31 Jul 2011

I received a question about a tender septum piercing:

Hi Elayne,
I have had my septum pierced for three months. i am having issues with it. There is no discharge from it or crusties on the jewelry but it is very tender to the touch and very difficult when cleaning to start rotating the jewelry.

Thanks! T.

Hi T.,

Are you doing saline soaks prior to cleaning or trying to rotate? This is crucial! You can find detailed information on my new page here: http://piercingbible.com/saline-soaks

Also, the current aftercare guidelines from the Association of Professional Piercers does not advocate rotating the jewelry: http://piercingbible.com/piercing-care

Can you tell whether the piercing is placed properly? If not, that could be a reason for an overly long healing time and excessive tenderness.

This is from my book: The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing:
Septum Piercing: Placement and Jewelry
A traditionally placed septum piercing is not in the cartilage that divides the nostrils. Instead it rests in a sweet spot (a location optimal for piercing) in the soft, membranous tissue just below the cartilage but above the skin. On most individuals this will be well up into the nose, toward the tip. The traditional placement passes through minimal tissue; in fact, it is some of the thinnest skin that is pierced on a human body. The piercing should be positioned in this location for comfort (both during the procedure and for the wearing of jewelry), ease of healing, and optimal concealment.

The size of the septum’s sweet spot does not necessarily correlate with the overall dimensions of one’s nose; a large nose can have a small pierceable area. Rely on your piercer for input about the initial jewelry gauge; you can always stretch it later.

Unfortunately, not all piercers are aware of the optimal placement or the technique needed to pierce it. Even slight asymmetry can make it very difficult to achieve a straight piercing. At times, a ridge is present that prevents securing a receiving tube in place for the procedure. The proper location for the piercing is very specific, and on some individuals it is extremely small. The piercing goes into the hidden recesses of the nose, so it is tricky for your piercer to see what he is doing. Even accomplished professionals often find the desired results are elusive. Seek an expert if you want a well-placed, aesthetically pleasing septum piercing.

I hope this is helpful,



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