Septum Piercings: Everything You Need To Know Before Getting It Done

Do septum piercings hurt? How long do they take to heal? We answer all of your burning questions.

Florence Pugh and Gigi Hadid

by Charlotte Pavitt |
Updated on

Septum piercings are still big news. With 162,000 average monthly searches, and over 2 million instagram hashtags. In fact, according to Jewellerybox, they are the most popular piercing in the world. No wonder that all of our favourite celebrities have jumped on board with septum piercings over the years.

Ever since Jessica Biel decided to step out in 2013 with a clean and chic septum ring (many also call this a bull nose piercing), followed by the likes of Rihanna and FKA Twigs (who has made it an integral part of her look), septum piercings have become a big trend. Everyone from Zendaya to Zoe Kravitz and Florence Pugh has rocked either a fake or legitimate septum ring, and that number is only going to rise as the months go on. Just like ear piercings, septum's won't ever go out of style.


With this in mind, read below for our quick fire run-through on all things septum-related including septum piercing placement, the cost of septum piercing and the aftercare involved with getting it done.

Rihanna Septum Piercing
Rihanna with jewelled septum ring. ©Getty Images

What is a septum piercing?

A septum piercing is a piercing that goes through your nasal septum, a.k.a that bit between your nostrils. The needle goes through the thin bit of flesh towards the front of the nose, and then the jewellery is put in place– normally a ring, a horseshoe or, less commonly, a bar. Many refer to a bull nose piercing when a hoop-shaped piece of jewellery is used, so you might have heard of that too.

Do septum piercings hurt? And how badly do septum piercings hurt?

Most piercings can be uncomfortable. After all, a needle is pushed through your skin, which is then replaced with a thick bit of metal. Everyone has their own pain tolerance, so it’s worth bearing yours in mind, but a septum shouldn’t hurt much more than a standard nose piercing and it shouldn’t go through cartilage. It’ll be a strong pinch, the urge to sneeze, eyes may water, and hopefully not much more than that.

We asked Becca of LibFemBlog, piercing connoisseur who has had her septum pierced four times, and she said: 'Compared to some piercings I've had it wasn't too bad at all, probably less painful than your standard nose piercing. As long as you go to a good piercer, they'll get the soft spot right in the centre.'

How are septum piercings done?

Septum piercings are a lot like most piercings, and there can be some variation in method. Usually, however, your piercer will clean the area intended to be pierced before using a small clamp to hold the septum. They will then pass a cannula (a hollow needle attached to a tube) through your nose, before putting the jewellery through the new hole. After the jewellery is secured (usually a horseshoe shaped bar) the piercing is complete.

How much do septum piercings cost?

At this point, it’s probably worth noting that you should never skimp on piercings – it’s much better to pay a little more and visit a really good, certified piercer than to save a few pounds. Septum piercings usually run around £15-£40, so find the most legit piercing studio near you and see how much they charge. On average, you can expect to spend around £30.

Do septum piercings go through cartilage?

No. When it comes to septum piercing placement, an experienced piercer should go through your 'sweet spot' – the area of flesh between your cartilage and the front of your nose so it should be similar to the side of your nose being pierced.

Zoë Kravitz with her septum piercing
Zoë Kravitz with her septum piercing

Septum piercing aftercare

While the most tender and painful part of healing should be over in around 1-3 weeks, septum piercings take around 6 to 8 months to completely heal, and you can change the jewellery in 6-8 weeks providing it’s well-healed. You should try and leave it as long as possible, though, to ensure it's properly healed to avoid infections.

How long does a septum piercing take to heal?

As with all piercings try to leave it alone, and clean your piercing with saltwater daily. There are good saline solution sprays out there too, which work better with all nose piercings due to the placement. Becca's top tip, weirdly enough, is to 'soak the tip of your nose in lightly salted water' which she says feels weird, but does the trick.

A small amount of white discharge is completely normal, but if you notice any yellow or green pus, your piercing may be infected. However, your piercer should give you all the necessary aftercare information, and if you have any worries at all you can return to them to get the piercing looked at.

What do I do if my septum rejects?

Why does my septum piercing smell?

I’m going to get a little gross with you…that’s pretty common, and people have been known to call it septum funk. If the smell is combined with pain, yellow pus, or blood, you might have a problem. Otherwise, that smell is the scent of dead skin cell build-up, and your body trying to heal itself. Keeping the piercing clean and switching to wood or glass jewellery in due time should help to limit the smell, though.

Do septum piercings close fully?

As with most piercings, this depends how long you’ve had it for. If you’ve kept the piercing in for more than a few months, the hole may not ever fully heal. However, it will shrink a great deal, and due to the placement of the piercing it’s unlikely anyone will ever see the hole anyway.

How do I change my septum piercing?

After waiting for around 6-8 weeks (yes, really) you might be thinking about changing your septum jewellery, maybe you're swapping from a horseshoe style piece of jewellery to a hoop that many associate with the bull nose piercing look. You can consider going back to your piercer and having them talk you through it, but alternatively, it shouldn’t be too hard to do this at home.

If your original piercing is held in with balls, simply unscrew one and slide it out. It might be screwed in a little tight, so consider going back to the piercer to have them do it. There are different types of jewellery so it’s worth looking for specific advice, but you should try and put the new jewellery in ASAP. Clean your hands, disinfect the area and jewellery, and line up the bar with the hole before pushing it cleanly through. You may need to pull your nose down a little to get it right, or it may take a few goes to find the hole. The same rules apply for other kinds of rings or bars, too.

Zendaya with a septum piercing
Zendaya with a septum piercing

How do I remove my piercing?

Depending on the kind of jewellery you’ve been pierced with, either remove the balls or undo the clicker with clean hands before sliding the bar out of your nose.

How do I flip my septum piercing up?

If you have horseshoe-type septum jewellery, you should be able to hide the piercing for school, work, or hanging out with your nana. There are different methods so consult your piercer, but usually you just pull your mouth skin down so the piercing is more visible; then push the balls up until the jewellery goes into your nose. This will get easier the older the piercing is and the less swollen your nose is.

How do you stretch septum piercings?

Usually, your septum will have been pierced with 16g/1.2mm jewellery, or 14g/1.6mm. If you’re looking to stretch it to be an even bigger hole, you need to go super slowly as the cartilage will start to migrate up the nose. Consult your piercer, but many people recommend waiting between four and six months before starting to stretch. You should then wait a couple of months between gauges, too.

There are different methods, but most common is to (with clean hands, disinfected jewellery, and a clean nose) massage your septum withjojoba or other oil. Then, you should get an insertion pin one or two gauges up from your initial jewellery – i.e., 2mm (12g). You should push the pin through your septum, then line the new plug with the biggest end of the pin, pushing the pin out with the jewellery and effectively replacing it. Do not go up more than a mm every month or two, and listen to your body.


SHOP: The Best Septum Jewellery

Maria Tash, Clicker 14kt Gold Single Earring1 of 7

Maria Tash, Clicker 14kt Gold Single Earring

For a classic, minimalist hoop, look to Maria Tash. The simple clicker design should make it easy to secure in place.

Maria Tash, Single Chain Septum Spinner2 of 7

Maria Tash, Single Chain Septum Spinner

This pretty rose gold chain design will hang down under your nose for a more delicate look than a thick bar. It also comes in white gold.

Mondli Designs, Triangle Septum Ring3 of 7

Mondli Designs, Triangle Septum Ring

This unique pointed design simply threads through and clicks on one side. You can get it in either rose gold or white gold, too.

Claire's Accessories, Sterling Silver Braided Chain Nose Ring4 of 7

Claire's, Sterling Silver Braided Chain Nose Ring

For a simple fuss-free hoop, with a twist (quite literally), this braided sterling silver style is an affordable option.

Kasun, Gold Septum Ring Hinged5 of 7

Kasun, Gold Septum Ring Hinged

For a more dramatic piece of jewellery, Rihanna-style, opt for this grungy chunky gold version.

Laura Bond, Solid White Gold Aqua Crystal Pave Hoop6 of 7

Laura Bond, Solid White Gold Aqua Crystal Pave Hoop

Forget chandelier earrings, crystal-encrusted septum rings are the new statement accessory.

Tribu Quintuple CZ Golden Septum7 of 7

Tribu, Quintuple CZ Golden Septum

Made from surgical steel and gold coated, this sparkly ring is an easy way to update an otherwise simple bar style.

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