Note from Sacred Raven Tattoo and Piercing Shop: It’s me again, Enrique “Reek” Perez, I have been an advanced piercing specialist since 2006 and continuing my ‘piercing near me‘ blog series. Last time we covered ‘do piercings hurt?” and today I will be addressing septum piercing. This nose piercing has grown in popularity in the last fifteen years of my career, and I’ll take you through a little history, explain what a septum piercing is, go over the jewelry to use, and inform you of some of the issues you need to know about. Then, I’ll remind you about the good maintenance of your nose piercing and go over our simple pricing. Once you’ve learned what you need to know, book your septum piercing and I’ll be here to help you enjoy the process.
A Very Brief History of the Septum Piercing
The septum, the bull ring, that shit in your face, although going by a few names, the look is very distinct and always stands out. Today the septum piercing is an incredibly common body modification despite its rebellious roots in punk culture and even going way back to indigenous tribes from Africa and Central America. The second most common piercing among primitive tribes, after the ear piercing, its history originates with the Native American Indians and warrior cultures with thick bone plugs as septum jewelry, made from tibia bones of enemies killed in wars.
picture from Pinched and Pierced
What is a Septum
For those of you who are still wondering, let me explain what a septum is first. A successful septum piercing is done dead center in the nose, not the nostrils. The flat part of your nose is going to run adjacent to your sweet spot, this spot is different for every person because there are different nose shapes like there are Pokémon, but to find it all you have to do is take your index finger and thumb and pinch inside of your nose on the center. Do you feel that hard part? Well, that is cartilage so we will not be doing that, not only would that be painful, but your septum would never be even. So, we go just below that cartilage and above where your nose starts to thicken again.
Do Septum Piercings Hurt?
Everyone experiences pain differently (know your pain personality type for piercings). Septum piercing involves going through cartilage which is more painful, BUT choosing the right piercer can make all the difference in managing pain levels because the best will go through the softer space of tissue just below the septum, which heals readily and causes far less pain.
How Much Is A Septum Piercing?
At Sacred Raven Tattoo Shop, your septum piercing (with jewelry included) is $50.
Jewelry To Use In A Septum
Horseshoe Septum Piercing
The most common form of jewelry to use in a septum is a “horseshoe” curved barbell, it gets this name by looking like a, you guessed it, horseshoe, glad to see you are still with me on this one. If you came in to see me and asked for a septum, unless a special request is made, I always use a horseshoe. The reason for this is simple, most people have jobs, extracurricular activities, parents, school, church, you name it, that may have policies against facial piercings. This ninja jewelry not only allows space for swelling during the initial piercings but also allows you to take the exposed balls and tuck them in so they are not seen (keep your mind out of the gutter). Like any other piercing, there are many styles and materials for jewelry.
Hoop Septum Piercing
The aforementioned horseshoe owns the market in popularity, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s the only look you can pull off. If your lifestyle allows it, consider a hoop. Hoops are classy and versatile. You could go for a smaller one that hugs the septum or a larger one for a bolder look. Personally, I would always advise a hinged hoop, this one is pretty straight forward but it is a one-piece hoop with a small hinge that allows a segment to open up wide while using a detent on the other side to keep it locked. I really like this jewelry because of the large opening that lets you slide it right in. Captive bead rings can be a real pain to put in because you have a limited space to get past the thick of your nose, so food for thought.
Pincers, Bars, Retainers and Mustache Septum Piercing
And then you have your oddball jewelry like pincers, bars, retainers, and even mustaches. Pincers get their name from looking like a crab or lobster claw, so they start thick and then taper to a smaller tip. Generally, there are small O-rings that keep the piece showing evenly for everyday wear. Bars create a horizontal look that some people like, often with spikes or gems at the end, because it goes against the natural lines of your face it really tends to stand out. Retainers are for the discreet wearer. They are usually made from polyurethane for people that need to make sure it stays hidden or people that have some kind of medical examination that cannot wear metal. Lastly you have mustaches which, you guessed it, mimic the look of a mustache. Not going to lie, you’re just a big ol goober if you wear one of those, so own it. However, since the mustache tends to have more material, it also weighs more. So, this is not a piece you would want to wear every day, save it for your cousin Jackie’s bar mitzvah.
Issues to Know About When Getting a Septum Piercing
If you do decide to get a septum done, be aware that there are a few issues to look out for. Can everyone get a septum done? Well, technically yes, but with varying degrees of success. Unfortunately, some people just don’t have the anatomy for a septum piercing. The most common issue in this regard would be a deviated septum, that’s fancy talk for “DOG! Your shits crooked!”. Remember that hard part on the inside of your nose we discussed earlier? For some people that part might naturally be off, picture Owen Wilson.
For others, it may be a result of an accident, fight, or surgery. Either way, this puts a kink in the plan. Often these deviations are so minuscule that they don’t really make a difference if a small adjustment is made. For others, it may give a piercer pause to work on them for fear of a bad reputation if it comes out crooked. I would advise you to speak to a professional piercer and get an opinion before you decide to do it.
Hole in the Septum
The second issue I have encountered is rare but always makes for an awkward conversation. I have been in situations where someone will come in for a septum but there was already a hole there. WHAT?! THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE! Let me explain. The septum, composed of cartilage, can develop a hole (perforation) in the cartilage as a complication of previous nasal surgery, from cocaine use, excessive nose picking, trauma, cancer, or diseases such as tuberculosis and syphilis. So if any of these ring a bell for you, again please get a professional piercer to take a look at it.
Lastly, we are going to get a little funky, 70’s style. Have you ever been minding your own business and a gust of wind gets blown your way, and you ask “my god what’s that smell?” to which someone might say “I don’t smell anything, must be your upper lip”. Well, when you have a septum piercing, that may very well be the case. In fact, the common term for it is septum funk. Now before you stop reading and run off thinking the septum is the most disgusting piercing ever, let me mention a few points. Any piercing, especially ones with plastic and metal jewelry in place, can develop this funk. As living breathing creatures, we do develop dead skin cells, bile, and puss, and as gross as that may sound, it is perfectly natural. This is one of those issues that is a nonissue because routine maintenance and cleaning are more than enough to solve the problem. Like any piercing, a basic non-scented antibacterial soap at a bare minimum will do. I do always recommend a quality saline wish though. These pressurized bottles can really knock a lot of the gunk and grime that can develop on body jewelry, plus it beats rubbing bubbles around in your nose.
I don’t think any piercing has grown in popularity as much as the septum and there are no signs of slowing down. From punks and bikers to Instagram models and hippies, there are so many jewelry options to get the look you want. So please, if you have been thinking of getting one, or just need help with changing your jewelry, come on in. I’d love to see you at Sacred Raven Tattoo.