Adorning oneself with jewelry is a practice evident in nearly every human culture and it dates back as far as the beginning of recorded history. One very popular form of adornment with jewelry is the nose piercing. As with any piercing, cleanliness and safety should be your first concern. If a nose piercing is not properly cared for, it can get infected.
The Right Piercer
A qualified piercer is going to use proper safety equipment and techniques. He will also have any license or permit required in your area. A qualified piercer will be willing to tell you how long he has been practicing, what training he has had, and the sterilization and hygiene practices used. Your piercer should sterilize all jewelry and equipment in an autoclave. The piercer’s set-up is an important part of the process and will reveal his implementation of safe and hygienic practices.
A Proper Piercing
There are three ways to pierce the nose. The first is to pierce either side of the nose through a nostril. The second is through the septum, which is the center between the two nostrils. The third is through the bridge at the top between the eyes. For any of these piercings, a piercing gun should not be used. It's designed to pierce the softer tissue of earlobes and not the harder cartilage of the nose. This can lead to a crooked piercing and the tearing of cartilage. Also, because of its design, a piercing gun cannot be properly sterilized for piercing the nose. In any of the three ways to pierce the nose a needle should always be used. It should be properly sterilized in an autoclave.
Safe Nose Rings
Choosing the right type of jewelry can prevent infection. Gold plated jewelry can lead to allergic reaction and infection as the plating can deteriorate and expose the healing skin to metals like copper, nickel or a metal alloy. Sterling silver has a tendency to oxidize when it comes in contact with fluids from the healing skin. This can cause a discoloration of the pierced area. Rings made of surgical steel, titanium, niobium or 14 or 18 carat gold are least likely to cause infection or allergic reaction.
Aftercare instructions from your piercer should always be followed. The healing period can take six months to one year. Always wash your hands with soap and water before touching your piercing. Do not let anyone else touch your piercing. Avoid cleaning your piercing with alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, harsh soaps or a medicated wound treatment. Instead, the safest cleaning solutions are sterile saline solution and mild, fragrance-free, germicidal, liquid soap.