Septum Piercing Care Tips and Tricks: A Guide

So, you’ve decided to get a septum piercing. Congratulations on your new permanent accessory slot! Whether you did it because it was trendy, because you thought it looked cool, or because you wanted to honor your culture through a ceremonial piercing, it doesn’t matter. You have a new nose ring.

Now, you have to take care of it. Like any piercing, septum piercings can cause some serious problems for you if they aren’t cared for properly. Not sure what sort of aftercare you should expect during your healing process? No worries. Our septum piercing care tips are here to answer all of your questions.

First, What Is a Septum Piercing?

Before we dig into aftercare and healing time, let’s first discuss what a septum piercing is. In doing so, the reason why they can be tricky to heal should become evident.

A septum piercing is a type of nose piercing that goes through the septum, or the space between your nostrils. More accurately, they go through a sweet spot between the actual septum cartilage and the skin below. If you experience severe pain during the piercing, your piercer may have gone through the actual cartilage instead.

How Long Does a Septum Piercing Take to Heal?

On average, a septum piercing will take around three to four months to heal. That’s a relatively long time for a piercing, but this is due in part to its location. A septum piercing goes through the mucosa of the nose, which helps to trap bacteria and other irritants before you breathe them in.

The wound from the piercing itself heals quickly. However, due to the recovery period of the body’s cartilage, it takes much longer before it’s considered fully healed. If your piercer misses his mark, that recovery time can extend to six or even eight months.

What to Do After Getting Your Septum Pierced

Now that we’ve covered basic healing time and what a septum piercing is, let’s dig deeper into what you should do after getting your new piercing. Some elements of this line up with standard piercing care. However, there are some special instructions that must be followed for septum piercing care, due to the increased risk of infection.

Don’t Touch It

We’re serious. Do not touch your new septum piercing. We know, it’s tempting to fiddle with it due to its newness and how it shifts in the middle of the day.

However, during those first few days, you should not touch your piercing if it can be avoided. You’ll still be swollen and sore at that time, and any irritation will only make it worse. Plus, if you pull too hard on the piercing, you could re-open a healing wound and increase your risk of infection.

Avoid Smoking

This might seem like a no-brainer. You just had a new nose ring put in, so anything that messes with your ability to breathe should be avoided for as long as possible while you’re healing. Nicotine messes with your body’s ability to recover from injury, so smoking will lengthen your recovery time.

Prepare a Saline Soak

As with most piercing care, it’s important to prepare a saline soak for the piercing each night. You can use a piercing aftercare mist or soak from the store or make your own, depending on your time and resources. Either way, you need to use your soak on your septum piercing twice daily while you heal.

If you do this, it will shorten your recovery time and help prevent the piercing from becoming infected. Make sure to use only a saline soak and not any harsh cleaners or cleansers.

Keep Yourself Clean and Healthy

Again, this might seem like a no-brainer, but a key part of septum piercing care is regular old self-care. If you don’t bathe often enough and let dirt and grime build up on you, you’re more likely to encounter infections when the skin gets broken. If you’re not healthy otherwise, the recovery period for your piercing can stretch out for much longer.

Keeping your sinuses healthy is especially important for any nose piercings you have. So, make sure you take proper medications for allergies, colds, and other upper respiratory issues.

Clean the Septum Jewelry

Hey, if you just bought new septum rings to go with your piercings, why wouldn’t you keep them clean? Not only do the rings look better when clean, but they run less risk of causing infections or other serious side effects. Simple soap and water should do the trick to clean the jewelry itself, though make sure you don’t use that on the piercing.

What Happens If You Don’t Clean a Septum Piercing Properly?

We’ve spoken at length about the steps you need to take to clean your septum piercing and care for it after the fact. However, you may wonder what the consequences are for neglecting that part.

Simply put? Severe infection, swelling, and pain. Potentially death, if the infection gets left untreated. Your septum is in a key part of your sinuses, which puts it on the frontlines of all sorts of bacteria and irritants. If these irritants get into the bloodstream, it could spell serious trouble for your immune system.

It’s not worth risking infection. Clean your piercings and follow proper jewelry care.

Warning Signs of a Piercing Infection or Other Problem

Now that you understand the potential danger of infection, let’s discuss some of the warning signs you need to look for while your septum piercing heals. Make sure to seek treatment if you see any of the following symptoms:

Pus-Like Discharge

Some discharge from the piercing after it happens is to be expected. Most of the time, this discharge comes from the lymph nodes and expels as a plain, clear or white fluid. If the discharge from the wound becomes thick and yellow or starts crusting around the piercing, that’s a serious red flag that something isn’t healing well.

Foul Smell from the Piercing

Have you smelled something foul all day long, but can’t seem to find the source? If you recently got a septum piercing, it could be a warning sign that your piercing has become infected. When infections cause abscesses, those abscesses of dead white blood cells put off a disgusting smell that’s almost impossible to get out of your nose under normal circumstances.

It’s especially impossible here since the infection is in the nose itself. So, to rid yourself of the bad smell and treat a bad infection before it gets worse, seek medical attention.

Severe Pain and Swelling

Again, experiencing some pain and swelling at the site of a piercing is only natural. You did shove a needle and a ring through your septum, after all. However, if the swelling around the wound makes it difficult to breathe, or you experience severe, long-lasting pain in the nose, call a doctor. Especially if the pain doesn’t respond to standard pain medications.


If you’re looking for the biggest, reddest flag possible that your septum piercing care failed and you’re infected, this is it. A fever is the body’s natural defense mechanism as it tries to fight off invading materials like bacteria or viruses. What’s uncomfortable for you could be deadly to most infections trying to kill you, or so the body reasons.

If you start running a fever after getting your septum pierced, seek medical attention as soon as possible. High fevers tend to show up during severe infections, which can kill you if not treated with antibiotics fast enough.

Radial Red Lines

One last major red flag of septum piercing rejection is red lines that radiate from where you got pierced. When you see those radiating red lines, you need to see yourself to the emergency room right away, as it could be a sign of septicemia. This deadly infection of the blood can cause your body to go into septic shock and kill you. Don’t run that risk.

Let’s Review Our Septum Piercing Care Tips

The consequences of improper septum piercing care can be quite grim. However, if you clean your piercings with a saline solution, avoid exposing the wound to too many germs while it heals, and keep yourself clean and healthy, you have nothing to fear. You’ll ride out the three- to four-month recovery period, and come out the other side with a sweet new piercing.

Did you find this article about proper septum piercing aftercare helpful? Would you like to read more about caring for piercings, or what piercings are in next year? If so, then check out our blog each day for more content like this.