Nose piercings, although practiced for well over 4000 years, are one of the most popular types of piercings in the world. It involves placing jewelry (usually a hoop or a stud) through the cartilage of the left or right nostril, or the septum, to alter or improve your look.

However, like all piercings, they need to be properly maintained, particularly in the early stages, to avoid infection.

This article will be a helpful piece whether you’re curious or you’ve already taken the plunge, with information about maintenance, infections and home remedies to get rid of them.

Brief History Of Nose Piercings

Before becoming a global fashion trend, nostril piercings originated in the Middle East, and India was one of the first places to embrace the practice. In fact, a popular Ayurvedic belief is that piercing the left nostril can help reduce the pain of childbirth.

Types of Nose Piercings

There are two broad categories of nose piercings and the each heal at different rates.

1. Nostril Piercing

This is usually done in the fleshy area, or cartilage covering the nostrils and the healing time is typically 2 to 4 months.

2. Septum Piercing

This piercing is done to the area separating your two nostrils, and can take anywhere from 6 to 8 months to fully heal.

Nose Piercing Bumps

In some cases, a bump may form in the first few weeks of piercing your nose due to a number of reasons.

Some of the most popular reasons are:

  1. Injury or trauma to the piercing area before it’s adequately healed.
  2. Replacing or outrightly removing the jewelry before the piercing has healed.
  3. Poor hygiene
  4. Infection
  5. Inefficient or improper piercing practices
  6. Low quality jewelry

Thankfully, regular cleanings are usually enough to get rid of nose piercing bumps, however, special cases may require medical attention.

Types of Nose Piercing Bumps

To keep it simple, we’re going to use two classifications: bumps with infection and those without.

Bumps Without Infection

If there is no infection, the bump may just be a granuloma which is a non cancerous overgrowth of tissues where the piercing was done. The granuloma may have a clear or yellow discharge, and it may also bleed fairly easily.

What you may also have, particularly in the event of trauma or injury, is a scar tissue growth called a keloid.

This hard, lumpy, reddish-pink patch of skin is more common in persons of Asian or African descent, especially those of dark skin tones. You’re also more likely to develop one if you had one on previous piercings.

Bumps With Infection

If the bump is infected, it will be inflamed, tender and possibly contain some discharge as pus is a telltale sign of an infection.

Overall, it will resemble a pimple but may form into an abscess later on.

Causes of Infected Nose Piercing Bumps

During the healing stages of your piercing, the area is extremely vulnerable to germs (and other foreign organisms) which can lead to infections. The following are some of the main causes of infections in most cases:

A) Poor Hygiene

Unhygienic practices such as touching the piercing area with bare, unclean hands can lead to infection.  

B) Use of Public Swimming Pools

Public pools ar filled with foreign microorganisms that can lead to infections, especially if you have open wounds (which is essentially what a piercing is).

C) Unsterilized Instruments

Sterilization is a higher level of cleaning which involves destroying any microorganisms on the piercing tools so that they aren’t introduced into your body when the skin breaks.

D) Allergic Reaction

The jewelry you use can cause an infection if it’s of poor quality, dirty or made of some material that you’re allergic to.

E) Inefficient or Poor Cleaning Habits

Not paying the requisite time and attention to cleaning, or using incorrect cleaning solutions, can increase the likelihood of infection.

F) Injury During Healing

Injury during healing can postpone the healing, thereby extending the vulnerability of the area of even making it worse.

How Do I Know If My Nose Piercing Is Infected?

Here are a few signs of an infected piercing:

  • If the swelling takes longer than the average healing time.
  • Prolonged redness, inflammation or tenderness
  • Excess crust on the piercing area
  • Extreme pus like discharge
  • If the area is extremely sensitive
  • Foul odor from the area
  • Bumps or abscesses
  • Nausea, fever and/or chills

How To Get Rid of Infected Piercing Bumps Naturally

If you’re infection is still fairly mild and you don’t think a doctor’s visit is necessary just yet, here are a few home remedies you can try first:

1. Chamomile Tea Bag

Chamomile is an incredible home remedy for tackling inflammation. It also relieves irritation and helps to speed up the wound healing process.

Directions:

  • Soak a chamomile tea bag in warm water** then place it on the infected area for 5 to 10 minutes
  • When the tea bag cools off, repeat the process
  • Repeat 2 to 3 times daily to reduce tenderness

** – Can be a hybrid treatment with sea salt soak.

2. Sea Salt Soak

A sea salt soak works by drawing out the pus from the infected area and getting rid of the offending bacteria or germs. It also helps to speed up the healing process and should be done twice per day until the infection has passed.

Directions:

  • Make a solution with some sea salt and warm water
  • Take a cotton ball and soak it in the solution
  • Squeeze out the excess and apply the cotton ball to the infected area
  • Alternately, you could just dip your nose into the sea salt solution
  • Use clean, warm water to remove excess salt after completion

3. Aloe Vera

Here we have another natural remedy for inflammation and itching. Aloe is also purported to help reduce scars, particularly if used in the early stages.

Directions:

  • Using a cotton ball or swab, add some gel from the aloe vera plant to the cleaned, infected area.

Do this 2 to 4 times daily.

4.Aspirin Paste

The anti-inflammatory properties of aspirin make it an excellent option to reduce swelling and irritation. Furthermore, it helps to drain fluids from the infection.

Directions:

  • Dissolve some aspirin in water to create a paste.

Apply to the area every night until the infection clears.

5.Tea Tree Oil

The things that make tea tree oil an effective home remedy for a nose piercing infection is that it is an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.

Directions:

  • Mix 2 to 3 drops of tea tree oil with a mild oil such as jojoba, olive or coconut oil and apply to the infected area using a clean cotton ball or swab.
  • Repeat twice daily until the infection clears.

6.Turmeric and Oil

Turmeric is one of the most versatile home remedies due to its host of beneficial properties. For one, its antimicrobial properties can help to heal piercing infections in a timely manner.

Directions:

  • Mix some turmeric powder with warm oil (coconut, jojoba, olive etc) and apply it to the piercing infection site.
  • Rinse with warm water.

7.Cold Press

Cold compresses are an excellent choice for reducing pain as the low temperatures numbs the area, helps to fight off infection and reduces irritation and swelling.

Directions:

  • Add some ice cubes to a piece of cloth**
  • Wrap it and place it on the infected area for 10 to 20 minutes, two times per day.

** Extended, using ice on the area directly can cause more damage to the piercing.

8. Honey

The antibacterial agents in honey are known for their ability to ward off infections which makes it an ideal solution to use on your infected nipple piercing.

Furthermore, it is an incredible moisturiser which helps your skin look and feel soft and supple. Use honey to help the condition by:

  • Applying raw honey to the piercing site 2 to 4 times daily.

It is important to note that after applying, the honey should be rinsed before any clogging of the area can take place.

9.Apple Cider Vinegar

ACV can work as a home remedy for infected piercings by disinfecting the area, reducing the pus and calming the irritation.

Directions:

  • Soak a clean cotton ball in a solution of equal parts water and ACV
  • Gently apply the cotton ball to the piercing

This remedy is not ideal for persons with sensitive skin as it may cause stinging.

Precautions

In addition to the home remedies mentioned above, there are several precautions and noites to note when you have nose piercing, especially when dealing with an infection.

  • Continue to clean the piercing once per day as this will help to remove bacteria which may be working to make it worse. A saline solution is recommended but an antibacterial soap may also be used.In either case, care should be taken with the pressure applied as treating the area roughly can further disrupt the healing process.
  • As tempting as it may be, do not attempt to drain a piercing bump, especially with your hands or unsterilized instruments. This could potentially do make things worse by introducing more foreign organisms into the area and your body on a whole.
  • If you’re convinced it must be drained, seek professional, medical intervention.
  • Do not change or remove the jewelry – unless you’re allergic, in which case you should allow a professional to do the job.  

How To Prevent A Nose Piercing Infection

An old but gold piece of wisdom is that “prevention is better than a cure”. In order to prevent piercing infections, there are certain things to know and consider before and after doing it:

  1. Always get it done by a professional. Professionals not only have the right tools available but they’re also able to properly sterilize these instruments and are aware of any tricks and techniques to make the experience a smooth and safe one.
  2. Our hands are always covered in germs and there’s no way around it. Simple things like exchanging money leaves a host of germs on your hand. This is why it is important to wash your hands thoroughly before touching any unhealed piercings.
  3. Using quality jewelry is one of the underrated precautions when dealing with nose piercings. Some suggested jewelry metals are gold, stainless steel, niobium and titanium. Some to stay away from – particularly if you have sensitive skin – are nickel, brass and copper.
  4. The jewelry piece should not be removed at all in the first 6 to 8 weeks, except in cases of allergic reaction. For the rest of the healing period, however, the piercing should still remain in place as long as possible to speed up healing.
  5. Clean the piercing regularly
  6. Don’t fiddle or play with the piercing as this can cause trauma to the area and suspend healing.
  7. Exercise caution when getting dressed or undressed.
  8. Avoid makeup on and around the area until completely healed.
  9. Keep your piercing away from unclean water (lakes, swimming pools etc)

How To Clean Your Nose Piercing

To clean your piercing, use a cotton ball dipped in a warm sea salt water solution and gently clean the area. Rinse with warm water and dry by patting.

When cleaning, gently remove any crush and avoid any harsh rubbing and tugging.

Also, you should pre-wash your hands before getting started.

If you’re wondering if you should use alcohol, the answer is no. Stay away from alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, methylated spirits and other harsh substances as these will severely hamper the healing process and may even leave unsightly scars.

When To Seek Medical Help

Home remedies can work as a first approach to clear up a nose piercing infection, however, if it lasts more than two weeks, please consult a doctor.

He or she may need to prescribe some oral medication to address the infection.

You should also consult a doctor if:

  • The piercing site is extremely painful
  • You develop flu or fever like symptoms around the same time you became aware of the infection
  • There is a strong and lingering smelly discharge
  • The bump continues to grow larger

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