How Bad Do Septum Piercings Hurt? (Pain Guide)

  • Written By Dan Hunter on March 19, 2020
    Last Updated: January 19, 2021

Discomfort and tenderness caused by piercings can vary from person to person, depending on their individual pain threshold, but this article sets out what we know from anecdotal evidence about how much septum piercings hurt.

Septum Piercing Pain

Septum piercing hurt, but no more than a regular nose piercing. Some people experience almost no pain at all. However, for most people, a sharp pinch is to be expected as the needle pierces through the tough cartilage. Sneezing and watery eyes are also common during the procedure.

In general, people experience a pain rating between a 4 and a 6 for a septum piercing. That may sound quite painful, but remember that it’s over in just a few seconds.

Here’s an idea of how much it hurts to get your septum pierced compared to other piercings, based on various people’s experiences: It tends to hurt more than earlobe, tongue, navel, or lip piercings. However, it will likely hurt less than an industrial piercing of the ear cartilage, and it almost certainly hurts less than nipple or genital piercings.

What to Expect at the Shop

The piercing professional will clean the area to be pierced with an antiseptic cleanser, and they will examine and mark the area that needs to be pierced.

The body piercer may also use a small clamp to hold your septum in place during the piercing process. This helps to ensure that the correct location is pierced and prevents you from jerking during it.

A small, hollow needle will be passed through the septum, followed by the jewelry. Your eyes may water, and you may feel the urge to sneeze.

How Long Will a Septum Piercing Hurt For?

How long the septum piercing hurts can depend on the experience and technique of the person piercing you.

More skilled piercing professionals tend to get the piercing over with quicker, resulting in less pain. Of course, you don’t want them to sacrifice accuracy for speed.

In general, the initial pain should be done in a minute or less. You will probably feel some pain both when the needle passes through and when the jewelry subsequently passes through your new piercing.

Afterwards, you’ll feel less intense pain or tenderness as your body adjusts to the piercing.

A new piercing is basically a wound that your body is trying to heal, so there will be some inflammation, and you may even find that your entire nose is a bit sensitive to touch. However, you should be pain-free in just a couple of weeks. Your piercing won’t be entirely healed, though, for 6 months or so.

Pain Factors

Your body is complex. Because of that, various factors can influence how much pain you experience while getting your septum pierced. What that also means is that you can take steps to reduce the amount of pain you potentially experience.

Here’s what to consider:

How much rest you’ve had

Your body feels and heals better when you get enough sleep. It’s an important part of your health that many people ignore.

At a minimum, don’t stay up late the night before you get pierced. At best, get at least 7 hours of sleep each night for a week leading up to your piercing appointment.

Your physical condition

Got a cold the morning of your appointment? You may want to consider rescheduling.

If you already feel unwell, a piercing isn’t going to make your day any better. You’ll be able to better tolerate the pain and heal your piercing faster if you start with a clean slate of health.

Alcohol or drug use

Anything that alters your state of mind can affect how your body experiences pain. It’s a good idea to avoid mind-altering substances prior to your piercing.

Consuming alcohol or drugs can also potentially slow the healing process, leading to longer-lasting pain than necessary.

Piercer roughness

Piercers are individuals, and they all have their own style. That means the technique of one piercer may be a bit rougher and cause more pain than another.

A skilled piercer, however, shouldn’t cause more pain than necessary. Your best bet is to ask people what their experience was with the person who will be doing your piercing.

Pay slightly more for your septum piercing by choosing an experienced piercer and you will likely get a much better outcome.​

Piercer experience

This is one of the most important factors in piercing pain. Get referrals for the shop, and if possible the particular piercer, you will be getting pierced by.

Septum piercings have a small window of ideal piercing space beneath your nose cartilage. A piercer with more septum experience will hit the right spot and do it efficiently, taking as little time as possible.

Healing Capabilities

Everybody heals differently to one another, and while there is generally some pain during healing, some people might experience more or less depending on their bodies.

Somebody who heals faster than another person will likely end up feeling pain for a shorter amount of time during the initial healing period. ​

Also, poor healing can lead to longer healing times and a septum piercing infection, which can be relatively painful until it heals.​

The best aftercare product I’ve personally used is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan, but it’s also completely alcohol and additive-free. The solution works well on all skin types including sensitive skin, and it comes in a generously-sized mist-spraying bottle for easy application. When using it from the very start of the healing process, the spray helps to decrease healing times and aims to eliminate any lingering pain or soreness.​

Pain tolerance

If you know that you experience pain more than other people do, you can expect a septum piercing to hurt more for you than other people’s septum piercing stories.

If, on the other hand, you tend to tolerate pain well, then you shouldn’t find it difficult to handle getting your septum pierced.

How you think about the piercing experience can actually make a big difference in how you tolerate the pain.

Being anxious and scared of the pain may cause you to be more aware of how much it hurts. Plus, it will make you tense, which is likely to increase the pain you feel.

To prevent this, try to go in with a relaxed state of mind, and research everything you can about septum piercings beforehand, to ease your anxiety.

Note that you cannot use numbing spray or cream on the septum area. The skin inside the nose is more sensitive to these products.

Ways to Deal With the Pain

We talked a bit about mental state. Here are some tips for getting into a relaxed state to reduce your piercing pain.

  • Bring along some music to listen to during your piercing. Music has been shown to help people increase pain tolerance. And it takes your mind off the process.
  • Have a friend come with you for conversation. Just don’t move too much while you’re talking.
  • Engage in meditation or positive thinking, and take slow, natural breaths.
  • Remember that everyone with a septum piercing has experienced some pain, and the experience will be worth it.
  • Be rested and clear-headed.
  • Research everything you can about septum piercing before you go into the shop. Knowledge can reduce anxiety.
  • Eat something to stabilize your blood sugar before getting pierced. Low blood sugar can cause some people to faint after a piercing, but that is rare.
  • Wear comfortable clothes.


Getting a septum piercing can be a bit intimidating because many report it as one of the moderately painful piercings, but it’s also one of the boldest piercings you can get. The jewelry is prominent on your face, more so than a simple nostril stud.

The level of hurt will vary from other people, but you can definitely help to negate any pain by going in relaxed, informed, and well-rested. Good luck!​

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