One of the most common 'old World' piercings to become popular in the Western world is the nose piercing. Most often, this is a piercing made somewhere along the curve of the nostril rim on either the left or right side as the wearer chooses. Nose piercings can take from between six and twelve weeks to heal. Many people debate whether a stud or a ring is the best jewelry, and you will find wearers split in their preferences.
Jewelry Choices for New Nose Piercings
Jewelry choice can also change depending on the age of the piercing. Most favor a ring for the initial piercing. Because the jewelry is thin and can be turned or moved in the piercing, it favors easy cleaning and allows extra room in case of slight swelling at the outset. Studs can be worn in new piercings but should be carefully fitted so as to not be too short or tight to the skin. Many new piercings show some signs of being swollen and reddened in the immediate area of the piercing, usually for first few days or so.
Healing - What to Expect
Nose piercings are through cartilage-heavy tissues. They are less flexible and have less blood supply than areas composed of softer tissue, like the lower ear lobe. Whereas a new ear piercing might 'settle down' in a week, some people find their new nostril piercings still look 'angry' and a bit red for a week or sometimes two after. Increasing redness, swelling and tenderness usually signal some form of infection. Don't be afraid to contact your piercer if you think you are having a healing issue.
Aftercare and Changing Jewelry
New jewelry should be surgical stainless steel or 14k or 18k gold. If you know that you tolerate niobium or titanium well, you might start with that. See what you piercer recommends. Sterling silver is better saved for established piercings that don't get irritated by the high rate of tarnish. For washing around the piercing, use a natural soap without dyes, perfumes or heavy anti-bacterials. These can all irritate the new piercing, as can over-cleaning the piercing. You will want to rinse the piercing with something like Bactine once a day, or apply a light dab of triple antibiotic ointment (if you are not allergic to it) to keep the ring lubricated and moving freely.
Piercings heal from the outside in, so what your nose is doing is growing a tunnel from the two sides of your nostril to surround the new jewelry. The surfaces can look healed whereas the inside areas might not be healed totally together, so don't rush to change into new jewelry for the first two months or so. Once healed, some people switch the ring to a stud, or switch to a smaller snugger ring than what they started with. A popular jewelry style is the nostril screw, an Indian-style where the short post ends in a half curl to hold it in place. Some people even find they can wear a conventional earring style post in their nostril and it will stay in place without a backing. This will depend on how 'tight' your piercing and the jewelry fit. Beware, you can loose backless studs when you sneeze!