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We live in society whereby piercings are a normal fashion statement, particularly ear piercings, which have had waves of fashionability for centuries. Gone are the days where an eyebrow or a septum ring catches eyes everywhere as people have become more accustomed to their appearance on a face. Here we'll talk about the particulars of nose piercings and how you should care for them to maintain piercing health and integrity.
There are many different ways to pierce your nose, but the two most common ways are the standard nostril piercing, which is low on the side of your nose, or the septum, which pierces through a membrane in the middle of your nose. For more information about other types of nose piercings, click here.
With a nostril piercing, usually a high quality stud/pin is used, consisting of 14 or 18k gold or something like titanium or platinum. These can have a tiny jewel setting or shape at the end, which is the part you see on the nostril. The length of the post is usually 1/4 inch, which allows for swelling and cleaning and may have a curved end, which holds it in place in your nostril. Some people prefer to go with a small loop or circular barbell.
The most popular type of nose stud is the Twist. These come in many different styles and should sit securely on your nostril.
The L-post is an alternative to the twist, with a 90-degree bend at the end to hold it in place. It is usually a choice for those having trouble getting a twist post through the piercing.
The bone stud has a straight post with a little bulb on the inside end that will usually hold it in place. This isn't as secure as the bent end posts, but they are very popular as they are considered most comfortable. These are best for healed piercings.
The pin is a straight post stud, which is an option for those that don't find a good fit with the other types of posts. It is usually placed through the piercing and then the inside part of the post is physically bent into an L-shape to hold it in place.
There are also hoop nose rings, incomplete hoop nose rings and faux hoop nose rings, which are like a cross between a hoop and a pin and appear as a hoop on the outside, but have the curved bar inside for comfort and to hold it in place.
Septum piercings are the next most popular nose piercing. One advantage of having your septum done is that you can usually hide the fact that you have it pierced with the right kind of jewellery such as a septum retainer, which may be useful if you have a dress code at work or and old fashioned grandmother.
As with nostril jewellery, there are different types for that of the septum. The septum clicker consists of a ring with a hinged bar that goes through the piercing and clicks into place on the other side.
Similarly, a seamless ring clicks into place in this fashion, but the bar and the ring are seamless and appear as an unbroken ring. A circular barbell is a common choice and is a bar shaped into an incomplete circle with features such as balls, arrows or beads on the end. Or, you can get a complete hoop with is joined with a bead.
So if you've figured out what type of piercing and what type of jewellery you want and have worked up the guts to inflict pain on yourself for the greater good of looking awesome, now you need to think about how to care for your piercing.
The main thing you need to be aware of post-piercing is infection. Piercings can and do get infected with bacteria, which can be painful and can result in a need to remove the jewellery and get medical treatment. This can usually be avoided if care is taken in the following way: Avoid touching the piercing unnecessarily as your hands are a breeding ground for infection-causing bacteria. When you do need to touch it for cleaning purposes, make sure you wash your hand thoroughly with hot, soapy water first. Use sterile saline rinses and possibly non-fragranced soap if your piercer advises to clean. Avoid alcohol solutions, hydrogen peroxide and anti-bacterial creams as these can cause skin irritation. Avoid baths and other bodies of water as these can introduce infection and keep beauty products away from the opening.
If the piercing becomes irritated or swollen, it is best to seek medical advise. Sometimes, if it is caused by allergy, you may get away with changing to a different metal type such as surgical steel or titanium, which are hypo-allergenic. If the infection is severe, you may be advised to remove the jewellery and let it heal. For more information regarding infection of piercings, click here.