Hope & Healing: The UF Health Blog

Trendy nose rings can pose health risks

The ring once reserved for bull nostrils has made its way onto celebrities such as Rihanna and Lady Gaga. Sporting septum piercings, the hoop that goes in between a person’s nostrils, has become a trend.

Like all trends though, be wary before you take the plunge. Here’s what you should know:

Piercing this area takes skill.

The best way to minimize pain and maximize healing is to pierce the area between the cartilage and bottom of the nose, said Amy Loyd, D.O., an assistant professor of dermatology in the UF College of Medicine. A reputable and experienced piercer, like one at a licensed tattoo shop, will be able to find that fleshy area.

“Not only do you want to avoid infections, which can be burdensome, but significant infections can lead to destruction of the septum and permanent saddle-nose deformity,” she said.

Proper hygiene is a must.

As with all piercings, there is a risk of contracting a blood-borne disease such as hepatitis and HIV. Make sure your piercer is using sterile, single-use needles.

Take care of your piercing.

After you get a septum piercing, piercers recommend that you take care of it. Alcoholic beverages can cause inflammation and uncomfortable swelling, so hold off on drinking right after your piercing is complete. It’s also a good idea to skip grabbing a beer before you get your piercing done, too. Alcohol thins the blood, making it more likely that you’ll bleed during or after getting the ring in.

But alcohol in your cocktails isn’t the only kind that can cause a problem. Facial cleansers can contain rubbing alcohol, which can irritate your piercing and cause redness and inflammation. You still need to clean your new piercing, though. To do so, Loyd recommends you wash your hands before cleaning the area with antibacterial soap twice a day.

Like other body piercings, your septum may take six to eight weeks to heal. If you see that your septum is continually red, swollen or oozing pus, contact your piercer or doctor immediately. Their job is to help you take care of your piercing, and they can tell you if it’s infected.

If you’re not ready to commit fully into the trend, stick with a temporary septum ring, which doesn’t pierce the skin. If you do decide to get the area pierced though, make sure you’re willing to take care of it.

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Ansley Pentz's picture

Ansley Pentz

UF Health News Intern

Ansley Pentz is a UF journalism junior who currently interns at UF Health News and previously served as...Read More