Septum Piercing Guide: Pain, Healing Time, Aftercare, FAQs

Septum Piercing Guide

One of the most interesting parts of the body to pierce is the nose.

The nose can be pierced in seven different ways and whichever is chosen stands out because of how the nose is positioned at the very center of the human face.

The types of nose piercings include; septum piercing, nostril piercing, high nostril piercing, vertical tip piercing, bridge or surface piercing, nasal lang piercing, and septril piercing. The septum piercing amongst the previously mentioned will be discussed extensively here.

In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about septum piercing and answer a lot of your questions;

What Is A Septum Piercing?

The septum is the wall or cartilage in the nose that makes the even separation that forms the right and left nostrils. A septum piercing would in the simplest term be referred to as a piercing that is made by perforating the septum.

A septum piercing should not penetrate the cartilage, instead, it should pass through the softer part of the septum which is made of just tissue. This softer part of the septum is referred to as a sweet spot by piercers.

Septum piercings are arguably the most popular piercings in the world.

They have 162,000 monthly searches and almost two million hashtags on Instagram. Celebrities such as Rihanna, Kylie Jenner, Zendaya, Willow Smith, Bella Thorne, Lady Gaga, Bella Thorne, Amber Rose, Kat Graham, and Jordin Sparks have septum piercings, an explainable reason as to why it has gained popularity and become one of the most popular beauty trends.

Rihanna Septum Piercing
Image: Rihanna / Instagram.

A septum piercing is especially beautiful because of the range of jewelry types that can be used to adorn it. Several jewelry brands and small businesses find creative designs that can be used as septum rings. Amongst these are faux septum rings that are placed securely on the septum because of the presence of magnets in the rings, so a piercing is not needed in this instance.

Septum piercings are a great choice for persons who might want to take out their piercings later. When septum piercings are without jewelry, it’s impossible to know that they exist on a person’s nose, it also would not leave a mark that shows a piercing was previously there.

How Is A Septum Piercing Done? 

Ideally, the first step for every piercing would be to find a licensed piercer whom you are sure would have your health in consideration while piercing. The duration for getting a septum piercing done is really quick, it takes about two to three minutes to complete.

For a septum piercing, everyone’s noses are different and so the sweet spot-properly known as the columella- of the septum may be thinner or nonexistent in some people’s noses. For such persons, the piercer might have to pierce part of their cartilage and this would extend the piercing’s healing time.

After finding a licensed piercer, you can pick out your preferred jewelry while bearing in mind that you would be leaving it in throughout the healing time. Knowing this, you would have to choose your first jewelry wisely since it would stay in for a long while.

At the salon, you will be required to lay back in a recliner or any comfortable area where your head is relaxed and your septum is visibly facing the piercer.

Following this, the septum will be disinfected properly and the piercer would be required to wear clean disposable gloves to avoid bacteria making contact with the piercing.

Your piercer might use one of the following techniques; the freehand technique which involves the use of just a properly sterilized needle, the use of forceps to keep the nostrils open and a sterilized needle, or a hollow tube called the receiving tube which is meant to support the tissue and receive the needle as it passes through the septum.

For any of these techniques used, the jewelry is put in as the needle goes out of the piercing.

How Painful Is A Septum Piercing?

The level of pain experienced from a septum piercing varies from person to person. Your state of mind when getting pierced might also affect how the pain level turns out, it would hurt less if you are less focused on the pain factor and more on the fact that you are getting a new piercing.

However, if you are concerned and nervous about the pain, it’s most likely to hurt more.

Nathalie Emmanuel Septum Piercing
Image: Nathalie Emmanuel / Pinterest.

Your pain tolerance is another determinant of how much pain you’re likely to experience. Persons with high pain tolerance would feel less pain in comparison to persons with low pain tolerance. A septum piercing may hurt a lot at first but only for a short period of time.

When the needle makes contact with and passes through the septum, you feel what can be likened to a strong pinch and your eyes may water in response to the odd feeling from the needle’s contact with your skin. A septum piercing would however not hurt half as much as a nostril piercing since it has fewer nerve endings, the nerves are the sensitive ends likely to cause pain when pierced.

If a septum piercing is done on a nose with a deviated septum, it would not look symmetric and is certain to hurt more than others with an aligned septum. This is because the septum nerves might be hyperactive.

How Long Do Septum Piercings Hurt?

 In about two to three months, a septum piercing should have healed completely. The fact that a septum piercing is done on the sweet spot instead of the cartilage makes healing occur faster than it would in other parts of the body. The wound the piercing creates heals shortly because of the little amount of tissue needed to repair the skin of the columella.

During these two to three months, only the first to the third week of healing would hurt or cause discomfort.

It can in some cases take a septum piercing as long as six to eight months to completely heal.

This might be a result of getting a septum piercing that goes through your cartilage instead of the sweet spot. Cartilage piercings take longer to heal because it has lower blood flow and cannot bring the needed nutrients for healing as fast as other body parts.

For a quick and complication-free healing process, it is important to adhere strictly to aftercare instructions.

Do Septum Piercings Get Infected Easily?

Septum Piercing Aftercare Procedures to Follow

The Aftercare procedures for a septum piercing are simple and it would not be a chore to religiously adhere to them while your piercing heals.

You would need to clean your septum piercing thoroughly with a saline solution twice a day, every day. If you do not have a specially made saline solution for piercings, you can mix salt -preferably sea salt- in tea tree oil and clean water to serve this purpose. Using either of these dabbed unto a cotton ball, carefully press it against your septum piercing so it soaks the solution.

After thirty seconds, repeat this process with another cotton ball until you have cleaned your piercing for at least 5 minutes.

Having a mist spray containing the saline solution or homemade salt mixture is important, this would serve to disinfect the piercing by spraying it three to six times per day. Maintain proper hygiene while you nurse your septum to complete health to avoid infections or complications that would lengthen the normal healing period.

The only time you should make contact with your jewelry is when cleaning the septum piercing and that must be done with properly sanitized hands, you should consciously avoid playing with your jewelry to avoid exposing the piercing to bacteria. It would irritate your nose and most likely cause it to bleed if you make a habit out of twisting and touching it often while it’s healing.

  1. Swimming is off limits while your septum piercing is still fresh into the healing stage, dipping your head in a bubble bath should also be avoided as the bacteria in the water may cause infections for your piercing.
  2. When wiping your nose, use a clean tissue to gently dab or blow your nose to avoid irritating the piercing.
  3. You should avoid letting soap make direct contact with your septum piercing while bathing. The soap suds dripping past it are safe, but applying soap to your piercing will cause it to dry there and possibly clog the piercing.
  4. Ointments, creams, and balms will also clog the piercing hole or stimulate infections or irritations. The only oil safe to apply around your septum piercing is the tea tree oil.
  5. Do not try to switch your jewelry while your septum piercing is still in its healing phase. This might worsen the wound and lead to unnecessary complications.

Interestingly, even after complete healing of the septum, it is advisable to let your piercer change your jewelry as the area might still be very tender. As time progresses, the septum would strengthen and you can easily replace or switch your jewelry without the assistance of a piercer.

What Are The Pros Of A Septum Piercing?

A septum piercing’s benefits are mostly centered around how beautiful, edgy or cool they appear. But why want otherwise when that’s the point of getting one in the first place?

1. Easy To Find A Piercer

Being a popular piercing type, several piercers are adequately trained and experienced in getting the job done right when it comes to septum piercings. You still need to specifically look out for a licensed piercer to ensure you are in safe hands.

2. It Costs Less Than Other Piercings

A septum piercing -still as a result of its popularity and simplicity- costs less than other piercings. This is owing to it being a quick and uncomplicated process, unlike some other body piercings. You should however not purposely set out to look for the cheapest options, cheaper options might not be safe enough.

3. There Are Several Beautiful Jewelry Options

For septum piercings, there exists a wide range of jewelry options to choose from when trying to find your perfect pick. Trying to match your look on different days? Jewelry for septum piercings ranges from plain, edgy, cute, classy, trendy, to elegant and would match any look you pick.

Jessica Biel Septum Piercing
Image: The Telegraph

4. Easy to Conceal

Septum piercings are located at the bottom of the nose and the piercing hole can not be seen by simply looking at the person. In a situation where you need to be in an official gathering that does not permit piercings, or when you decide to close your piercing, it can be easily concealed because of its location.

5. They are less prone to infections

Infections are a common downside of piercings no matter where it is located. Fortunately, septum piercings are less likely to contract infections especially when they have completely healed, this is because they are located in the mucous membrane. The mucous membrane happens to be self-cleaning which keeps infections at bay. Most problems from septum piercings are a result of low-quality jewelry and rarely due to infections.

What Are The Cons Of Having A Septum Piercing?

Despite being undeniably trendy and unique, septum piercings have their fair share of disadvantages that should be taken into consideration as well. Below are the cons associated with having a septum piercing ;

1. The Piercer may miss the sweet spot

Having been mentioned repeatedly in the sections that precede this, it is without a doubt that the sweet spot is an important part of getting a septum piercing. It happens to be the reason why a septum piercing ends up not being a cartilage piercing despite being located right after the nose cartilage.

Missing the sweet spot and piercing the cartilage instead poses a major problem when getting pierced. Piercing the nose cartilage would make the healing process longer. It would also lead to irritations and if not properly cared for, infections.

2. It’s hard to blow your nose

Whether in the healing process of the septum piercing or after it has completely healed, trying to blow your nose is unnecessarily hectic. At some point, it’s frustrating enough that you would have to take out the jewelry to properly clear your nose.

3. It may cause unwanted attention/remarks

Several people with piercings often mention that they usually get crude remarks from people who dislike the idea of a septum piercing.

This should not count as a disadvantage because these people are entitled to their judgmental beliefs that should not affect your personal decision to accessorize your body with a piercing you want. However, here’s a heads up so that you can simply ignore these comments and live your life as you deem fit.

4. Your nose may have crusts and smell

In the earlier stages of getting your septum piercing, you will have crusts forming around your nose during the healing stage. You must not peel these, instead, you can use your tea tree oil to gently dab them. The nose might also start to smell if it is not properly cleaned with saline solution during the healing phase, the smell would turn out very discomforting for you in the end.

Septum Piercing FAQs

Can You Flip A Septum Piercing Up While It’s Healing?

Even though it is not advisable to fiddle with your jewelry, it is safe to flip your septum ring even in the healing phase. You have to wash and sanitize your hand before flipping it up and before flipping it back down.

Do Septum Piercings Get Infected Easily?

Septum piercings are not easily infected when compared to other piercings. This does not mean you should slack in following the aftercare procedures, being less prone does not mean they can not still be infected when neglected especially in the healing phase. The septum area must be kept clean at all times.

What Does A Septum Piercing Signify?

indian bride septum piercing

Recently, it is merely a means to adorn oneself. Historically, it has different meanings, for the Indians, a septum nose ring was gifted to a woman as an item of security. A septum ring in India could also mean that the woman is married and not searching. North American tribes saw the septum ring as a passage rite after a soul-searching journey through the wilderness.

What Happens If You Have No Septum?

If you do not have a septum or you have a very thin septum but still want to get a septum piercing, you would have to decide on getting the piercing done on your nose cartilage. The healing process will be longer and the piercing will hurt more, but a little price to pay for beauty isn’t it? With proper aftercare, it will still turn out perfect.

Are Septum Piercings Unhealthy?

Septum piercings are simply not an unhealthy choice. The risks invoked are low, the healing period is short, the pain is bearable, the aftercare is simple, and the risks of infection with proper aftercare are low as well. As long as titanium jewelry is used, irritations can be avoided in the early stages.

Why You Shouldn’t Pierce Your Own Septum?

For health and safety reasons it is important to opt for professional assistance when getting a septum piercing done. Do not choose the cheap or seemingly easier option by trying to practice it at home. The sweet spot is easy to miss even for piercers, how much more for an inexperienced person? You also risk getting an infection because you may not get it right on the first try or you could end up piercing your cartilage which will cause complications.

Are Septum Piercings Problematic?

Aside from the fact that your septum piercing will hurt and cause discomfort in the healing phase, septum piercings are not unnecessarily problematic. They are easy to manage and turn out to be worth the hassle when it completely heals.

Do Septum Piercings Affect Breathing?

Septum piercings on very rare occasions might result in a septal hematoma. This is a very dangerous condition that can affect breathing and in other cases lead to a facial deformity. Bear in mind that this is rare, your septum piercing will most likely be healthy with proper care.

What Culture Did Septum Piercings Come From?

Septum piercings originated among south Indian dancers and native Americans. The Indians still have it reflected as a part of their vibrant past which is still relevant in their dressing styles to date. The native Americans wore septum rings as a warrior’s accessory and it resonated symbolically with them during battles.

Can A Septum Piercing Cause A Deviated Septum?

A properly done septum piercing that does not cause damage to your nasal cartilage can not cause a deviated septum. A proper septum piercing penetrates the columella and makes no contact with the cartilage whatsoever. This is why you need to have a professional and licensed piercer do your septum piercing, complications such as a deviated septum would easily be avoided.


A septum piercing is undeniably intriguing and to some people attractive as well. It is intriguing because it is hard to miss as soon as you see a person with one, you easily notice the jewelry and determine the type of look they are trying to portray.

This piercing is a beauty statement as much as it is a body accessory. It has gained popularity and interest in it is incredibly rising daily, having celebrities on board and rocking this piercing type is also a giveaway as to how it has penetrated the beauty trends.

Septum piercings are unique because of their healing process, they heal faster than other body piercings and this is an encouraging factor for whoever is looking to get one. They also stand out because of how easily they can be concealed when the need arises.

Just like every other piercing, they may have downsides but they do not threaten your life or health so they are definitely worth the try.

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