I think I screwed up my nose piercing.
September 14, 2006 9:35 PM   Subscribe

I think I just screwed up my new nose piercing. I was cleaning it and the jewelry fell down the drain.

Luckily I had some new jewelry, because I was getting ready to try to switch it out. I put the new wee stud in and it didn't go all the way through to the other side. I tried another curved piece but the ball on the end was too big and it started to bleed.

So we got the original piercing jewelry out of the drain, boiled it for ten minutes with a little bit of bleach, doused it with bactine, and tried to put it in. Of course, my nose is now swollen and throbbing with all the abuse it's taken in the last twenty minutes, so the original jewelry doesn't go through all. I'm back to the little stud that doesn't go all the way through. I don't know what to do now.

Will the inside of my nose grow up overnight? Is there anything else I should be worried about? I must add that I'm very upset right now so if anything needs clarified I'm happy to do it.

The piercing is almost two weeks old.
posted by sugarfish to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total)
Unless you are a super-fast healer I don't think the piercing will fully close up overnight. Leave it for a few hours to let it calm down - obviously this has aggravated it.

Try not to touch it for a while, then when it's stopped throbbing perhaps have another go with jewellry that you know is going to fit.

If you can't get anything back in and the infection continues, perhaps pop along to your piercer tomorrow and ask for them to take a look. Swapping your pierce after just 2 weeks probably wasn't the best idea - but tis a bit late now.

The temptation to keep touching it will be strong - don't - and make sure your hands are clean when you have another go.

(Disclaimer: not a doctor or a piercer, but I have had a nose piercing with no drama for about 10 years)
posted by gomichild at 1:36 AM on September 15, 2006

I had exactly the same thing happen as you, only mine fell out by accident at about two weeks (agree with gomichild, two weeks sounds a bit early to be taking out, I left mine til about the sixth week).

Anyway why not try numbing your nose with ice and have one last go at popping it back in? The ice may reduce the swelling a little so make it easier to put in. I also tried (although I'm not recommending this, don't want to be to blame if anything goes wrong!!) sterilising a needle and putting that into the hole, just to make sure it hadn't closed up totally.

I think if, as above, you go to your piercer tomorrow he/she will definately be able to open the hole up for you easily. They deal with this sort of thing all the time. I waited until the next morning and no, the hole hadn't closed up - it was just very tight.

Don't worry!!
posted by schmoo at 2:01 AM on September 15, 2006

um, i knocked my nosering out in bed a coupla times in the early weeks & had to go back to the piercing place, altho that might have been partially becoz it had a shitty curly design & i was pierced on my unnatural LH side, which made it fiddly & very difficult to get back in.

i'm gonna contradict the others here & say that yr nose heals over very quickly early on. at least, that's what the piercers told me. either try to get the little stud in after giving yr nose a bit of a rest, or be prepared to go back to the piercers.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:41 AM on September 15, 2006

YNMV, but with my nose piercing it was always very tough to get any jewelry through the last part on the inside of my nose. I'm not sure why this was, but I'd feel that the post was stuck someplace through mostof the piercing, but behind the skin on the inside of my nose. I really had to fidget to get it that last way through which was annoying and painful. At least once I had to push it through a litle roughly which brought tears to my eyes but did the trick. So, I suggest ice, waiting (which you have already done by now) and not taking "no" for an answer. New piercings can heal pretty quickly, scab up etc, so if you're not having luck today, go back to the piercing place. Also, leave in the jewelry for longer this time. Unless you're having a reaction, it doesn't need to be cleaned outside of what you can do when it's in your nose.
posted by jessamyn at 4:33 AM on September 15, 2006

Nose piercings do heal relatively quickly, but most piercers will recommend leaving the initial jewelry in longer - depending on the piercing, a month is the minimum I've generally heard. Yeah, if you don't like plain steel rings, you might want to change the jewelry, but think of it this way: someone just poked a hole through your skin. It's an injury, one that goes deeper than random cuts and scrapes. It makes sense to give it time to heal before poking things through, yeah? [BMEzine has some old piercing faqs up that you might want to check out.] Additionally, you should NOT be taking out the jewelry to clean your piercing [it wasn't clear from you question whether this was what you were doing.] Turn/twist the jewelry and rinse it when you are in the shower, do saltwater soaks once or twice a day, spray with bactine and turn/twist the jewelry again, but don't take it out!

Since you've got your nose all swollen and painful, you should probably not put the stud in. If there is more swelling or an infection, the skin might swell up and around the jewelry, to some extent, and make it difficult to move/clean. One of the reasons that good piercers prefer to use captive bead rings or largish barbells in new piercings is that they're easier to clean and swelling isn't a problem with them.

So: wait a while for the swelling to calm down and try the original jewelry again. If that still doesn't fit, go back to the piercer and ask them what you should do. [Make sure that you still wash and clean your piercing, though.] If your piercer didn't warn you about the time it takes to heal a piercing, you may want to consider finding a more knowledgeable one.
posted by ubersturm at 4:58 AM on September 15, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! Just to make it clear -- it definitely was an accident taking it out. I had pulled it out a bit but not all the way to clean underneath the head of the stud and next thing I knew it was gone. The new jewelry was for several weeks from now, heh.

I left the little stud in overnight and things haven't really changed on the inside of my nose (I can push it (with clean hands!) enough to feel the ball at the end come through the skin) so at this point I'm going to try to find a piece of jewelry that doesn't have a curved end because that seemed to be what kept me from getting it in before and that has a longer post. If I have no luck I'll go back to the piercer.
posted by sugarfish at 5:21 AM on September 15, 2006

Another vote for the sea salt water soaks. Just put some not-too-hot tap water in a cup, add sea salt, stir for a bit, apply cup to nose. You look stupid, but it's a good non-aggressive way to keep your piercing clean and comfortable in the early days, or when you've upset it (as you have). If the cup method doesn't work (it's mostly for nipple and navel piercings) - that is if the logistics of the piercing and your nose is such that you're afraid you might drown if you sneeze ;) - just soak a clean towelette in the solution and wipe. You'll be fine.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:48 AM on September 15, 2006

You can also use saline nose spray for helping the inside calm down; I promise it doesn't sting or anything, it's nice especially if you've been breathing very dry air. I also use it to soften things up in there before pulling jewelry out.

I too prefer nose bones (with the little ball on the inside) over screws, but they are meant to be slightly larger than the hole, and if the inside of my nose has closed up any I will have to push pretty hard to get it all the way through. If I follow up directly with the nose spray I normally don't get sore, but it does happen and I just have to baby it with soaking (I use a water bottle with a sports cap so I can get a little pressure going) and Neosporin and sometimes an occasional ibuprofen if I've really pissed it off.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:44 AM on September 15, 2006

This exact thing happened to me after four months. I couldn't get it back in, so I just let it go. :( Alas, and it looked really cool, too.
posted by sian at 7:29 AM on September 15, 2006

If you're going to use a salt soak be advised that they are not for the long term. They're excellent for keeping the wound clean during healing but once the healing process has started decrease the frequency of the soaks until you no longer need them. The salt prevents the formation of new skin and will start to irritate the piercing with prolonged use. The best thing to clean a healed piercing with is a gentle soap and water (I love SoftSoap brand as I find it not too drying to my skin).

(FWIW, I have 14 holes in various places including the nose)
posted by LunaticFringe at 8:05 AM on September 15, 2006

Were you pierced with a nose bone or a nose screw? Please tell me it was a screw. Those are always tricky to get back in, even if they're not brand new and your piercer will have the easiest time getting it back in for you.

My nostrils close up really fast, as do most that I've heard about. So if you can't get anything back in go to your piercer today.

Hope everything works out okay.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 8:25 AM on September 15, 2006

Response by poster: Awesome, I'm definitely going to try the soak. misanthropicsarah: I was pierced with a screw. (Hehe, that sounds wrong.) It's just really hard to get back in! I'm really glad to know the terms for the jewelry now.

I can't go back to my original piercer today because I have my home inspection maybe forty miles the other way at two pm, which isn't much later than the studio opens. However, I found a place near my new house that pierces, so I'm going to go there, explain what happened, buy some new jewelry, and get help to put it in if I need it. Also, going to never touch my nose again, heh.

I really appreciate everyone's help. You've all calmed me down immensely.
posted by sugarfish at 9:22 AM on September 15, 2006

Sea salt soaks to ease the swelling and clean it out, and then put in the starter pin. I wouldn't change the jewelry for at least 2 months. Nose piercings actually take longer than most piercings to heal. I was told 6-8 weeks, and tried to change my jewelry after 7 weeks and sorely regretted it. I had to wait another month to heal again before I could change the jewerly. And yes, it does close up quickly, even overnight when it's in the first few weeks. The longer you have it the longer it will take to close up.
posted by kenzi23 at 4:22 PM on September 15, 2006

Response by poster: Hopefully final update: I went to a piercing/tattoo studio near my new house and wouldn't you know it, they no longer had a piercer and only the screw type jewelry that I wanted to avoid. So I went to Hot Topic and got some nose bones that were longer than the one I had in, came home, sterilized one and popped it in with no problem. It actually goes all the way through, luckily.

Also, my nose has been actually not sore at all today. I am not pregnant but I take prenatal vitamins, so that might have something to do with it. I'm not even getting any (tmi) white blood cell crusties. I'm not dumb enough to think it's totally healed but it's a lot better off than I expected.

So, in short, crisis averted. Thanks again everyone! :)
posted by sugarfish at 8:38 PM on September 15, 2006

Oh, just as a PSA, nose bones, the type that are a short stud with a bulb at the inserted tip to keep the jewelry in place are really not recommended by the body piercing comunity in general. Lots of folks use them fine, but since the bulb is larger than the piercing and since nose piercings tend to close up pretty quickly, people have problems removing the jewelry because the hole is simply too small for the bulb. And if you use this type of jewelry and change it often, you might be irritating the piercing every time, which could cause infection and keloids.
posted by lychee at 11:08 AM on September 16, 2006

I'm glad you got it taken care of, sugarfish. Similar thing happened to me when my piercing was almost a year old. However, I never was able to get jewelry back into it and got re-pierced on the other side instead.
posted by deborah at 11:59 AM on September 16, 2006

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