Nose rings are a beautiful complement to any person, accenting the natural shadows and impressions of the area. They are seen as priceless jewelry throughout every culture of the world, going back for as long as history has been recorded. Getting a nose ring might be daunting at first—what happens if something goes wrong? What happens if you sneeze? What happens if you lose the jewel and you’re just stuck with a hole for everyone to see? Well, I can promise it’s not actually that dramatic. Nothing happens if you sneeze, and if you don’t wear your jewelry diligently, the wound will usually close up without a scar. In today’s article, we’ll be focusing on the care and keeping of nose rings, their culture significance, the types of nose rings you can purchase, and more!
Related Article: Tragus Piercing
Nose Ring Care
For the first two months after you get the piercing, you should be extremely careful with how you handle the area. The wound takes a long amount of time to completely seal, and if you accidentally touch it without washing your hands it could spell the end of your normal healing process. When washing your hands, make sure to use antibacterial soap. Only touch your nose and piercing if you have recently washed them. You’ll want to clean the area at least twice a day and fiddle with the jewelry to make sure it doesn’t get stuck to your skin.
When washing the piercing area, avoid using creams—even the antibacterial kind. Creams might initially feel great, but they can build up inside the piercing and allow for a haven of bacteria to thrive where new cream can’t reach. Instead of using creams, simply use a cotton ball and disinfectant liquid. You can make some saline at home or purchase some rubbing alcohol. Swab the affected area, and voila! The area is good to go for another twelve hours. It’s sure to sting a bit, but an infection would hurt much more!
As for the jewelry itself, you can allow the jewelry to soak in soapy water and then scrub it with a rag or toothbrush. If you use soap directly on the jewelry or scrub too hard, it can flake off any kind of coating it has. Although most jewelry doesn’t have to be cleaned very often, maintaining nose rings is a different matter entirely. If you have any kind of snot build up, it will magnetize to the backing of your nose ring. It’s some kind of magic. Disinfecting the fastener and making sure the back easily attaches is essential to keeping your nose rings looking nice.
Nose Ring Infection
Since the cartilage of your nose heals much slower than that of, say, your earlobes, the area is prone to infection. On top of that, it’s an area where we commonly touch or scratch with our bacteria-filled hands. If you don’t practice excellent after care, then your nose ring could turn into a nose infection. It is normal for the area to hurt a little bit and swell up after you get it pierced, so you won’t be able to tell immediately if anything bad is going on. After four days, the swelling and itching should reach their peak. If your nose becomes more irritated or inflamed after the four day mark, you should really go see a doctor.
Other serious signs of infection are streaks or lines of red that stretch out from your piercing site. These streaks are indicative of blood poisoning and a serious emergency! Don’t be worried to go see a doctor about them—it’s very rare for these streaks to be innocuous. If the area seems like it is still heated up or swollen, even after a week has passed, that’s another sign of infection.
If you notice your lymph nodes swelling (the ones on the bottom area of the chin are closest and should be most affected), it means your body is fighting off an active infection. The same applies to a fever—it’s your body’s way of acting out against foreign objects. This isn’t a sure sign that your piercing is infected, and it could mean that you just have a cold. Practice proper aftercare and go to the doctor if you notice any other symptoms.
The most serious symptoms of infections are black areas of flesh around your nose ring and yellow-green pus that oozes out of the site. Reddish pus is sort of expected, since your body has to flush out all that dead matter somehow, but the green hue is a sign that bacteria is thriving in the area. The black flesh can point to either an infection or an allergic reaction. Either way, it’s a serious sign that you should go to the emergency room.
This whole section might seem dramatic, but it’s very important to take care of your nose ring! Improper aftercare can lead to losing bits of flesh. That’s a little more serious than a scar. As long as you disinfect the area twice a day, avoid touching the area with dirty hands, and watch for signs of allergic reactions, you should be safe from any adverse effects.
Types of Nose Rings
Now that we have all the need-to-know information out of the way, let’s talk about jewelry! There are many types of unique nose rings to choose from in stores and online retailers. If you are looking for a very specific niche of jewelry, crafting sites like Etsy or Zibbet are your best bet.
The basic types of nose ring styles are l-shaped, nose bone, nose screw, fishtail, and nose hoops. They all attach to your node in different ways, so find one that you are accustomed to and stick with it. The stud on the end of basic metal nose rings can be in a ball, dome, or cone shape. For nose rings with jewelry, gemstones like pearl, opal, aquamarine, emerald, and sapphire are popular choices. Of course, you can splurge and shop for diamond nose rings. You are most likely to find the fancy ones at your local jewelry store, rather than a body modification shop.
If you are uninterested in getting a real piercing, or can’t due to social or cultural reasons, then there are fake nose rings that clip onto the side of your nose. With a little craftiness, you can even make your own! The disadvantage of fake nose rings is that they tend to slip off. This means that using expensive materials to make them look genuine is a bad idea, unless you’re okay with losing a few gemstones.
Nose ring sizes vary depending on the retailer, but most will specify the exact size they sell. The smallest ones have a 1 millimeter diameter, while the largest nose rings that can still be considered nose rings are in the realm of 7 millimeters. I suppose it can go up infinitely from there, but that’s outside the realm of nose rings and into the realm of gauges. Knowing which size and shape is perfect for you is impossible without trying on the jewelry. This means that starting out, you will end up with lots of jewelry that doesn’t fit. And, since you can’t exactly return something covered in your snot, it might take a bit of investment before you have a collection of jewelry that actually fits.
Nose Ring Meaning
Although western cultures tend to wear nose rings based purely on looks, there are many cultures throughout the world that give special meaning to the jewelry. In many Indian weddings, the nose ring is a must for the brides. Just as western cultures place significance on wedding rings, a nose ring is a common clue to whether a woman is married or not. They are used as a mark of beauty and their material can indicate social standing. Silver and gold are the preferred materials, and traditional jewelry ranges from simple studs to elaborate hoops with decorations dangling off of it. Many widows remove their nose rings to indicate that they are no longer married.
Many Christians will insist that nose rings go against the tenants of their faith, the bible mentions them in a positive light. In Ezekiel 16:12, Yahweh describes Jerusalem as his daughter that he adorned with jewelry, earrings, a nose ring, and a beautiful crown. Of course, the city went on to waste the Lord’s expense in the rest of the chapter, but the passage still shows that nose rings are simply ways to enhance beauty, just as a necklace would.
Whether you are getting a nose ring for a wedding or just enhancing your beauty, you will be sharing a practice with people from thousands of years ago. Nose rings are a tradition associated with beauty and wealth, but your personal meaning should delve a bit deeper than that. Your nose ring should be a symbol of who you are. Whether you use humble studs, flashy hoops, or exotic spikes, your nose ring is an extra area for you to show off your fashion style!
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