Archive for Nose Piercings

Watch as the lovely Lulu gets a fun new septum piercing.  Look for the needle insertion at about 37 seconds.

First the piercer cleans the entire septum and nostril area thoroughly, and then he uses his fingers to find the exact area where the piercing should rest.  There’s a specific bit of flesh that rests just below the actual cartilage of the nasal septum that’s known as the “sweet spot,” and this is where the piercing should be done.  (So a septum piercing isn’t actually meant to go through the septum cartilage itself, but rather just underneath.)

 a septum piercing being performed

Next, the spot where the needle should go through is carefully marked, and a pair of forceps is clamped on to align the tissue.  The hollow piercing needle is pushed through and corked, then chased with a staple-shaped septum retainer.  As with all piercings, the entire area is cleaned once more, and then our heroine is ready to rejoin the world with the addition of an awesome new mod to show off.

 a new piercing of the nasal septum

Septum piercings will require aftercare that’s similar to that of other facial piercings, and will take approximately eight to twelve weeks for initial healing.  Full healing should occur at around the six month mark, but can take up to a full year depending on the individual.  This type of nose piercing can be performed in multiples, stretched, and sometimes even pierced a second time through a healed stretched fistula, which is generally called a septril.  A variety of jewelry styles can be worn in the septum too including curved barbells, BCRs or other circulars, septum clickers, and a host of different retainers.

 clicker style septum piercing jewelry

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May
01

Nose Piercings: Saving the Rhino

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vertical nose tip piercing

The vertical nose tip piercing, or “rhino,” is a very unique contemporary piercing of the cartilage that comprises the front of the nose.  These piercings get their name from the resemblance of their shape to the nose of (you guessed it) the common rhinoceros.

 endangered rhinoceroses

Rhino piercings are interesting, they’re unisex, and they’re wearable long term when taken care of properly.  The standard nose tip piercing is done with a regular hollow piercing needle and normally extends from just under the tip of the nose, to the top of the rose, at or near the spot where the nose tip begins to curve.  They can be performed deeper though, as individual anatomy allows, extending as far as the top of the nose near the beginning of the bridge.

 different styles of rhino nose piercings

For regular rhino piercings a curved barbell is normally worn, while a long, flexible straight bar is often made use of for deeper variations.  Due to the piercing’s placement, a bioflex or bioplast barbell is a good option for both styles, as the nose sees a lot of movement from sneezing, tissue use, and facial expressions.  Aftercare is comparable to that of standard nose piercings, and a focus on avoiding makeup and limiting the risk of blunt trauma is generally encouraged.

 flexible bioplast bars

Besides being an awesome and unique looking piercing, the rhino is also a great aid for raising awareness of the dire situation that our real rhinos are in.  All five major species of African and Asian rhino are experiencing dwindling numbers, with the African Black Rhino and the Javan Rhino now facing critical endangerment.  At current numbers, it is likely that more than one of these species may become extinct within our lifetime.  To create an awareness initiative in your community, talk to your local piercers about group discounts for rhino piercings, post your rhino piercing photos with donation links, or visit your local Save the Rhino or International Rhino Foundation sites.

hill tribe woman with both nostrils and septum pierced

Most women who have their nose pierced probably know at least a little something about the cultural history of their piercing.  Nose piercing is believed to have begun amongst nomadic tribes from the Middle East, who then traveled through India, leaving it (amongst other things) behind to be adopted and become a part of the culture there.  The piercing of a woman’s left nostril in particular, is even incorporated into Indian Ayurvedic Medicine.

A popular style of piercing that’s now coming into western mainstream modification, is the collective piercing of both nostrils and the septum tissue in between.  What you might not know, is that this too is appropriated from Indian culture.  This set of three coordinated piercings has been popular amongst hill tribes throughout India and Nepal for centuries, and some of them continue the practice to this day, like sub-groups amongst the Khond and the Jat.

The main vehicle for this new-found love of multiple nose piercings seems to be yet another cultural trend that’s been reborn: tribal dance.  Belly dance in particular, now practiced amongst a growing collective of young women in the United States, Australia, and the UK, has been a huge factor in bolstering the trend of nose and septum piercings worn together.

tribal dance's appropriation of Indian piercing styles

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Watch as beautiful BodyCandy friend Tara gets her nostril pierced by veteran piercer James.

After cleaning her nose thoroughly and marking the exact point he wants to pierce, James gets the hollow needle receiving tube ready, and gently double checks the placement with his finger.  Tara is told to take a deep breath, and as she exhales, the needle goes through.  Corking the pointed end for safety and ease, the piercer then presses the needle the rest of the way through, chasing it with a beautiful new nose ring.  The area is cleaned once more, and Tara is ready to walk away with her new piercing.

 Getting a Nose Piercing

The nostril is one of the most common piercing sites on the planet, second only to the human ear.  Because this part of the nose is primarily composed of cartilaginous tissue, nostril piercings tend to heal fairly quickly.  They require the same type of aftercare as other cartilage piercings, usually consisting of gentle cleanses and/or sea salt soaks.

Tara’s piercing is a beautiful addition to her other preexisting mods, and completes a fun and youthful look.

 the final look

Did you know?

In Indian Ayurvedic medicine, the nostril of a woman is pierced for much more than fashion.  It’s believed that nose piercings performed in certain spots can lessen the pain of cramps, improve overall feminine health, and even aid in successful childbirth. 

Feb
11

Septum Rings

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sweet spot or septum piercings

Septum Ring- any of many pieces of body jewelry worn in piercings of the flesh located directly beneath the nasal septum, often called “the sweet spot.”

Septum Piercings:

 regular, double, and stretched septum piercings

Several variations of the septum piercing exist, including multiple piercings, stretched piercings, and rarer combination piercings such as the septril and nasallang.

 septril and nasallang combination piercings

Aftercare:

Standard septum piercings are generally cared for in the same manner as most common piercings, with some combination of gentle cleansings and sea salt soaks.  In this more difficult to submerge area, the use of cotton pads or pre-mixed sprays is often employed as an alternative.  Avoidance of makeup, nasal spray usage, and heavy smoke inhalation are all encouraged along with getting adequate rest, and taking extra care when clearing the sinuses with tissue.  Most septum piercings will show initial healing within approximately four to eight weeks, but high amounts of movement and nasal runoff can make fully healing this type of piercing a little difficult, sometimes causing it to take several extra months.  Persons who have persistent nasal allergies or chronic sinus inflammation should avoid this type of piercing altogether.

Septum Ring Styles:

Several different types of jewelry can be worn in the septum piercing including circulars (BCRs, horseshoes, etc.), specially shaped jewelry (tusks, mustaches, pincers…), septum retainers which come in a variety of materials and shapes, and even small curved barbells if the anatomy allows.

 specialized septum rings

Those who stretch their septum will often wear plugs made of natural material, such as bone or animal horn, but regular steel eyelets are also common.  One of the more recent stars in septum adornment is a more ornate piece referred to as a “clicker,” which mimics the look of the traditional Indian nathori, a decorative circular item worn in many tribal septum piercings in the region.

rose gold plated body jewelry

First things first: there are five basic types of nose ring.  These are the nose bone, nose screw, l-shaped nose ring, nose hoop, and fishtail.  Of these five types, the first four are ready to be worn right out of the package.  The fifth, the fishtail, is made to be taken to a piercing professional and custom fit, but we’ll get back to that in a moment.  What we’ll do first is briefly discuss the three measurements that you’ll be interested in fit-wise when purchasing a nose ring: the gauge, length or diameter (depending on what style you choose), and gem or decoration size.

 the basic nose ring types

Gauge is the thickness of the item, and as you’re probably already aware, is extremely important to the fit of the item.  Most nose piercings will be performed in either a 20 gauge, or the slightly larger 18 gauge.  There are a few exceptions for those who were pierced in particular parts of the world (such as India, where tiny 22 gauge piercings are common), or have larger noses and chose to be pierced a size or two larger, but for the most part the common gauges are what you’ll be working with.

 standard nose ring gauges

The length of the item is measured from the base of the gem or decoration to the beginning of the curve, bend, or bulbous end; a portion of the item often referred to as the “wearable surface.”  This is the part that will actually be worn inside the piercing, and generally measures between 5 and 7 millimeters.  Unless the nose is either very dainty or larger than average, any of these sizes are likely to fit to a degree, but for a truly perfect and comfortable fit, getting your ideal length measured at your piercer is a good idea.

 measuring length or diameter for fit

Diameter is measured instead of length for nose hoops, and will always be the distance across the inside edges of the hoop at its largest point.  Here again knowing your best measurement is useful, as hoops that are two small may not fit and those that are too large might fit but look a little odd.

The gem or decoration size of a nose ring is often overlooked, but depending on the look you want and the size of your individual nose, this measurement can actually be rather important.  For persons with petite noses, standard 2mm sized gems can look a little bit oversized, and for those who have larger nostrils, a tiny micro nose ring may not garner the notice that you’d like.  The gems/settings on nose rings start as small as 1.2 to 1.6mm (called a micro nose ring) and go up to about 3mm in size.  Decorative shapes can be even larger, sometimes measuring up to 6 or 7mm (about 1/4″) wide.

 nose ring gems and decorations

Finally, for those that either want or require customized fitting, the fishtail is a wonderful option.  Fishtails are made with an extra long 19mm (3/4″) straight length so that an experienced piercer can insert and custom bend them for you, removing any excess.  Due to their length and shape, these items cannot be worn as is.

 how to use fishtail nose rings

For more about jewelry sizing, visit our Jewelry Sizing Category, and always buy smart.

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names and locations of nose piercings

Erl: the bridge piercing is also called an Erl (sometimes spelled as “Earl”), after the man who popularized it, character actor Erl Van Aiken.

Austin Bar: a horizontal piercing of the nose tip can be simply called “nose tip piercing,” but is often referred to by its other name, the Austin Bar.

Rhino: similar to its horizontal cousin, the vertical nose tip piercing has earned a popular name as well.  The moniker “rhino” is a clear reference to the appearance of the piercing itself, mimicking the look of a rhinoceros tusk.

Third Eye: the vertical version of the Erl piercing is a bit less popular, but with a name like “third eye piercing,” it’s bound to gain a few spiritualist fans.

Septum: although it’s called a septum piercing, this piercing generally doesn’t actually go through the nasal septum, but rather the tissue below it, known as “the sweet spot.”

Septril: for those who have stretched their septum piercing, the septril makes a unique new accessory.  This piercing goes from inside the stretched fistula of tissue around the septum and emerges on (or under) the tip of the nose.

Nostril: the nostril piercing has become so widespread that it’s often referred to simply as “nose piercing” instead.  The nostril is actually one of the most popular piercing locations worldwide, second only to piercings of the ear lobe.

Nasallang: a rare and interesting contemporary piercing, the nasallang actually combines multiple piercings into one by connecting them with a single barbell, much like the industrial ear piercing we know and love.  The jewelry in this case enters through one nostril, passes through the nasal septum, and exits through the other nostril.

High Nostril: a high nostril piercing is differentiated from a standard one because of the interesting look it provides being further up the nose, rather than resting in the indentation of the nostril.

piercings of the nasal septum

Septum piercings are a staple in both modern and traditional tribal piercing. They also look good on both men and women from many different style groups. The septum is the cartilage that divides your nostrils, but the tissue underneath is what really gets pierced. Jewelry type and allowable modifications are dependent upon individual anatomy. Initial healing time for a septum piercing is 4-8 weeks or more, with jewelry running the gamut from 16 to 10 gauge, and usually being a BCR or septum retainer.

Your piercer will find the “sweet spot”, a spot where tissue is minimal and very comfortable to get pierced.  After the tissue exam, the piercer will mark small dots where this spot is and then line up special septum forceps (sometimes with a special receiving tube on them) before piercing it with a hollow needle. Watery eyes and slight bleeding are the common after affects, but very little pain is felt.

 tears and septum piercings

Septum piercings are fantastic because you can do so much with them. There are many tribes around the world that wear bones or feathers in their septum piercings. Now there are so many styles of septum jewelry that it’s crazy: ball captive rings, horseshoes, spikes, clickers, plugs for stretched septums, and septum bones. The size of jewelry should always be in proportion to your nose and facial features. Septum retainers are a U shaped piece of metal or glass and are awesome for concealing your piercing. A small horseshoe can also be flipped up to be hidden, or if you want to join the mustache trend you can also get awesome mustache septum jewelry. It’s also very popular to stack your septum rings and have multiple piercing holes in your septum.

           stacked septum rings

Septum piercings are relatively easy to stretch. The septum can routinely be expanded by a full gauge as quickly as 3 months after the piercing. There is growing popularity in stretching your septum piercing. A septril (or jungle) is a piercing at the tip of the nose that exits through a stretched septum fistula. Septril piercings require the septum to be stretched to a relatively large size, normally at least a 0 gauge, in order to accommodate the back portion of the jewelry. The jewelry worn in them looks like a stud with a ball or disc backing, or a small curved barbell.

Septum piercings look amazing with multiple facial piercings or on their own! Try the look out on yourself with a faux nose hoop. It is a great addition to your style that you won’t regret. Are you thinking of getting your septum pierced? Do you have it pierced already? Share your story in the comments below.

Aug
02

Behind Alternative Beauty: the Nose Chain

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behind the fashion of nose jewelry

In the past couple years, nose and septum piercing chains have become popular amongst recording artists, young celebs, and all of us “regular” folk, but the nose chain actually has cultural significance to some tribal groups that have been rocking this look for way longer than a fashion minute.  Just look to India.

In many parts of India and the Middle East, nose piercings have existed for thousands of years.  From medicinal uses outlined in the Vedic texts, to indicators of marital status, modifications of the nose and septum have a rich and lengthy history.  Traditionally, the nostril of a woman would be pierced to improve her feminine health, and a chain connected from the nose to the ear or hair would be worn on the wedding day, and later removed symbolically by the new husband.  These, along with many other ancient Indian traditions, are still practiced by Indian women today.

 traditional Indian bridal nose chain

Over time, many variations of the nose piercing have been introduced and popularized, but the nose chain as an adornment has remained a constant in alternative culture.  Through the growth of primitivism and the expansion of global awareness, this cute and feminine style has come to be commonplace in the modern fashion world, gracing the runways of many a designer.  Less traditional, more westernized styles have grown to be widely available, and several of our noted celebrity icons are known to incorporate them into their styling.

modern nose chains on the runway(source: WGSN)

The nose chain is more than a youth street fashion staple, it’s a means of cultural connection to our own ancestors, as well as the traditions of our brethren around the world.  Like any true fashion icon, it has a personality all its own, and can sometimes be a little bit “complicated.”

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Jun
17

Piercisms: Who Knows What the Nose Knows

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nose piercing and jewelry lingo

Nose piercings are one of the most common piercings worldwide, so it’s no wonder that so much different terminology is thrown around to describe the piercings themselves, and especially the jewelry that goes inside them.  Here’s a little refresher to help demystify the lingo:

When someone says the phrase “nose piercing,” they’re usually talking about the familiar piercing that rests in the curve of one of our nostrils.  Depending on where you are though, “nose piercing” may cast a wider net, and can be used to refer to any piercing of the nose, including modifications of the septum or nose bridge.  Here it’s best to put things in the proper context; it should be relatively easy to tell when someone is referring to a septum piercing as opposed to a nostril piercing.

Equally, the phrase “nose ring” can be a broad term meant to reference any piece of jewelry worn in the nose, but is used interchangeably in many countries to indicate the most common style of nose jewelry, the nose screw.

 twister style nose jewelry

This type of jewelry can be called a nose screw, nose stud, nose twister, or nose hook, while the names for most other types of nose ring are generally far more concise.  The nose bone, for example, is almost always referred to using the term “nose bone” to differentiate style.  The terms L-shaped nose ring, and fishtail nose ring are similarly succinct.

 types of nose jewelry

Nose hoops on the other hand, may be called by a variety of names depending on region or on the actual type of jewelry.  For some, hoops made specifically for the nostril piercing will be worn and can be called a nose hoop, nose ring, or nose circular.  For others however, a horseshoe ring or ball captive ring may be worn in the nose piercing, and in that case is usually called by the name of that particular style of jewelry.

 circular barbell nose jewelry

With nostril piercings being so prevalent around the globe, there’s bound to be confusion at one time or another, but stick to these facts, and you should be able to decipher almost any nose ring conversation.

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