Although it’s normal for people not to have any significant problems with the healing process of a new nose piercing, one of the most common issues we hear about from those who do is that the nose stud is “sinking in” and/or skin is growing over the stud of the jewelry. If you’ve noticed this starting to happen with your nose piercing, DON’T PANIC! There are many tricks and tips that can help you get through it smoothly and have your nose piercing in tip top shape in no time. Read on!
For the initial piercing, a piercer will usually use nose jewelry with a longer post and have you choose a large jewel or ball for the top so that it won’t “sink” into your piercing hole during the post piercing swelling. This will allow extra room for the swelling that occurs after being pierced (so that the jewelry won’t be too tight) until the swelling has gone down and you’ve healed enough to trade the jewelry out for something smaller. Sometimes, however, the piercing can become displaced or other factors can cause the jewelry to “sink” or have skin grow over it.
If you have skin growing over your piercing stud you’ll want to be sure not to leave it that way for long. The longer the skin is allowed to grow over the jewelry, the more painful and complicated it’ll be to fix. If it’s not too painful and doesn’t look infected, try to push the stud through the layer of skin as soon as you notice it trying to grow over.
Next, you’ll want to change the jewelry to either a hoop or a piece with a longer post or at least a bigger stud, depending on your particular situation. (Usually, I’d recommend switching both but if you already have a long post in with a small stud on the end switching the stud may be enough or vice versa.) If you’re not sure which option is best for you, I recommend speaking with your piercer – or possibly another piercer – about your situation.
It’s advisable to have your jewelry changed by a professional piercer when possible anyway and if it’s the one who pierced you to begin with he or she may even switch your jewelry for you at no extra charge! Of course, the most surefire way to make sure your piercing doesn’t sink in again is to switch your stud for a hoop. If you like or don’t mind the look of a hoop, at least temporarily ’til your piercing heals again or you find jewelry with a big enough stud to stay out of your piercing hole, try switching to a hoop. (Added bonus: hoops are easier to keep clean!)
If the piercing IS infected, it’s highly recommended that you see a physician ASAP. Here are signs you can check to determine whether you have an infection. If you notice any of the following, please consider a visit to your physician:
- An increase in pain, redness, swelling, burning, or tenderness around the piercing site.
- Swelling or tenderness in lymph glands above or below the piercing
- Greenish yellow discharge. (A bit of oozing or bleeding is normal but pus, especially when combined with other infection symptoms, can be a red flag.)
- A fever
If you do NOT have an infection, you can use the following techniques at home (or wherever you choose!) to decrease the swelling around your piercing and keep it as clean and healthy as possible so that it’ll heal as quickly as possible:
If you’re currently using sea salt soaks but are experiencing dryness or irritation around the socket/piercing hole, try exchanging your soaks for bacitracin, an ointment which you can typically pick up at your local pharmacy for a few dollars. You can apply bacitracin by putting a dot of the ointment on a q-tip and rubbing that onto the outside piercing area, especially where the post of the jewelry enters the hole. This will help to prevent infection and keep the socket mosturized. You can also rinse the socket out to remove any debris, oil, etc by running it under water (ie: in the shower) while slowly and carefully pushing the jewelry back and forth in the socket. Follow up after the rinse with a bacitracin application to keep the piercing site moist.
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