Septum piercings all started in India back in the 1500s. Indian women are huge fans of jewelry and piercings, most especially nose piercings. Most women opt for the real deal, wherein they really have their septum pierced to don a beautiful jewelry. For those who are scared of the pain and commitment, they tend to go for the temporary fake ring.

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A beautiful septum piercing for a girl.

beautiful septum piercing

Different regions in India have different beliefs when it comes to the septum piercing. Some believe that the septum nose ring symbolizes a woman that is at the right age to get married, while in some areas, it is gifted to them by their family as a symbol of security.

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In other parts of India, the septum nose ring means that the woman is taken or married and that she is completely off the market.

Septum piercings were also popular with the African and Mesoamerican civilizations. Tribal people love donning huge rings and even pigs’ leg bones to look fierce and strong. For the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayans, septum piercings were meant to symbolize the water and sun gods.

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For the Aborigines in Australia, the septum piercing is used to flatten one’s nose, which for them is a sign of beauty and grace.

For most people today, the septum piercing is just something that they add to their piercing collection. They find it cute and beautiful, which is why they decide to get it. For people from all over the world though, septum piercings have a deep history and meaning.

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Septum Piercing: What is it Exactly?

A classic septum piercing on a woman.

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Septum piercings are done on the nose, specifically on the septum. It goes in the center of the tip of your nose, exactly between your nostrils. The needle will go through the skin on one side and out on the other, just like any other piercing.

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Unfortunately, not everyone can get a septum piercing. Some people suffer from a deviated septum, which means that the bone and cartilage that divides the nose’s nasal cavity is not in the center or is visibly crooked. Piercing a deviated septum is not a good idea as the piercing will only look crooked and uneven. Ask your piercer and doctor beforehand to make sure that you are clear to undergo a septum piercing.

What to Expect During the Piercing

Like we have mentioned earlier, your piercer will have to take a good look at your septum first before deciding that you can go ahead and undergo the piercing. If you have a deviated septum, then you would have no other choice but to abort the appointment and go home.

If you do not have a deviated septum and the piercer clears you up for the piercing, you can now go ahead and sign all of the papers that he asks you to. This is a legal documentation that you are, indeed, giving them consent to do this piercing on you and that they will be clear if anything else happens to you or your nose. This is usually a best practice that’s being done by almost every piercer and artist.

Once all that’s done, you can go ahead and pick the right jewelry that you think would look best on your septum. Pick wisely, as you would have to wear this for a couple of weeks before you are allowed to change it.

A big and beautiful type of jewelry for a septum piercing.

Next, the piercer will then sterilize the jewelry and disinfect the area on your nose that will be pierced. They will then take a needle and prep you for the sharp pain that’s about to come. Once the needle is in, they will take the clean jewelry and insert it on your septum.

After all that, you are good to go! Just remember to always follow the aftercare to make sure that your piercing will heal completely.

How to Clean the Piercing

Using a saline solution to clean your piercing would be your best bet during the healing process.

To make your own saline solution, you should have a bottle of distilled water and sea salt. Mix them together and spray it on your piercing to clean it. You can also dip your piercing in a bowl of the mixture.

Lastly, pat the area dry to avoid any crusties from forming. Alternatively, you can also ask your piercer if they have a saline solution for sale.

What Type of Jewelry Should I Choose?

Choosing the right type of jewelry for your septum piercing will help it heal faster. Starter septum jewelry is often made of titanium or surgical stainless steel.

A small and classic jewelry for a septum piercing.

blonde girl with septum piercing

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If you are looking for a jewelry that you can hide whenever you need to, then go ahead and choose a septum retainer. This can be flipped from the inside of your nose to the outside so you can still be work-appropriate even with a septum piercing on.

If you are not worried about showing it off, then choose a bull-ring style captive bead ring or a septum pincher. Ask your piercer to give you a smaller gauge, somewhere between 12g and 16g to help your piercing heal faster.

You can opt to go for a heavier gauge later on if you want to stretch your piercing out. If you are unsure about changing the jewelry on your own, then go back to your piercer and have them change it for you instead. This ensures a safer and foolproof way of changing to a different jewelry.

How Do I Prepare for the Piercing?

There are certain things that you would have to do before going ahead and having your piercing done. Make sure to follow these tips to avoid any type of problem or infection in the future.

A close-up shot of a septum piercing done on a lady.

Finding a Piercer

The first thing that you would have to do is find a reputable piercer that can do the job for you. Look for one that has a clean and hygienic shop to help you avoid contracting an infection. If you cannot find someone who you think you can completely trust, then go ahead and ask your friends for recommendations.

Determining if the Piercing is Worth a Shot

Think about the implications that involve your septum piercing. Is it allowed at work? Do your parents approve of it? Will the piercing be a hindrance to your day-to-day activities?

If the answer to all of the questions above is no, then reconsider your decision and think about it a thousand times more. If you think you have a solution to each one of these things, then go ahead and do it.

Check for Allergies

One thing that you would have to do before getting a piercing done is to check with your doctor if you are allergic to any type of metal. If your family has a long-running history of metal allergies, then chances are you have it, too.

Go see a doctor or dermatologist to have an allergy testing done on you. If the test comes back positive for a certain type of metal, then it would be best to steer clear of that type of metal when it comes to your jewelry. Ask your piercer for a metal that you are not allergic to so you won’t have to go back and have it replaced again.

Make Sure that you are Healthy

Piercings can take a lot longer to heal when you are unhealthy. Make sure that you are completely healthy and flu-free before going on for a septum piercing.

If you find yourself sick on the day of the appointment, go ahead and reschedule it for another day. Your piercer will understand, so there is no need to worry.

Do Septum Piercings Hurt?

Every type of piercings will hurt at one point or another. A sharp and foreign needle will pierce through your body and flesh so naturally, it will hurt.

A septum piercing along with a couple of nose and medusa piercings.

cute septum piercing

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The Pain Level

However, for septum piercings, the pain level is not that high (at least compared to other facial piercings). Once that needle pierces through your nose, you will get a very sharp pain and you’ll feel like you have to sneeze. Your eyes will most likely tear up, as it is connected to your nose.

Your septum does not have a lot of nerve endings, plus, it does not have any cartilage as well. This makes it easier and faster to pierce and the recovery will be much quicker compared to an industrial piercing, for example.

For most people, the general pain level of a septum piercing is at around 4 to 6 out of 10. It is typically low compared to other piercings and also remember that all that pain will be over in just a few seconds.

Will it Hurt More than Other Piercings?

Based on the people who got the piercing, the septum piercing tends to hurt more than an earlobe, navel, tongue, and lip piercing. It is more sensitive since it is connected to the eye, which may be the cause to this.

However, the septum will definitely hurt less than an industrial, nipple, or genital piercing. The recovery period will also take a lot faster.

How Long Will the Septum Piercing Hurt?

The sharp and initial pain will only last for a few seconds – that is if you have a trained and professional piercer doing your piercing. This is one of the reasons why it is very important to choose someone that you can completely trust.

The pain will not go away immediately and you will most likely feel a throbbing pain and tenderness right after the piercing. The throbbing will most likely be gone after a day or two, while the tenderness can last for a couple of weeks until the wounds have completely healed.

How to Make your Piercing Heal Faster

You surely want your piercing to heal faster, so you can go back to your usual day-to-day life. Read our tips and follow those to make sure that your septum piercing’s healing time will not be delayed.

Actress Zoe Kravitz donning a septum piercing.

Be Cautious

If you develop a cold during your healing process and you have to blow it, make sure to do it gently and use a clean tissue. Never reuse tissues, as this can only help the bacteria harbor on your piercing.

You must also remember not to play with your jewelry, as this could further irritate the piercing. You are only allowed to touch it during the cleaning process. Make sure that your hands are clean and washed before doing so.

Avoid Thinning your Blood

Certain things such as alcohol, caffeine, and aspirin can thin your blood. Excessive use of these things can lead to excessive bleeding, which, of course, you want to avoid.

Make sure to steer clear of these things during the healing process to avoid your piercing from bleeding too much.

Do not Bathe too Long in Communal Swimming Pools

Communal baths including public swimming pools, jacuzzis, and any other form of water that’s being shared can contaminate your piercing. Bacteria and other forms of microorganisms are always present in communal baths. This can be harmful to your piercing as these things can easily sneak up on your wound as it is still open.

Avoid Applying Soap

Most soaps can be drying, and the last thing that you’d want is to dry up your healing piercing. Avoid applying the soap directly to your piercing and rubbing it. Just let the water with soap run through it and rinse it well.

Other things to avoid directly putting on your piercing are oils, balms, creams, lotions, and ointments. These can clog up your wound, which can contribute to the bacteria entering it easily.

For cleaning your piercing, make sure to use saline water.

Wait before Changing your Jewelry

Avoid changing your jewelry abruptly. Wait for a couple of months, preferably around six to eight months before attempting to change your jewelry.

Changing the jewelry right away can only lead to it being irritated and the area could even form keloids and scars if you force the new jewelry in.

If you really want to change your jewelry, make sure to visit your piercer and have him change it. But even this is not advisable.

Avoid Smoking

If you can avoid smoking altogether while your piercing is healing, then that would be great. If you can’t, at least try substituting it with patches, candies, lozenges, or even a nicotine gum. You can also try switching to electronic cigarettes during the course of the healing period.

Nicotine can contribute to the slow healing of wounds due to its systemic effect on our bodies.

How Long do I have to wait for it to Heal?

The good news is that septum piercings take shorter to heal compared to other piercings. It typically heals at around six to eight weeks, depending on your condition.

However, the healing period can change due to a lot of factors. You have to follow the tips that we have mentioned above to make sure that your septum piercing will heal right away.

Vogue features a woman with an amazing septum piercing.

Another thing to note is that you must get a professional and experienced piercer to do the job. If your piercer accidentally misses on the fleshy part below your nose cartilage, you can expect your piercing to heal longer – probably around six to eight months.

Make sure to interview your piercer before getting them to do the piercing for you.

How Much Do I Have to Shell Out for a Septum Piercing?

Prices for the septum piercing differ in every country. Even in the United States, there is no definite price, as every piercer charges differently. There are a lot of things that they have to take into consideration including their skill level, experience, and the type of jewelry that they will use on you.

In the United States though, you can get a septum piercing for around $40 to $90. The cost is on the higher scale, as the piercer has to be skilled enough to tell if you can get a septum piercing and that you do not have a deviated septum.

Risks of Getting a Septum Piercing

Like any other piercing, getting a septum piercing comes with a few risks and complications. Make sure to follow your piercer’s aftercare advice to make sure that you will be free of any infections.

Nasal Septal Hematoma

The biggest and the scariest complication that involves getting a piercing is having a nasal septal hematoma after. This can contribute to a difficulty in breathing, as well as facial deformity.

One way to know if you are developing nasal septal hematoma is to look for signs of extreme swelling and feelings of pressure on the area. Also, if you have a cold that won’t go away and you are feeling extremely stuffy, especially for long periods of time, then go ahead and visit your doctor to confirm if it is, indeed, nasal septal hematoma.

Getting one is extremely rare though, so before you jump to conclusions, make sure to ask and confirm with your doctor.

Diseases from Unsterilized Needles

Getting diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis are high if you go to an unprofessional and unhygienic piercer. The risks of Hepatitis and HIV could be present if your piercer reuses a needle, which is a big no-no in the piercing world.

To avoid getting diseases as such, make sure to look for a high-quality and experienced piercer in your area. You can also ask for recommendations from friends to make sure that the one you are going to is completely safe and registered.

Ask your piercer to use a brand new and sterilized needle before poking it on your nose. It’s always better safe than sorry.

Irritation

Facial wash containing alcohol should be eliminated during your piercing’s healing period. Alcohol can easily irritate your piercing and can cause it to swell up.

Switch to a gentle and non-irritating facial wash such as Cetaphil during your healing period. Also, make sure not to splash water directly on your face and use a washcloth instead to wash your face for the meantime.

Signs and Symptoms of a Septum Piercing Infection

An open wound is always susceptible to an infection. As we have mentioned above, there are a couple of things that can contribute to your piercing getting infected such as if you get exposed to harmful microorganisms, if you haven’t been taking care of it properly, or if the piercer gets the piercing wrong.

If you have the following symptoms that we will mention below, then go ahead and visit your doctor right away.

A model donning a septum piercing on the runway.

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Extreme Swelling

Extreme swelling on the area that’s been pierced is one sign that it is, in fact, infected. If your septum area is swelling severely, then there is a high chance that your jewelry will cut into your skin. This can eventually lead to an infection so if this happens, make sure to visit your doctor and ask them how to remove the pressure right away.

Thick Discharge

If a thick and yellow discharge is coming out of your piercing, then there is a huge chance that it is infected. The discharge is most especially pus, and having this come out of your septum piercing is not normal. Make sure to check with your doctor if this happens.

Pain and Tenderness

Pain and tenderness are both normal during the first few weeks of the healing process. However, if it persists over the course of a few months and it does not go away, even the slightest bit, then chances are you have an infection.

It would be best to just remove the jewelry to avoid infecting it any further, but you can go and ask a doctor for alternative advice.

Fever

Now, this one is usually a bad sign. A fever might mean that your infection has spread all throughout your body and that you might need to go to an emergency room ASAP. Your nurse or doctor might give you antibiotics to keep the fever and infection down.

Septum Piercings for Women

The majority of people who get septum piercings are women. As mentioned above, Indian women tend to get piercings to show that they are taken and unavailable for marriage. In other parts of India though, having a septum piercing has a different meaning.

A fly/wasp/bee jewelry used for septum piercing.

For other women in different parts of the world, getting a septum piercing is more of making a statement. It can also be a form of self-expression and femininity.

Septum Piercings for Men

Though women are more accustomed to getting a septum piercing, some men also find it sexy and badass.

A classical septum piercing on a man.

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Some male tribe members use animal leg bone as a jewelry for their septum piercings to denote their strength and masculinity.

Some men from all over the world prefer getting it as the septum piercing is perceived as sexy and different.

Photos

You can go ahead and take inspiration from the photos that we have compiled below for you.

Go ahead and save them and show them to your piercer if you ever decide on getting pierced!

A flowery jewelry for a septum piercing.

A unique type of jewelry for a septum piercing.

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Tunnel and septum piercing on a man.

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Septum piercing and nose piercing on a woman.

A jewelry for a septum piercing that can be hidden for work and other events.

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A simple septum piercing for men.

A girl with lip and septum piercings.

A beautiful golden ring for a girl’s septum piercing.

gold ring for septum piercing

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A beautiful girl with a gold jewelry on her septum piercing.


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About the author

Tephanie Stephenson

Tephanie has extensive knowledge when it comes to body and facial piercings. She has seen it all – from nostril piercings all the way to nipple piercings. She has over 10 piercings including a nostril, medusa, eyebrow, tragus, earlobe, and industrial. She is an expert when it comes to cleaning piercings and keeping it infection-free. If you have got any questions for Tephanie about any type of piercing, comment it down below and she will get back to you in a jiffy!

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