Septum Piercings: Guide & Images

  • Written By Dan Hunter on February 15, 2019
    Last Updated: November 28, 2020

If you’re looking for a non-agonizing way to change your look and make it appear you can take some serious pain, you might want to ask a piercer about getting a septum piercing.

Whether you’re trying to look tough or accentuate a beautiful face, septum piercings can do both of those things. We’re going to share everything we know about septum piercings so you can figure out whether to pass on or book this look.

What Is A Septum Piercing?

Septum piercings go in the center of the tip of your nose – right between the nostrils. Thanks to the bit of skin you have at the end of your nose, your piercer won’t have to go through any cartilage to pierce your septum. It will go through the skin on one side and right out the other side while going beneath the cartilage that separates your nostrils.

The one drawback is that not everyone has the perfect septum for this piercing. People who have a severely deviated septum shouldn’t do this piercing because it can look crooked and hurt way worse than it should. If your septum is only deviated slightly, you can still have this done and it will look just fine.

One of the big perks of getting a septum piercing is that you can change your mind later, remove the piercing and forget about it. Seeing as the holes are inside your nose rather than on the surface of your skin like many piercings are, you won’t have weird-looking holes that give away your piercing history.

What Happens During A Septum Piercing?

When you go to get your septum pierced, your piercer will look to make sure your septum is a good candidate.

While it’s rare to get turned away because of a severely deviated septum, it does happen. That might be disappointing to you, but you should heed your piercer’s advice. If you go ahead with that piercing against the recommendations of your piercer, you’re going to open yourself up to a lot of pain, potential improper healing and end up with something that looks subpar too.

That’s not a good use for your money and it won’t be a good look for you either.

If your piercer decides it’s okay to move forward with the septum piercing, you’ll need to do any paperwork he throws your way. After that, you can pick out the jewelry you want to sport until your piercing is fully healed and you’re allowed to change it to something else.

How Much Do They Hurt?

If your pain intolerance is legendary and you’re a bit of a laughing stock amongst your friends and family, this is a good piercing for you to get. You’ll look like a tough badass who can handle pain with the best of them. You’ll totally change your reputation for the better, and it won’t really hurt that much.

Here’s a little secret about septum piercings – they don’t actually cause you a tremendous amount of pain. There aren’t a lot of nerve endings in that area and the piercing is over within a matter of seconds. There’s no hard cartilage that your piercing will have to go through.

That means the recovery will be quicker and easier, which also means less pain for you.

If you’re looking for a direct comparison, it doesn’t really hurt any more than a nostril piercing or earlobe piercing does.

Even though the piercing itself doesn’t feel awful, you should buckle up your seatbelt because the first three weeks of recovery can be a bumpy ride. Be prepared for your nose to ache, sometimes a fair amount, during that time.

It doesn’t help that the nose is a part of your face that’s constantly being touched and irritated. Every time you have to sneeze or blow your nose, you’ll be reminded of how tender your nose is for three weeks after your piercing.

As with any healing process, it will be the worst that first week and then you’ll notice it gradually starting to get better. Therefore, hang in there. If you find the pain is more than you expected and you’re having problems concentrating on anything else, it’s fine to take the occasional Advil to help you take the edge off.

How Much Do They Cost?

Including the cost of the jewelry, you can expect to pay about $40 to $90 for a septum piercing. It’s not the cheapest piercing around. You’ll pay less for many other facial piercings, including eyebrow, nostril or ear piercings.

The higher price is because of how difficult it can be to get the right placement and to determine if a septum is suitable for piercing. It requires a little more knowledge than simpler piercings, like earlobes.

What To Do Before Getting A Septum Piercing

First, you’ll find the piercer you want to do your septum piercing. If you’re not sure about how to find a good one, ask for recommendations from people you know who have that same type of piercing.

Before you go too far to turn back, you should figure out if your new piercing will cause any problems at work. Some places of business have strict dress codes.

If you aren’t supposed to have any facial piercings at your job, you might still be okay to go ahead with your piercing. You may be able to flip a small hoop up so that it stays hidden in your nose while you’re at work. Although that’s not ideal, it’s a solution that may allow you to keep both your septum piercing and your job.

Ahead of piercing day, you might want to check to see if you have allergies to any specific metals, especially if you seem to have a family history of allergies involving metals. You might also want to check for this if you’ve noticed some metal bothering your other piercings before. That’s a good indication you might be allergic.

You will have to go to a dermatologist or a doctor’s office if you want to have this allergy testing done. Although it’s optional, remember if you get jewelry put in that you start having an allergic reaction to, you’re going to have to have it taken out and replaced with something else.

Something else you may want to make sure of before the big day is that you’re healthy enough to move forward with it. If you have a cold or the flu, you should wait until that plugged nose clears before getting your septum pierced. While you can blow your nose even with a septum piercing, it can be unpleasant, especially in the beginning.

You might as well wait until you feel well and your nose is unplugged so you’ll be less miserable when you have it pierced. You also might want to hold off if you currently have any allergies that are causing nasal symptoms.

Aftercare & Cleaning

Caring for your new septum piercing is a requirement if you want to try to keep it from becoming an infected mess. Two times a day you’re going to have to completely soak your piercing with a solution of sea salt and water.

It’s easy and cheap to make this mixture at home. Just take 8 ounces of boiled water and dissolve one-fourth of a teaspoon of salt in it.

After it’s cooled enough that it won’t burn your skin when you touch it, saturate a cotton ball with the mixture and hold it up to your septum piercing. Hold it in place for five minutes, making sure to use fresh cotton balls when the old ones start drying out a bit. You’ll also need to make sure to alternate nostrils so you completely soak both sides of your piercing.

In addition to this soak twice a day, some piercers may recommend you use an aftercare spray a few times a day as well. This will encourage the healing process and make sure no bacteria are camping out in your septum piercing.

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.​

For the first couple of weeks when your septum piercing is at its rawest and sorest, you need to be really careful not to introduce any dirt or bacteria. If your piercing is compromised with dirt or bacteria, you’ll have a much greater chance of ending up with a septum infection.

To stop that from happening, you should wash your hands really well before you touch your septum piercing, even for cleanings, and when you aren’t cleaning it, you should keep your hands off. The more you touch it, the more you can contaminate it.

To help cut back on your chance of infection, you should stay away from swimming pools and hot tubs for a few weeks until your piercing site is healed some. There could be bacteria in the water and the chlorine used to fight that bacteria could leave your skin feeling dry, itchy and uncomfortable. Excessively dry skin will make the healing process worse than it has to be.

Finally, be very careful when you blow your nose in the first week or two of healing. You can do it, but just be aware to do it gently. If you go full steam ahead, it can be painful. It’s better to do yourself a favor and proceed with caution.

How Long Does It Take To Heal?

Septum piercings aren’t something you recover from quickly – they take some time to completely heal from. It should be somewhere between six to eight months before that piercing site is totally good to go.

Yet, remember that doesn’t mean you’re going to be uncomfortable that whole time. The worst of the pain or tenderness should be over in the first couple of weeks.

Plus, if you really feel you need to, you don’t have to wait that whole six to eight months before you change your jewelry. Although it’s best to wait as long as you can, you can do it at the two-month mark as long as everything appears to be going well with the healing process.

Septum Infections

It’s not always easy to tell whether your septum piercing is infected or if the symptoms you’re experiencing are just a normal part of the healing process. Well, how can you know when you may need to call in for medical care and when you can just relax and wait for things to get better?

If you notice pain during the first three weeks, that’s totally fine. It won’t feel fine, but it is normal. So if you notice redness, a bit of swelling, pain and even some light discharge during this time, that’s to be expected.

You’ll see the most swelling and feel the most pain in the first week. After that, things should start to improve day by day. On the other hand, if you notice any new symptoms or ones that increase in intensity during the second or third week, don’t rule out the possibility of infection. You should be fairly suspicious by this point.

To confirm or dismiss your suspicions, take a look at the discharge that is coming out your piercing site. Does it seem to be clear and really thin? If so, unless you have other compelling reasons to think your piercing is infected, you may want to hold off on going to the doctor for that. Clear or milky-looking discharge in the first week or two can be normal.

However, if that discharge is changing into other colors like yellow or green or has developed a really gross odor, you should head in to see a doctor. If money is tight and you’re worried about shelling out for a doctor’s visit you might not need, stop by your piercer’s shop.

If they don’t remember you, remind them that you had a septum piercing performed there recently. Tell them you’re worried your piercing has taken a turn for the worse. It will only take them a second to snap on some gloves and check out your septum piercing site.

With a quick look, they’ll have a better idea than you will about whether you should go to the doctor’s office. Most piercers have seen every stage of infection, from minor to severe. If they recommend heading in for a check-up with your medical provider, make sure you follow their advice. It’s better to lose out on a few dollars than let an infection go unchecked.

If you’re not sure about the discharge situation, look for any signs of swelling. If you don’t see any, you might be just fine – at least for now.

If you notice some swelling and you aren’t sure if it is bigger than it was a few days ago, feel the skin to see what the temperature feels like. If the skin feels hot, you might have an infection. It’s just one more reason for you to go to the doctor.

Fevers are one of the most worrisome signs of infection. That’s because they only happen after an infection has begun to spread throughout your body.

At that point, your infection isn’t only localized, and a widespread infection like that can get dicey quickly. You have to act fast to avoid serious consequences and the possibility of needing several strong antibiotics to knock it out.

Nobody likes to take antibiotics if they don’t have to, and if heading to the doctor right away instead of stubbornly waiting a few days spares you an additional prescription, it’s definitely worth it.

While you’ll never be able to entirely avoid getting an infection, remembering your aftercare steps will at least help you cut back on your risk. During our busy lives, it can be tempting to let little things fall by the wayside.

When you’re pressed for time between jobs or obligations, it might seem safe to skip doing your saltwater soak here or there. Yet missing out on those sessions can take its toll on your health. If you want a piercing, you have to commit to taking care of it. Ergo, do what you have to do to protect yourself.

Also, if you do suspect an infection, whatever you do, don’t take out your jewelry. That hole will close up faster than a kid’s mouth when they see medicine heading their way. You don’t want that hole to close up because it’s the only thing allowing the infection to drain out of your body.

Keep your jewelry in and do what your doctor tells you to.

Other Risks

Most people get septum piercings and they never have a single complication, although that doesn’t mean they don’t exist or that you won’t be one of the unlucky ones to end up with one. You never know when they’ll strike or who will get them, so you need to be aware of possible complications and what you can do when they arise.

The biggest complication you’ll want to avoid is septal hematoma. Even the officious-sounding name is scary. Nevertheless, what it can do to you is even scarier.

Septal hematoma can make you end up with trouble breathing. That’s severe enough, but the drawbacks don’t stop with that. It can also give you a facial deformity.

Still, before you begin imagining yourself earning a living at a traveling circus where people hand over a buck to get a glimpse of your hideousness, keep in mind that septal hematomas are very rare.

If you’re wondering how you’ll even know if a septal hematoma is happening, look for big swelling, feelings of pressure at the piercing site or if you have a lot of stuffiness with no obvious cause. If you notice those things, go to a doctor right away.

The other big risk you’ll want to avoid is getting diseases from unsterilized piercing needles. You could walk in for a piercing and walk out with hepatitis or HIV if you aren’t careful. This risk is small, but it should not happen at all.

The best way to protect yourself from having this situation happen to you is to find a high-quality piercer who values safety as much as he does a paycheck.

Luckily, the other possible risks of septum piercings aren’t as dramatic as septal hematomas and diseases.

The other risks you’ll want to watch out for include irritation and swelling caused by alcohol. If you get facewash products that contain alcohol into your piercing site, it’s going to hurt and balloon up. So you have to be extremely careful when washing your face. It might be best to use a washcloth instead of splashing water freely around your face.

Finally, some piercers really don’t know what they’re doing with septum piercings. If they hit the wrong spot, they can cause blood to build up in your septum from broken blood capillaries. If you’re feeling a lot of pressure at your piercing site, you might want to take a trip into the doctor to see if that’s normal.


You can use a wide array of jewelry for your septum piercing that can compliment your nose size and shape. You can go with rings, clickers and barbells, and you’ll be able to find them with any kind of bead or stones you can imagine.

It’s a fun piercing site because of all the different bling you can rock on your face.

No matter which type of jewelry you go with, try to include some metals that are less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Saving a little bit of money on more common metals isn’t worth it if your nose looks and feels irritated from an allergic reaction.


If you want in on the hot trend of septum piercings, make sure you find a great piercer to do the work. It does require a little more technical knowledge than some other piercings do, and it also requires a fairly long recovery time.

This is where patience really pays off. It may feel like torture waiting for the day you can swap out your jewelry and have some fun with your look, but it will be worth it in the long run.

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