Everything To Know Before Getting a Septum Piercing

January 20, 2022
By: Makeup.com | Makeup.com by L'Oréal
Everything To Know Before Getting a Septum Piercing

Once upon a time, a septum piercing was synonymous with the aesthetic of punk rockers, grunge and rebellious teenagers. But these days, this particular piercing has become the new “it” accessory for everyone. Just take a look at your TikTok and Instagram feed — just about every cool kid and celebrity is flaunting a trendy hoop in their nose.

Thinking about taking the plunge yourself? We chatted with Christian Verrette, celebrity head piercer and owner of Pése Noir in Atlanta, to get the full scoop about the trendy nose piercing. Below, find everything you need to know before going under the needle — from the cost to pain levels and everything in between.

What is a septum piercing?

For those unfamiliar with a septum piercing, it’s a piercing that runs through your septum, aka a thin wall of cartilage that separates your nostrils. According to Verrette, the piercing (when done right) shouldn’t penetrate the cartilage. Instead, the needle should go through the “sweet spot,” which as he explains, is an “area inside the nostril that sits just beneath the hard septum wall and just above the nostril opening.”

How much does a septum piercing cost? 

Cost depends on who does the procedure and the jewelry. For instance, the service fee for creating the hole at Verrette’s studio is typically between $20 and $35, but the cost of jewelry to adorn the hole can vary depending on the type of jewelry you choose. 

So, if you just want titanium circular or stainless steel barbells — both are the most common and safest metal choices to use — Verrette typically charges between $40 and $60. But if you wanted something glitzier, say something made of gold or with ornaments, expect to pay more.

How are septum piercings done?

There are two commonly used methods for a septum piercing: the freehand to receiving tube method and the septum clamp method. “For both, you start off with jewelry selection and then the jewelry is properly sterilized,” explains Verrette. “The client is also cleaned and prepped.”

The freehand to receiving tube method involves aligning a needle and receiving tube on either side of the “sweet spot” and pressing the needle safely into the receiving tube to avoid any pricks. The clamping method, on the other hand, involves placing a septum clamp on the “sweet spot” and inserting a needle through it. “Either method is sufficient,” says Verrette. “It’s solely the preference of the piercer, but I personally prefer the freehand to receiving tube method. It’s a very smooth penetration.” 

Can anyone get a septum piercing?

Obviously, every person has a nose unique to their face — and that could become a factor when getting the procedure done. “Not everyone is eligible for this piercing,” says the pro, noting that “proper anatomy is required. There has to be enough room to allow for a proper piercing.” 

Not to mention, “the width of a septum determines the appropriate size of jewelry,” says Verrette. “You always want to make sure that you only pierce the appropriate anatomy, and that the jewelry is properly sized.”

What is the pain and healing time of a septum piercing?

There's good news and bad news. We’ll spill with the bad news first: Getting a septum piercing is not for the faint of heart. The good news? “All piercings have a degree of pain and discomfort,” explains Verrette, “but when done properly, the septum piercing tends to be reported on the lower side of the pain scale relative to other piercings.” Either way, Verrette always has a tissue on hand: “They’ll probably be a crocodile tear or two,” he jokes.

As for the healing time, expect your nose to get back into tip-top shape in about six to eight weeks. “A general consensus is around the two-month marker, which is a relatively short heal time compared to other piercings,” says Verrette.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Gentle Facial Cleanser

What is septum piercing aftercare like?

“Septums are interesting because the piercing is inside the nasal cavity, meaning it’s coated in mucus on a regular basis,” says Verrette. “The job of mucus is to keep bacteria from entering your body, which actually makes a great protector for your piercing.” 

When it comes to cleansing the area, Verrette recommends dipping the tip of your nose with the piercing into a bit of soapy water pooled in your hand and giving a good blow. “That should give your piercing a thorough rinse without drying out your nose, causing unnecessary irritation,” he says. “[Doing it] once a day is sufficient,” he advises, but you shouldn’t do it more than twice a day for the duration of the healing time. 

A cleanser, such as the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar, is gentle enough to use around the piercing and will ensure the area is sterilized. Another good option is the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Gentle Facial Cleanser. It’s formulated with good-for-skin ingredients (hello, prebiotic thermal spring water and ceramide-3!) that are ideal for those with sensitive skin.

Are there any side effects from getting your septum pierced?

As with most piercings, there could be some side effects — but that’s why it’s important to take proper care of it. “If the piercing has been done properly and you keep it free of contaminants, the chances of infection are really low,” says Verrette. That being said, infection is a possibility for all open wounds, but with the proper aftercare, Verrette says it’s “extremely unlikely” for the piercing not to heal well with time.

As for scarring? “Mild scar tissue is a possibility with any open wound,” he adds, “but I’ve never seen an abnormal or severe case in the history of my career, plus who can see inside your nose?”

How do you change or remove a septum piercing?

One thing to keep in mind about septum piercings is that you can’t change the hole, but you can change the jewelry in the piercing. Verrette says you can start swapping out your initial jewelry once the hole is fully healed and comfortable to touch. The process only takes about ten minutes but also depends on the style of jewelry.

“I recommend you change it as often as desired, as adorning jewelry is an act of creative expression,” says Verrette. “I don’t believe human beings are static, so their jewelry shouldn’t be either.”

Bonus: While the septum piercing is definitely a bold look to rock, it can also be very subtle. “I love that it’s so cheeky,” Verrette adds of his favorite piercing. “Oftentimes, you don’t even know that people have them because by just flipping the jewelry up into your nostrils, it becomes hidden from the world, making it your little piercing secret.”

Photo: Ariel Wodarcyk

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