In 2009 I got my nose pierced, and I can’t really remember anything about it except a big lump and loads of blood squirting on my exam paper (Literary Criticism And Theory, or something...).
Then I got it re-pierced five months ago and while me and my piercing have had some good times, we’ve also had some shockers. If you’re thinking of getting it done, then someone needs to tell you the truth, and not the ‘Oh, you might get a lump but it’ll go really quickly’ truth. The ‘hard lumps of snot’ truth.
Nose piercing pain: Does getting your nose pierced hurt?
Yes. Anyone who says it doesn't hurt has an abnormal pain threshold, and I salute them. I have a normal pain threshold – as in, I don't actively go out in search of needles, but if one becomes necessary, I won't cry and be unable to sleep the night before and can appreciate the delights of digging out a splinter with a pin –but this hurt roughly five times more than expected. Mainly because I was comparing it to getting my ears pierced and the two aren't comparable.
Of course, it doesn't hurt like your nose has fallen off. You won't be unable to go on. And it's over fairly quickly. But still, it feels like a very thick bar of hot metal is being pressed through your nose and your eyes will water like a hose.
Your nose piercing will ache afterwards
I only take painkillers when I'm in so much pain someone says, 'Here, have some painkillers and stop moaning', but I had to buy painkillers after having my nose pierced because it ached and I felt a bit dizzy. This could have been because I hadn't eaten breakfast due to being hungover, or it could have been because I was hungover. Maybe don't get it done if you're hungover.
Nose piercing aftercare
Saline solution is the only way to clean it (spirit, alcohol, all of that stuff won't work), and in order to prevent it getting infected, you will need to clean it a lot.
Nobody told me that contact lens solution is the same as salt water, so I spent three weeks boiling water in a kettle and creating my own, which invariably meant I forgot sometimes and only cleaned it once a day rather than the obligatory 175,000. So buy some saline solution from Boots and spend your downtime squirting it at your face, then revel in the fact that it gets a bump anyway. Because...
Bump on nose piercing
Bumps are weird non-permanent scar tissues that occur when you catch the nose piercing on things, the tissue is disrupted and a bumpy lump appears. And it will appear. It will appear and not go for weeks. And even though you're essentially a walking puddle of saline, people will say, 'You should put saline solution on it' and you'll want to murder them.
Others will reassure you that theirs disappeared after three days, which won't be reassuring when it's still there two weeks later. Then, after constant saline squirting, it will go, and you'll feel smug until your boyfriend accidentally headbutts you, the lump comes back, and the cycle begins again.
It won't scar forever, but if it's there for longer than a month, go to the doctors just in case it's one of the Dreaded Yahoo Answers Lumps – as in, the lump that someone innocuously asks about on Yahoo Answers only to have some girl respond with the time she got a lump and it took over her whole face and she had to have surgery through her arse to remove it.
It won't be that sort of lump, but it's always worth checking these things out.
You will touch it. And people will tell you to stop touching it
And, again, you'll want to murder them. It feels so cool, and you like twizzling it, and you need to keep checking there's a bump with your fingers and don't worry you'll give it a squirt of saline after you just twisted it that one last time. Oh, you've got a lump. Well, don't say everyone didn't warn you – now do you feel good about yourself? No. You feel bad. You are a stupid person and every time you look in the mirror, or see someone with a perfect nose piercing, you'll be reminded of this.
You will get super-snot
Oh God, this is the worst but also oddly satisfying: if you have an L-shaped bar, then snot will build up behind the bar until it gets too vast to remain there so it will fall out of your nostril. The only way to prevent this from happening is to pick it out before it starts, and nobody wants to do this in public, so a lot of my downtime was spent disposing of snot balls while my boyfriend tried to watch TV and remain attracted to me.
Sometimes I would wake up and there would be snot on my pillow. The whole thing was really hot.
Someone will rip it out
Whether it's you, at night, or at a spa party in Budapest when your sister slam dunks you into the pool, it will get ripped out and a lump will form. If you lose the stud, due to it being somewhere on the floor or in an Ancient Hungarian Baths, then pretty much all is lost because the bastard only takes about four minutes to heal up.
Obviously an exaggeration, but mine shot out six hours before I could get to a piercer and he couldn't get a bar through it, so I have to wait for the lump (OBVIOUSLY A LUMP APPEARED) to subside before re-doing it.
Can you get your nose pierced with a ring?
You'll have to wait until the piercing settles down before you can put a ring on it – and while there are some hallowed few who are able to do this after a couple of months, most of us take the stud out, can't get the ring in, bleed everywhere, put the stud back in, and have a big lump the next day. That's life in the fast lane, guys. Life in the nose lane. The nose piercing lane. Population: You. And a big lump.
It’s worth it
Like one of those articles about the shit things that happen during pregnancy (including awful stories about actual shit), it always ends with 'And it's worth it'. But it really is, because on the days when you don't have a lump and everything's settled down about five months in – not hyperbole, mine only settled down five months in – you'll catch yourself in the mirror and be so chuffed you stuck by it because while it's been a pain in the arse, it also looks brilliant. Just like a baby, but on your nose.
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.