3 Oct 2011

I got this message from a woman who is unhappy with the placement of her nostril piercing:

Hi Elayne,
After reading your impressive profile I feel a little silly with my question. But due to my vanity :), here goes: I am a 45-year-old mother of three. My husband and I lived in Switzerland back in 2000 where piercing was huge (or at least seemed more acceptable). I had always wanted my nose pierced (nostril) but was a little fearful (pain/infection/scarring). So, for the past 10 or so years I have just worn stickers or magnets.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, my 8-year-old daughter and I had a date to get her ears pierced (and my nose!). Yay!

We went to a highly reputable piercing studio, but to my disappointment they weren't that great with placement. They did put a dot on my nose, and at the time I questioned the placement but since they were the "pros", I trusted their judgement.

Oh Elayne, I could kick myself. Who knows maybe I just need to get used to it, but every time I look in the mirror, the peircing looks like it needs to be picked off. It just seems too close to the tip of my nose.

It seems when I'm talking to people they can't take thier eyes off my nose. Whereas before, I was looked in the eye and maybe given a positive comment about my "peircing").

I'm now debating to just take the thing out (before it scars) and start over, or just forget about it all together. Sigh.

Questions: If I do decide to try a re-do, do I need to wait for this peircing to completely heal? Also, I have been cleaning it thoroughly in the morning with surgical soap, and saline in the evening. I'm wondering if it will scar and look funny with a new peircing beside it. I just want to move the peircing 1.5 - 2mm back.
Anyhow, I'd love to hear your feedback.

Thanks Elayne!

Nostril Piercing Placement (illustration)Hi P.,

All piercings are important, so don't feel bad about asking! A millimeter or two can make a big difference, especially on the face.

If you want to send a photo, I'll be happy to take a look and evaluate your placement. Though, if you are unhappy with it, that is enough reason to abandon it. If it was pierced with a small gauge and not left in for long, then you should have a minimum of scarring. Yes, if you abandon the current spot, you should wait for the piercing to heal completely before repiercing.

This is what it says in The Piercing Bible about nostril piercing placement, along with an image from the book:

Nostril Piercing: Placement
The traditional placement for a nostril piercing is at the crease line on the side of the nose. A big smile accentuates this feature to help pinpoint the spot. This area is often thinner than the rest of the nose, so it may heal faster and feel less tender when pierced. The jewelry will rest in a natural niche, where it nestles most gracefully. I find it aesthetically pleasing when the placement of the piercing forms a relatively equilateral triangular shape with the opening of your nostril, from end to end.

Depending on your preferences, other placements are also possible: higher or lower, closer to the tip of your nose or your face. The backing of a nostril screw or mini barbell will be visible when the piercing is too low, even if the jewelry is properly sized. Multiple nostril piercings are another possibility. Due to space constraints, you will achieve the most attractive, comfortable results when you decide on an overall plan before your first piercing is made.

She responded:

Hi Elayne,
Thanks for emailing me back so quickly! I have attached a few photos at a couple different angles. I also attached a photo that has a small dot behind the original piercing (this is where I wore my 'sticker').
I hope it's all in my head and I can move forward. Silly as it sounds, I have been so obsessed with this piercing! :-/
Thanks so much Elayne for taking your precious time to help me out. I truly appreciate it!
***Oh, I believe they used 18 gauge.

Hi again,
Well, I've definitely seen worse, but I agree that your piercing would look better a few mm back from where it was placed.

Nostril Piercing Placement I do think the placement of your stick-on is more aesthetic than where your piercing was made. So, if it is driving you crazy and you're unhappy with it, then I would suggest taking it out.

I'd let it heal completely before getting it redone.

Are you familiar with emu oil? It can help minimize scarring (and also help with healing a piercing). Information is on my site:

Take care!

Here is the photo of her piercing with a dot marked for where I would have placed it, and where she would have preferred it to be located.


Thanks for your email and the link to the emu oil. I took the piercing out. What is the usual healing time? 6-8 weeks?
Thanks Elayne!


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