17 Oct 2011

I received this message from a girl who is interested in having her nostril pierced. She apparently hadn't been asking the right people this question:

When you first get your nose pierced can you get a ring in it or do you have to get a stud then let it heal and change it? Everybody tells me you can't get a ring first.

I'm just confused and wanted to know from the best. (: A

HI A.,

Yes, you can get a ring for initial jewelry when you go to a piercing studio where they know what they're doing! Either a special stud style (not an earring!) or a hoop can be used.

Where are you located? Perhaps I can refer you to a qualified piercer.

Below is a brief section from my book, The Piercing Bible about it:

The Nostril Piercing
•    Description: Placed on the side of the nose, usually seated in a niche called the supra-alar crease (where the nostril naturally flares)
•    Healing time: 3 to 4 months or longer
•    Initial jewelry style: Ring-style, nostril screw, or mini barbell
•    Initial jewelry gauge: Rings 20 gauge or thicker, up to 12 gauge for a large piercing; 20- or 18-gauge nostril screws with a head (gem, ball, or other ornament) 1.75 mm or larger; or 16 gauge, with a head 2 mm or larger
•    Initial jewelry size: Ring diameters commonly 5/16 to 7/16 inch; post length on nostril screw or mini barbell is anatomically dependent and must have room for some swelling

Nostril piercing is second in popularity only to piercings of the ear. Many indigenous populations in the Americas, Africa, and India have worn nostril piercings throughout the ages. In Western culture, nostril piercing is primarily an aesthetic placement and does not ordinarily indicate marital, financial, or other status, as it often does in other regions.

Nostril Piercing: All About Jewelry
The ordinary straight-post earring style with a press-on backing is dangerous if worn in the nostril because its sharp end aims right at your septum, where it can cause damage if bumped. A backing can harbor bacteria and secretions from your nose and the piercing, which increases your risk of infection. Stud earrings often call unwelcome attention to the interior of your nose, but they fall out easily if worn without the bulky backing.

A number of popular jewelry styles are much better suited to the nostril, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. The placement and angle of the piercing is closely connected to the way jewelry fits in the nostril.

Nostril Piercing: The Ring
The higher the piercing is placed on your nose, the larger the ring must be to fit. A 3/8-inch ring is an average diameter for this area; to wear it, your piercing must be placed just shy of that distance from the edge of your nostril—unless the channel angles downward a little on the inside. However, if the angle is too steep, this will cause the ring to stick out too far from your nose. Ring-style jewelry works well for healing, but if you require an adornment that is more discreet, you will prefer a stud style initially. If you start with a stud but want the option to wear ring-style jewelry later, carefully plan the height and angle of the placement with your piercer.

There's much more in my book about nostril jewelry including nostriil screws, L-bend jewelry, nose bones, press-fit (threadless) jewelry and all of the many options that can be worn in a nostril piercing.

Let me know if you have other questions.


Elayne Angel, Author
The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing
President, Association of Professional Piercers



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