Ah, unconventional piercings. The septum piercing has had many a moment on celebrities like Jessica Biel and Lady Gaga. And if you are thinking about taking the plunge because a fake septum piercing like Rihanna's isn't doing it for you, here's all the critical intel on piercing the space between your nostrils.
The best thing about a septum piercing — and the pretty septum jewelry that comes with it— is that it's not permanent. It doesn't leave much of a trace if you decide to take the ring out for good, either. But that doesn't mean it's something to do on a whim. Like any piercing, it requires care, respect, and a proper healing period.
A septum piercing definitely looks really cool and is a unique accessory that can add a little edge to your overall look. You can go big, small, outrageous, or classic with it. It's also a versatile piercing that can be easily hidden from your boss, your parents, or anyone else you may not want to see it.
If you want to get in touch with your punk rock side and pierce your septum, there are lots of things you need to think about before doing the deed. These are the major factors to take into consideration when thinking of piercing that septum.
1. The Pain
A piercing is a piercing is a piercing. It breaks the skin. It's going to hurt. But it's not agonizing.
"It's pretty much similar to a regular nose piercing," Tiny Tatz, a piercer with several years of experience at Addicted to Ink in White Plains, New York, says. "It feels like you have to sneeze or like when you get hit in the nose and your eyes water for a split second."
Tiny Tatz noted that it's tough to do from a piercers perspective, since there "is a certain area where you they have to go under the cartilage. It is difficult since you get between two nostrils, but you have to make sure you are not piercing the nostril, and certain tools are used." So make sure you're going to someone with decent experience.
2. The Healing Process
Everyone heals differently. But Tiny Tatz says that the healing period customarily lasts between six-to-eight weeks and the jewelry should not be changed before that. So allow your septum piercing the proper time to heal.
Celebrity piercer Brian Keith Thompson of Body Electric Tattoo in Hollywood concurs, telling Bustle, "You need to wait for six-to-eight weeks with any piercing to let the healing happen. Changing it too soon can just add insult to injury, complications, scaring, and excess bleeding."
Thompson, who has pierced Beyonce and Emma Stone, also stresses that you need to know what you are getting yourself into and commit to the time frame in order to heal.
"Patience is everything with any type of piercing," he says. "You have to have the maturity and the patience to complete the healing process."
The aftercare regimen is simple. Leave it be. Leave it still. Leave it alone. Don't play with it. But if you must touch it, make sure your hands are clean.
"I recommend that clients get pierced with a horseshoe and leave it down. Some people get it and then have to flip it up right away because of work or not wanting to show it off. If you do have to move and flip [the jewelry], soak it with some warm water first to move it around so it's not pulling or crusty, creating a new wound," said Tiny Tatz. Other than that, clean it with an anti-bac soap twice a day for two or three weeks.
What if you get sick of your septum piercing and want to let it go? That's fine. The hole will close after you remove the jewelry... eventually. The longer you have had the piercing, the longer it will take to close. But it will close.
"How long it takes to close is relative the person," Thompson explains, citing genetics and the health of your skin as factors that affect that very process. "It could take two weeks to a month to close up."
That means you need to be patience when you get the piercing and when you part with it.
There's a secret "benefit" to a septum piercing. If you remove your jewelry and let the hole close, it doesn't leave a visible scar.
"Life leaves a scar," Thompson jokes when asked about the type of scar a septum piercing leaves behind. "Yes, all piercings will leave a scar. Scarring is relative to the person, as well. But with a septum piercing, since you can't see it, here's nothing much to worry about."
6. There Are Trends
Septum piercing trends have changed over time. While Tiny Tatz uses surgical steel for her piercings, she cites infinity rings as a trend.
"It looks endless," she says. "It doesn't have a bead in it or any opening or clasp. It looks like an endless circle."
Gold and decorative designs, like flowers, have also had a moment. At the end of the day, the jewelry chosen for the septum is purely based on preference.
"Whatever you want to go with, go with. It can be interchangeable so you don't have to stick to one style," Tiny Tatz said.
Thompson states that septum piercings "hit peak popularity in 2015 and 2016" in his practice. He says that it's not as common nowadays and he does about two per week rather than the 10 to 12 per day he was doing a few years ago.
7. Ring Size Matters
The perfect size of the jewelry depends on the size and shape of your sniffer — and the size of your nose may dictate whether a septum piercing will look good on you.
"A girl came in with a deviated septum and wanted to know if a septum piercing would look right," Tiny Tatz said. "If your nose is not symmetrical enough, it might not look right. Ask your piercer about how they think it will look first. Put in a piece of jewelry to test it out, to see if you really like how it looks and if you really want it."
8. Research Responsibly
This is the most important thing Tiny Tatz said. Research responsibly! If you want a septum piercing, make sure the person doing it is reputable.
"Do a little research about the place you get it done," she suggested. "It is a difficult piercing to do, so do research on your piercers. Make sure they have done it before and look at portfolio of their work. You want to make sure it is done properly."