Today, nose piercings are just as popular as ear piercings.
And like ear piercings, nose piercings take about 4 to 6 months to heal. It really depends on:
- location of nose piercing (nostril, septum, etc.)
- jewelry material, such as:
- 18- or 24-karat gold
- stainless steel
- how well you take care of the piercing site
Let’s break down healing times for the different types of nose piercings, what you can do to make sure your nose piercing heals properly, and what to do if healing doesn’t go as planned.
Here are the stages you can expect when you get a nose piercing.
1. Acceptance/inflammatory stage
During the first few days or weeks, your body closes off the wound where jewelry entered. It replaces pierced tissue with new tissue in these steps:
- Blood clots and hardens around the piercing holes and jewelry.
- White blood cells restore skin and tissue with collagen.
- Tissue around the jewelry starts to swell to try and reject the piercing. This is because your body sees the jewelry as a foreign object since it can’t fully complete the healing process like it normally does.
During this stage, you may also experience the following around the piercing site:
2. Healing/proliferative stage
This stage happens during the next few weeks and months after the swelling and redness becomes less visible on the surface. Here’s a general breakdown of this stage:
- Your body starts making a tube-like structure out of scar tissue, called a fistula, from one opening of the piercing to the other.
- A yellow-tinged fluid consisting of lymph, blood plasma, and dead blood cells is produced near the piercing. It gathers around the opening, hardening and beginning the scarring process.
- Discharge eventually stops. The two sides of the fistula around the pierced areas start to fully connect, completing the scar tissue formation.
Your piercing may feel really tender for these few weeks or months if the piercing caused some unexpected damage or trauma to the area. Be especially careful if you notice a lot of discharge or pain.
3. Seasoning/maturation stage
This is the final stage. The piercing will be fully healed. You may switch out jewelry or briefly remove it altogether without compromising the piercing. This part may take a few more weeks and months to complete.
At this stage:
- The inside linings of the fistula get thick and secure the jewelry in place while also making it easier to remove and replace jewelry.
- The piercing is also less likely to close because the tissue is fully healed. It won’t try to continue closing itself.
But this isn’t always the case. Some nose piercings may start to close in less than a day after taking out jewelry. To prevent this, quickly replace the jewelry.
Not all nose piercings heal at the same rate. Here’s the breakdown of how long each type of nose piercing might take to heal.
Nostril piercings take about 4 to 6 months to heal.
This can largely depend on the type of jewelry. A thin ring may close quickly. A thicker gauge ring or stud can take more time.
Septum piercings take about 2 to 3 months to heal.
The septum is a thin layer of skin, nerves, and blood vessels between your two nostrils. It’s delicate and usually hurts more than a nostril piercing. However, it heals quickly because there’s less tissue for your body to reconstruct.
Rhino piercings take about 6 to 9 months to heal.
The tissue higher on your nose is thicker, so it takes longer than the other types of nose piercings for the tissue to fully heal.
Bridge piercings heal in about 2 to 3 months.
Bridge piercings typically heal much faster than other nose piercings because very little tissue is pierced. The jewelry only passes through a small section of skin at the top of your nose between your eyes.
Nasallang piercings take about 4 to 6 months to heal.
These piercings are complex because they go through your septum and both of your nostrils. Get this one done by an experienced piercer.
Your piercer will give you detailed aftercare instructions to follow.
Here are some general guidelines for keeping your piercing clean and healthy while it’s healing:
- Don’t touch your nose piercing until you’ve washed your hands with soap and water.
- Rinse your piercing twice a day with warm water and a saline solution. Gently dab it dry with a clean towel or paper towel.
- Use gentle, unscented soap on the piercing. Make sure you completely rinse it all out.
See your piercer or a healthcare provider if you notice any of the following signs of improper nose piercing healing:
- unusually disruptive itchiness
- formation of blisters
- thick or dry skin
- unusually colored skin
- pain or burning sensation around the piercing
- piercing very tender to the touch
- a bad smell around the piercing
- greenish or yellowish discharge from the piercing
You can’t remove or replace a nose piercing until it’s completed the final healing stage.
This means you might have to wait up to 8 months or more before you can replace your jewelry. At this point, you shouldn’t have any pain, tenderness, discharge, or discomfort.
See your piercer if you’re not sure whether your piercing is fully healed. Prematurely taking out jewelry can cause infections or close the piercing. Your piercer can also ensure the new jewelry is properly inserted.
Nose piercings take a little longer to heal than other common piercings, but they shouldn’t take more than 9 months.
See your piercer or a healthcare provider if you notice any unusual or painful symptoms, or if it’s taking longer than 9 months to heal.