What To Do If You Have A Nose Piercing Infection

Did your piercer use a gun? 

Did you enter a pool or go swimming at the beach or ocean?

Did you touch your face unconsciously?

Were you playing sports or hugging someone when a tiny hit caused pain to you nose piercing site? 

If you said yes to at least one of these scenarios, you probably have a nose piercing infection. 


Bleeding is likely to occur with fresh piercings but it can also happen with healed piercings.

Fresh piercings will bleed due to a flesh wound and healing whereas healed piercings can bleed due to many different reasons such as: touching the piercing, knocking around with the piercing, sleeping on the piercing, picking at the crust, drinking alcohol or taking pain medication. An infection can also cause bleeding and tight jewelry too can cause bleeding.

If you find your piercing is bleeding:

1. Apply gentle pressure to the area with a clean cotton pad or fresh tissue. 

2. Put ice on the area to help with bleeding.  

It also may be possible that you are allergic to the combination of metals you are using for your piercing. Being allergic or sensitive to certain metal slows how quickly your body will heal from the piercing. A slower healing time allows bacteria to set in. If it continues,  you need to see if this is a problem and either let the piercing close or try a higher quality.

If you find that your symptoms are getting worse, you can always go to your piercer or go to your doctor. 


Please note, when you’ve just got your nose pierced, it perfectly normal for it to be red, swollen, tender, and maybe even bleeding a little. Ofcourse, you just got a sharp object shoved through part of your nostril, so this reaction is to be expected.

The tissue trauma from a nose piercing causes some tenderness, redness and swelling, which may not show up until a day or two after the initial piercing. This is normal and there’s no need to worry because nostril piercings take around 6-8 weeks to heal and the most important thing with this one is ensuring that you don’t catch it on clothes when dressing or undressing. Also, avoid hugging people during this time because their hair can get stuck and cling to your nose ring. Getting a sports or any physical injury, even a mild one, to that area, your risk of infection/s goes up.

Aftercare is so important for healing and could have caused the infection you have today.  Clean your nose piercing with a saline solution or a good piercing aftercare product regularly during the first couple of weeks to help speed up the healing process and reduce any lingering pain. This can also cure any minor infections. 

Infections are the most common problem you may have after getting a piercing. People have a hard time recognizing if their piercing is infected. We might confuse the infected nose piercing for a piercing that is healing. 


Infections are most-often characterized by:

  • Increasing redness
  • Increasing tenderness and pain
  • Increasing swelling
  • Discharge that is yellowish or greenish in color
  • Fever
  • Red, swollen skin 
  • Foul smell coming from the piercing. 

Why do infections occur?

Infections on nose piercings  happen because the puncture wound from the piercing goes much deeper than a scratch does so there’s more opportunity for germs and bacteria to work their way into the wound. It’s not like germs and bacteria that sit on the surface of a minor scratch. They can easily be washed away with soap and water as you shower everyday. 

But on the contrary, when you get a deep puncture wound like a piercing requires, that same bacteria can work its way deep into the wound. When you take a shower, it’s much harder for that bacteria to be rinsed out since it’s already in your body, not just on the surface.

When the bacteria is allowed to stay, unchecked, in your body, that’s when the trouble really starts. It starts to multiply and can lead to an infection.

If you are worried that your nose piercing wasn’t done right, go back and see your piercer. After all, it’s his or her work. If you are really worried you have an infection, go and see a doctor. They are the best at recognizing that sort of thing.

How to treat an infection

In order to treat an infection, keep the piercing clean (this includes your hands that touch it and the pillowcase you sleep on!) and apply an anti-bacterial treatment (ointment or cream) to kill the infection.

Minor infections may be treated with:

  • Washing your hands each time before touching or cleaning your piercing.
  • Over-the-counter medicines to rub on your skin, such as an antibiotic ointment.
  • A warm compress applied to the piercing.
  • Mild sea salt soaks: Clean around the piercing with a saltwater rinse three times a day. Use sterile saline (you can buy it online) or combine 1/4 tsp. of salt with 8 oz. of distilled water.
  • Contact lens solution is the same as salt-water or you can buy some saline solution from Boots and spend your downtime squirting it at your face.
  • No touching, avoid all contact with your hands and finger tips, and only touch it when a q-tip or cotton pad when you’re cleaning it.
  • A saline solution is the only way to clean your nose piercing, so don’t use alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or antibiotic ointments. It further irritates the skin and slows down the healing process. 
  • Don’t remove the piercing. It causes the hole to close up and trap the infection. 
  • Clean the piercing and pat the area dry with paper towels. (Other materials may leave behind fibers.)
  • If it’s severely infected then you may need to visit your doctor to get some antibiotics to kill the infection and ensure that it doesn’t spread elsewhere. 
  • Don’t wear makeup on your nose area, so no contouring, as this may irritate the piercing and throw fuel onto the fire.

Don’t remove your piercing stud or ring unless your doctor tells you to do so. Leaving the jewelry within your nose can ensure proper drainage. It also prevents an abscess or (the collection of pus) from forming. Many times the infection can be treated without losing the piercing.

If you take steroids or blood thinners, talk to your doctor. Also ask if you have been exposed to a disease while being pierced? Or if you are allergic to the metal in my piercing jewelry? If your piercing will leave a scar when taken out? And if there’s a chance for a keloid. 

What Do I Do With A Bump On My Nose Piercing?

Nose piercing bumps are weird non-permanent scar tissues that occur if you catch the nose piercing on things. Basically, the tissue is disrupted and a bumpy lump appears. And it will appear. It will appear and not go for weeks. And even though you’re essentially a walking puddle of saline, people will say, ‘You should put saline solution on it’ and you’ll want to murder them.

Others will reassure you that theirs disappeared after three days, which won’t be reassuring when it’s still there two weeks later. Then, after constant saline squirting, it will go but if you’re not careful, you can hurt the nose piercing and the bump will come back.


The initial pain of a nose piercing is over a few seconds later. Comparatively, a nose piercing is less painful than lip and ear piercings but it depends on your pain tolerance. 

Nose piercing pain: 3 to 4 out of 10

Vertical labret pain: 4 out of 10

medusa piercing:  4 out of 10 

Daith piercings pain: 5 to 6 out of 10. 

Rook piercing pain:  6 out of 10

Why does it hurt later ? 

The nostril piercing is considered slightly more painful than ears and lips and this is because you are piercing through cartilage which is tougher than skin and therefore hurts a little bit more. However, most people describe a nostril piercing as a very brief sting that makes your eyes water and can make you sneeze.

Expect your nose to be sore for a few days while the healing process continues. New piercings have a tendency to swell and get inflamed (red and tender). This reaction usually goes away and clears up within 5 days for nose piercings (unless an infection occurs).

This piercing shouldn’t be too sore afterwards and can be cleaned following the normal saltwater wash guidelines as advised by your piercer.  

If the pain goes on for longer than a week, or if you develop any bumps, extreme redness, or scarring, you should go back to your piercer or to a doctor to have it checked out.

Visit a doctor if: 

You can treat minor infections successfully at home. But if any of the following symptoms occur, seek medical attention:

  • The nose stud or nose ring doesn’t move.
  • The stud or ring clasp becomes embedded in your skin.
  • The infection doesn’t improve with home treatment within two or three days.
  • You develop a fever.
  • Redness and swelling spreads beyond the piercing site.


How do you know if a piercing is infected?

Look out for these common symptoms of an infection:

  • Increasing redness
  • Increasing tenderness and pain
  • Increasing swelling
  • Discharge that is yellowish or greenish in color
  • Fever
  • Red, swollen skin 
  • Foul smell coming from the piercing. 

How do you get rid of an infected piercing?

Use these steps to take care of a minor piercing infection:

  1. Wash your hands before touching the nose piercing.
  2. Clean around the piercing with a saltwater rinse or saline solution three times a day.
  3. Avoid alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or antibiotic ointments.
  4. Don’t remove the piercing before visiting the doctor.

Why does my nose ring smell?

Human beings secrete a substance called sebum when the skin becomes dry and to balance the dryness. Sebum is secreted by the sebaceous glands in the skin. Add sebum with some dead skin cells and a little bit of bacteria, and you get some really potent smelling piercings! The discharge often is described to smell like stinky cheese. 

Is it okay to shower with a nose piercing?

Yes, shower like you normally do and towards the end you can clean your piercing with the following steps: 1) Lather up with some mild non-antibacterial soap using clean hands and gently wash your piercing. 2) Rinse with distilled water or shower, as mentioned above, to get rid of any salt crystals that might develop when dry.

How much is a nose piercing? 

The cost depends on the facility and type of jewelry used. In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $90 at most facilities. Still, it’s best to call the studio and ask about prices before making a decision.

How to clean nose piercing? 

Use mild sea salt soaks: Clean around the piercing with a saltwater rinse three times a day. Use sterile saline (you can buy it online) or combine 1/4 tsp. of salt with 8 oz. of distilled water.

When should I go to the doctor for an infected nose piercing?

Call your doctor if you experience any of these infection symptoms:

  1. Fever.
  2. Red, swollen skin around the pierced area.
  3. Pain when touching the pierced area.
  4. A yellowish, foul-smelling discharge coming from the piercing.

With simple at home treatments, a minor nose piercing infection can be successfully resolved.

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