Everyone nose piercings are rad. They’re a great way to express yourself and can be very meaningful. The downside — other than the ouchie itself — is that they can take a while to heal.
Here’s how long the most popular types of nose piercings take to heal. We also have important deets on aftercare, risks, and infection treatments.
Nose piercing healing times
Most nose piercings will heal within 2 to 9 months.
The exact timeline depends on the piercing location, piercing method, style of jewelry, and how well you care for the wound as it heals.
Here’s a rundown of the average healing times of the most common types of nose piercings.
A nostril (aka nares) piercing goes through the soft cartilage on either side of your nasal passages.
Expect a healing time of 4 to 6 months, depending on the type of jewelry. Thicker gauges tend to take longer to heal than thin rings.
Your septum is the thin layer of nerves, skin, and blood vessels between your nostrils. It’s a delicate area, so these piercings tend to hurt more than nostril piercings.
The good news? Septum piercings usually heal faster. Most folks bounce back in 2 to 3 months.
Bridge piercings pass through a small section of skin on the very top of your nose, almost near the eyebrows.
Since very little tissue is being pierced, bridge piercings usually heal in 2 to 3 months.
Nasallang piercings are pretty complex. They go through the septum and both nostrils. That’s why you should def go to an experienced piercer to get this done.
The average healing time is 4 to 6 months.
Vertical nose tip (aka rhino)
This piercing goes through the tip of your nose in a vertical straight line. Think of it as an inverse septum piercing, only way less common.
Because the tissue on the tip of your nose is fairly thick, these piercings heal more slowly. Most folks say it takes about 6 to 9 months.
Lots of factors can impact your nose piercing’s healing timeline. Here’s the DL.
Some parts of the nose heal faster than others. For example, a rhino piercing that goes through a thick section of nose tip tissue will take longer to heal than, say, a bridge piercing.
Picking at skin
Do *not* pick at your piercing. We know the temptation is real, but picking can irritate the wound and increase your risk of infection, lengthening recovery time.
Pulling or playing
Heads up: It’s a total myth that you’re supposed to twist or turn your piercing as it heals.
IRL, touching your piercing can agitate the wound. It can also be hella painful if you tug too hard or get your jewelry snagged on a sweater. Trust us.
Type of jewelry
Be careful with the type of jewelry you use. The safest metals are solid gold, niobium, titanium, or surgical stainless steel. Nickel, on the other hand, is more likely to cause an allergic reaction or turn your skin green. Yuck.
Reminder: Thicker gauges take longer to heal than thinner posts.
Piercing guns are the pits. Go for a needle instead.
Piercing guns cause more trauma to sensitive tissue and prolong the healing process. They’re also more likely to cause scarring or infections compared to a clean needle and an experienced hand.
Aftercare is a huge part of the healing process. Clean and care for your piercing like you would any other wound. (More on that in a minute.)
Nose piercing aftercare regimens differ slightly depending on the type of piercing. But here’s a general step-by-step guide.
- Wash up. The inside of your nose is home to lots of bacteria, so nose piercings are extra prone to infection. Wash your hands with warm soapy water before touching the skin near the piercing. This keeps the area as clean as possible.
- Soak a clean cotton ball in a saline solution. You can buy a saline solution at the drugstore or DIY it by adding 1 teaspoon of salt to 2 cups of sterile water.
- Gently dab the saline-soaked cotton ball to both sides of the piercing. This might sting a bit, but it shouldn’t be “Threat Level Midnight” painful.
- Apply a light moisturizer. This prevents the wound from drying out too much. Your piercer can recommend the best lotion for your unique skin sitch. In general, avoid any harsh fragrances, chemicals, or additives that can cause irritation.
Now that you know how to slay an aftercare regimen, follow these tips to keep your piercing free from infection:
- Sleep on clean pillowcases.
- Don’t remove the jewelry until the piercing’s totally healed.
- Don’t apply antibacterial ointments to the wound.
- Always pat skin dry with a clean paper towel.
- Never reuse cotton swabs (or other cleaning materials).
- Don’t submerge your piercing in water until it’s 10/10 healed. That means avoiding the pool.
Piercings can look cool AF, but they aren’t without risks. Here are some things to keep in mind.
- Infections. Your nose is lined with bacteria that can lead to an infection. So again, it’s super important to follow a strict aftercare regimen.
- Communicable diseases. Be very careful about who is piercing your nose and what equipment they use. Poorly sterilized tools can cause viruses like hepatitis C or B, tetanus, and HIV to enter your bloodstream.
- Bleeding. Avoid getting a piercing if you have a condition that affects your blood’s ability to clot. You should also talk to a health care provider about safety precautions if you take anticoagulant meds.
- Scarring. Hypertrophic scars are a common symptom of piercings. They usually appear within 4 to 8 weeks and shrink slowly over time. Still, there’s a chance you’ll have a permanent scar.
- Keloids. Piercings can trigger keloids — lumps of fibrous scar tissue that grow around wound sites. Keloids are most common in folks ages 10–30 but can happen at any age.
- Nerve damage. It’s possible to hit a nerve during a nose piercing. This might be more common if the piercing’s performed by an inexperienced piercer — especially if a piercing gun is used. Nerve damage can lead to permanent symptoms like loss of sensation or numbness.
Minor discomfort, itching, or swelling are common after a piercing. But it’s important to know the signs of a more serious concern.
Symptoms of an infected piercing include:
- hot, swollen, or discolored skin
- blood or pus oozing from the wound
How to heal an infected nose piercing
You might be able to treat a minor infection at home. Some tips:
- Do clean both sides of the piercing with a sterile saline solution 3x a day.
- Don’t apply antibiotic ointments, hydrogen peroxide, or alcohol to the wound. This can cause irritation and slow the healing process.
- Don’t remove the piercing. This can close the hole and trap bacteria inside the wound.
PSA: Contact a health care provider ASAP if you have severe pain, fever, or pus. A doc can examine the wound and prescribe antibiotics or other helpful meds.
Feeling nosy? Here are the answers to all of your piercing questions.
What are the different stages of nose piercing healing?
The piercing healing process has 4 main stages.
- Hemostasis. Within the first 24 hours of your piercing, the wound should stop bleeding and start to scab.
- Inflammatory. This stage peaks 24 to 48 hours after the piercing. Your body will attract immune cells to the wound and flush out bacteria. Minor swelling or discomfort is normal.
- Proliferation. This phase lasts from 4 to 24 days. Your wound will get crusty and dry. New blood vessels are formed, and tissue fills the wound.
- Maturation. During this phase, the new tissues formed during the proliferation phase grow stronger. Maturation can last anywhere from 21 days to 2 years.
How do I know when my nose piercing is healed?
Your piercing is healed when you no longer have any:
- flaking skin
How long do you have to wait to change your nose piercing?
It depends on the type of piercing you have. Some jewelry can be changed after 2 months. Other piercings need 6 months or longer to heal.
Ask your piercer for an estimate based on your unique situation.
How can I make my nose piercing heal faster?
You can’t rush the healing process. Your best bets are to keep the wound clean and avoid picking at it. Also, be sure to treat an infection as soon as you start to show symptoms.
Do you clean the inside of a nose piercing?
Yup! It’s important to clean the inside and outside of your nose piercing.
Nose piercings have a wide range of healing times. Some are good to go in a couple of months, while others take up to 9 months.
A lot of factors can impact the healing, including:
- type of jewelry
- piercing method
- piercing location
- aftercare regimen
Thicker areas of tissue — like the tip of the nose — take longer to heal than thinner areas of tissue. Getting pierced with a piercing gun or by an inexperienced piercer can also increase your healing time. Always see a qualified piercer and follow aftercare rules. This will reduce your risk of infection and keep your healing on track.