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What is a Septum Piercing?

Anna T.
Updated May 21, 2024
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A septum piercing is a type of nose piercing. Unlike most common types of nose piercings, which involve the outside of either one or both nostrils, a septum piercing is inside the piece of cartilage that separates the nostrils. Many people refer to these piercings as bull piercings because they look similar to the rings that bulls are often made to wear in their noses. One of the advantages of septum piercings is that they are fairly easy to hide when necessary. Unfortunately, they can be very painful, due to the amount of nerve endings in that part of the nose, but this varies from person to person.

The first step in getting a septum piercing is usually choosing the jewelry for the piercing. This is considered important because the same jewelry must be worn for several months, and some people need to be sure that they are wearing something that is easily hidden. Many employers and school systems will not allow a person with this type of piercing to display it. A retainer, which is similar in shape to a staple, or a type of barbell piercing may be the types of jewelry for a person to use if he needs to hide his septum piercing during the first few months.

Before the area is pierced, the person doing the piercing will typically shave the area around that part of the nose and trim any visible nose hairs. The septum is usually cleaned with rubbing alcohol or some type of soap that will kill germs, and then the piercer typically marks the area to be pierced with a magic marker. After this, the piercing takes place. A clamp might be attached to the septum to help numb it and make it easier for the piercer to insert the needle. Needle insertion is normally done with either a gun or by hand.

People who have a low tolerance for pain may want to request that a mild anesthetic is used in addition to the nose clamp before piercing, although this likely won't eliminate all the pain. Septum piercings tend to be incredibly painful regardless of what is done to numb the area because of all the nerve endings in the nose. The pain is usually gone shortly after the piercing is done and will heal quickly as long as it is taken care of. Most septum piercings are completely healed within three months or less.

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Anna T.
By Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to BeautyAnswered. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.

Discussion Comments

By anon989563 — On Mar 12, 2015

I have many piercings, and found the septum to be the least painful, even less so than lobes! But as mentioned earlier, the cleaning is the part that hurts. The crying effect is also annoying - My eyes will literally start flowing randomly if the ring is moved, which can be a little embarrassing. For the most part I love it, but can't wait until it's healed and I can put in a smaller ring, as my current one cannot be upturned inside my nose.

By anon250720 — On Feb 27, 2012

I'm a girl and I have my septum pierced, even though I wear it flipped up in my nose most of the time. I have an extremely low pain tolerance, yet it didn't hurt to get my septum pierced. A small sting was all I felt. When the needle was in, I couldn't feel a thing. I even played with the needle, moved it around a bit.

The worst part of the septum piercing is not actually getting it pierced; it's when crust is formed around the hole and you try to move the jewelry. It hurts so bad, it feels like glass splinters in your nose. Make sure you clean it several times a day and remove all the crust, otherwise it will be a pain in the butt (or should I say nose?) to clean it the next time. But it's a nice piercing, and if you're considering it, just go for it! It's definitely worth it!

By geekish — On Aug 02, 2011

I haven't seen much septum piercing on the east coast. I live in North Carolina and I would say nose piercing, your more traditional type of nose piercing has been a pretty steady trend.

Interestingly I have seen all different styles use the nose piercing well. I have a friend who is very professional and she wears it well with just a small stud in her nose.

Another piercing that I wonder if it has decreased or increased in popularity is tongue piercings. When I was in college there were 2 out of the 20 something girls that were on my team that had them.

They said the same things about the tongue piercing as @animegal said in their comment - you had to keep that area clean.

I think for that reason alone, I shall stick to my ear piercings!

By Perdido — On Aug 01, 2011

@Oceana - I have a septum piercing and nasal issues, but it’s not as hard as you may think. Once the piercing has healed, which for me, took four months, you can remove it to blow your nose or use nasal spray.

I have some gold and silver jewelry cleaner that I use often for my septum rings and barbells. It removes the mucus that does crust on the jewelry. I clean the pieces every day to prevent infection.

I will admit, it does get tiresome taking the thing out to blow my nose several times a day. However, it doesn’t cause me any pain. So, I deal with the inconvenience because I like the look.

By Oceana — On Aug 01, 2011

I cannot imagine going through that much pain to be trendy. I know how much it hurts just to tweeze a nose hair from around the septum, or how painful it is to have a sore spot there from constant nose blowing due to a cold. To even think of intentionally having someone stick a hole through the tender septum makes my nose burn!

I get colds so frequently, plus I struggle with allergies. I can’t see how anyone with any type of sinus issues could live with a septum piercing. How would you blow your nose? How would you use nasal spray? Wouldn’t mucus get caught up on the ring and crust it over?

By seag47 — On Jul 31, 2011

My cousin was the victim of extreme bullying in school. He got a septum piercing to look more edgy so that they might leave him alone. He ended up wishing he had not done that.

The bullies normally followed him around all day, shoving him into walls and calling him names. He had learned to ignore them. He had a small frame and could not have won in a fight.

When he showed up to school with a bull ring through his nose and dressed all in black, it made the bullies more energized in their quest. They backed him up against a wall and one of them yanked the ring out of his nose right through the septum. He had to have medical attention right away, because the blood came gushing out so quickly.

By OeKc05 — On Jul 31, 2011

Because our high school had a very strict dress code, my friend had to hide the septum piercing he got when he was seventeen. He asked the lady who pierced it to put a small barbell through it instead of a ring so that he would not get expelled from school.

He told me that the pain during piercing could be compared to someone hitting you in the end of the nose so hard that they made it bleed. The only difference was that the pain was concentrated in one area of intensity.

After he graduated, he removed the barbell and put a ring through the hole. College officials did not care about piercings, and he wanted to show his off after he had endured so much pain to get it.

By KaBoom — On Jul 30, 2011

@sunnySkys - Although some piercings may be a little scandalous in a business environment, I think piercing has become very mainstream. There are few piercings I would describe as "edgy."

When I was in high school, piercings were sort of just getting popular. A lot of my friends were really into piercings and had septum piercings, nose piercings, eyebrow piercings, and of course navel piercings. Most of the parents definitely did not approve. However, I'm under the impression things are a little different these days.

By lonelygod — On Jul 29, 2011

@tigers88 - I am not really sure that septum piercing is a good look on girls, or guys for that matter. I find the rings far too bulky and that they don't really flatter the human face. I admit I have to agree with summing, they really do look like the same piercings that grace livestock.

I have always been interested in body modification and piercings, but more in the sense that I find it really interesting what people will do to themselves. So much of it comes back to people following trends, whether they want to acknowledge it or not.

Does anyone think a septum piercing is a good marker of individuality, or just a display of poor judgment?

By sunnySkys — On Jul 29, 2011

I have a few friends, both male and female, with this piercing. I hate to say it, but I think it looks much better on the guys. I think this piercing is a little trashy on women for some reason.

However, I think a regular nose piercing looks really nice on girls. It's just the right amount of edgy, I think.

By animegal — On Jul 29, 2011

My friend had his septum pierced a few years ago and you really have to take good care of the piercing site so it doesn't get infected. You have to rinse the site out with fresh water a few times a day and you should make sure you don't get any soap into the piercing.

Another thing you must do is clean the site with anti-bacterial soap. You should try to clean the piercing you have and the area around it. It can be painful, but you must turn the piercing to make sure the soap gets into the hole. My friend said this was one of the worst things about having his septum pierced, as the soap really stung.

By truman12 — On Jul 28, 2011

I got my septum pierced a few years ago and make no mistake about it, it *hurts*! The piercer warned me that this was one of the more painful piercings but I thought I could handle it. I have several other exotic piercings and tattoos and I figured I could handle about anything. For the first time ever I started crying once the needle went in. I don't regret getting it and I love the way it looks now but be prepared for what you are getting into.

By summing — On Jul 27, 2011

@tigers 88- I have to respectfully disagree. I am not a fan at all of septum piercings.

Every time I see someone with their septum pierced my first thought is of a cow with a ring through its nose. I can't help myself, its my number one association.

But to each their own. If you are into it than go for it. I guess it can always be removed and once its out who would ever know that it was there?

By tigers88 — On Jul 27, 2011

Septum piercing seem to be really popular these days, especially with girls. I feel like when I go out to a show every fifth girl I see has her septum pierced. Personally, I think its great. It is a really unique looking piercing that adds a lot to the face without being distracting. Lets hope the trend continues

Anna T.

Anna T.

Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to BeautyAnswered. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
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