Nose Piercing 101: How To Clean A Nose Piercing, Plus Other Care Tips

Want A Nose Piercing? Learn The Care Basics, Including How To Clean One

April 16, 2021 Updated April 19, 2021

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Here’s an interesting fact for you: After ear piercings, nose piercings are the second most popular body piercing. An estimated 19 percent of pierced women in the US have one. Miley Cyrus, Nicole Richie, and Demi Lovato (among many other celebs) all rock ’em, which might have you thinking about stepping up your look with one. Or your teen might be begging for such a trendy piercing. Hey, we dig it! If you ask us, a nose piercing adds a bit of dainty flair to your sense of style. With various jewelry styles like studs and hoops, nose piercings offer an easy and fun way to change or reflect your current vibe.

If you’re curious about the basics of getting your nose pierced — including how to clean it and what to do if you get an infection — read on for some helpful tips and advice.

Nose Piercings and Pain

Well, we’re not going to say it’s painless, that’s for sure — but it isn’t supposed to be super-painful either. You’ll feel a pinch. Although since punching a needle through cartilage can sometimes feel worse than puncturing softer skin, like, say, your earlobe, you might experience some extra sensitivity. However, it’s typically only a short minute or two of pain. (If you have a fear of needles, though, you might want to close your eyes!) Should you accompany your teen to have theirs done, prepare to have your hand momentarily squished in their vice grip.

The Healing Process

Rule number one — don’t pick at a nose piercing! It will probably feel weird at first, and you might want to scratch it, but try your best not to mess with it. It’s easy to rip out your nose piercing (especially a stud) when your piercing is still fresh, so do whatever you can to keep your hands away from your face. Typically, the healing process takes around two to four months to heal fully. A pierced septum heals in about three to four months.

After your piercing, you will experience some pain in addition to some tenderness, swelling, and bruising. The site of your piercing might have a bit of blood and redness for a few days afterward. As long as you keep everything clean and safe during the aftercare, it should heal up quickly.

How to Clean a Nose Piercing

Your new piercing requires you to clean it fairly frequently. However, even post aftercare, you’ll want to keep your nose as clean as possible. Here’s how.

  • Always use clean hands when dealing with your piercing.
  • Post-piercing, you will probably receive or be recommended a saline rinse to use at least twice per day. You’ll want to soak the piercing site with the rinse and keep it submerged in the water for three to five minutes. You can do this with a Q-Tip or cotton ball if that works better.
  • If you’re making your own saline rinse, you can combine 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt in warm distilled water and do the same as above. Afterward, rinse with clean water and pat try.
  • You can also use tea tree oil or coconut oil to help moisturize the area as cleanly as possible.
  • Avoid putting any makeup or lotions on the area until it’s completely healed after the piercing.
  • After your piercing has healed, keep it thoroughly cleaned and safe from being pulled out.

How to Clean a Nose Piercing Infection

One of the risks of a nose piercing is getting an infection. And aside from the potential ickiness involved, infections can cause complications like scarring and nose bumps. Left untreated, an infection could become serious. Signs of an infection include:

  • Fever
  • Redness
  • Swollen skin around the piercing
  • Pain or tenderness
  • Yellow or green discharge from the piercing site

If you notice you have an infection, follow these steps below to clean it.

  • Apply a warm compress to reduce swelling.
  • After washing your hands, wash and clean the area with saline solution, saltwater, or warm water and soap three to four times a day. Do not use rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. Pat dry.
  • Gently remove any debris or dry skin from around the area.
  • Leave the piercing in unless your doctor advises you to remove it.

If your infection hasn’t cleared in a week, contact your doctor for assistance.