Why Does My Septum Piercing Smell & How Do I Fix It?

Septum piercings are a great addition to someone’s personal style. The septum piercing is the most popular piercing in the world for a reason: it has a cool look and can be beautiful in style. So what’s the catch?

Known as ‘septum funk,’ or ‘septum stench,’ septum piercings among others can have a bad odor for multiple reasons, including sebum, dead skin, boogers, bacteria, or a general lack of cleanliness. It’s important to note that sometimes the smell is just a natural part of the healing process!

That’s why we’ve included tips for how to prevent and reverse this issue, as well as the reasoning for when it’s time to give up on a problem piercing.

Here are some other problems people have with piercings, and when to give up on them:

  • Piercing infections
  • A bad odor
  • Scarring

During the three to six-month period of waiting time for your septum piercing to heal, there is a chance of infection. Infections can cause swelling, pain, itchiness, and burning. This problem is common when people get their cartilage pierced. Avoid sterling silver jewelry if you don’t want infections: the silver flakes and sticks to the skin creating a breeding ground for bacteria.

It’s time to give up your infected dream piercing if any of the following happens: it doesn’t move/ is embedded in the skin, the infection doesn’t improve after treating it, you start feeling feverish, or if the infection spreads. If you have been treating the inflected area for three days and it doesn’t improve, it’s time to see a doctor and this may be the end of your piercing.

The bad odor of piercings such as the septum comes from what many refer to as ‘pus’ called sebum, dead skin cells, or even old soap! Sebum is naturally produced in the skin glands and is meant to lubricate the skin. However, when sebum is added to sweat, bacteria, and dead skin cells, the smell of your piercing can be overpowering.

This is especially concerning for septum piercings: the piercing is directly on your nose! Bellybutton piercings, septum, and the like all have the potential to develop a bad odor.

So when should you take them out and give up? In the case of septum piercings, it should only take up to six months to completely heal. If your piercing is still odorous after healing, and you are taking care of it in the way we will mention below, then it may be time to take it out permanently.

Sometimes with piercings, the skin can tear or split. This can form scar tissue. Many people are turned off to the idea of getting certain piercings because of scar tissue that may form around it. It is also important to realize that when you take off a piercing, even after healing and closing up, a scar may be left behind.

To avoid marks, be careful not to tear out your piercing forcefully or carelessly; always be gentle. Also, if you are diligent in taking the proper measures to heal your piercing quickly, it is less likely that the skin will become irritated.

If you are experiencing this issue, it’s a tough decision on whether or not to remove the piercing. On one hand, no one wants to do additional damage to their skin or make the problem worse by wearing the problem piercing for a long period.

However, on the other side of the issue, the piercing may be helping to cover up the already scarred skin; taking the piercing off might make the area look worse. You have to weigh the pros and cons and examine your skin to make this decision.

Now that we know the main issues with problem piercings, let’s take a closer look at the septum piercing:

Cleaning and Care: How to Take Care of Your Septum Piercing

There are many ways to keep your septum piercing clean and avoid having problems like the ones we mentioned above. The important thing is that you at least do something to keep your septum piercing healthy! Don’t be lackadaisical with your care: it’s worth it to give your newly pierced nose some love and attention!

For regular care, use either Q-tips or cotton swabs with unscented soap and water to clean both sides while rotating the piercing. It’s a good idea to take out your piercing and soak it in a warm bath of soap, but only if you have waited the appropriate amount of time.

Body piercers often recommend waiting 4-5 weeks to take out a septum piercing, however, it depends on the person and you should consult with your body piercer if you are unsure.

If you can take it out, scrub the ring clean using clear glycerin soap or water with sea salt as an extra measure of safety. Do not use any type of alcohol as this will slow the healing process by drying the skin out; the goal is to keep the skin moist and the skin cells alive.

4oz Piercing Aftercare Spray
BRIOTECH Topical Skin Spray, Pure HOCl, Tattoo & Piercing Aftercare, Sea Salt Cleansing Solution, Natural Saline Toner, Hypochlorous Acid Facial Mist, Skin Care Relief for Bumps Scars & Blemishes
NeilMed NeilCleanse Piercing Aftercare, Fine Mist, 6.3 Fluid Ounce
Dr. Piercing Aftercare - 36 Medicated Swabs Treat Ear, Nose, Belly, and Body Piercings - Each Swab Contains Cleaner Treatment to Care For A Peircing - Best Cleanser to Heal Pierced Ears… (1Pack)
Name
H2Ocean Piercing Aftercare Spray
BRIOTECH Topical Skin Spray
NeilMed NeilCleanse Piercing Aftercare
Dr. Piercing Aftercare - Medicated Swabs
Size
4oz
4oz
6.3oz
0.8oz
4oz Piercing Aftercare Spray
Name
H2Ocean Piercing Aftercare Spray
Size
4oz
BRIOTECH Topical Skin Spray, Pure HOCl, Tattoo & Piercing Aftercare, Sea Salt Cleansing Solution, Natural Saline Toner, Hypochlorous Acid Facial Mist, Skin Care Relief for Bumps Scars & Blemishes
Name
BRIOTECH Topical Skin Spray
Size
4oz
NeilMed NeilCleanse Piercing Aftercare, Fine Mist, 6.3 Fluid Ounce
Name
NeilMed NeilCleanse Piercing Aftercare
Size
6.3oz
Dr. Piercing Aftercare - 36 Medicated Swabs Treat Ear, Nose, Belly, and Body Piercings - Each Swab Contains Cleaner Treatment to Care For A Peircing - Best Cleanser to Heal Pierced Ears… (1Pack)
Name
Dr. Piercing Aftercare - Medicated Swabs
Size
0.8oz

How Do I Stop My Septum Piercing from Smelling?

If your septum piercing has an odor, there are a few ways to reverse the unpleasantness. For example, cleaning your piercing regularly while wearing it and while it’s taken out will reduce the amount of sebum and dead skin cells that are left behind. This is attacking the problem right at the source.

Another option is you could try a different material of septum ring. Poor quality rings made from cheap metals like steel are more likely to smell. If you want to improve the material of your ring, try wood, bamboo, glass, or silicone.

Keep in mind that as with everything, it’s subjective. What works for one person’s piercing may not work for yours. Nonetheless, glass is the easiest to clean out of the bunch, while also keeping your piercing odor-free.

Another idea is to remove your piercing (as long as it’s healed) before showering. That way, you can completely clean your nose and the piercing, making this a great regular hygiene routine.

It is also highly important for your septum piercing’s area to stay moisturized. Something that many people may not be aware of is jojoba oil.

This oil is native to North and Central America and was used by the O’odham Native American tribe to heal wounds. Wipe jojoba oil on your piercing area as a natural layer of conditioning that will feel great on your skin— and also smell nice!

It is also important (and it’s just proper hygiene) to change your bedsheets and pillowcases frequently. Not only is this how to avoid unwanted acne and feel fresh when you wake up in the morning, but this practice helps to keep your piercing and nose clean.

How Long Does the Smell Last?

A septum piercing smell can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, or even a few months. It all depends on how well you take care of it. If after your piercing heals it still smells, then the odor isn’t coming from the healing process. At that point, you know you have a hygiene issue and possibly a ring material problem that desperately needs to be addressed.

Is it Time to Give Up on Your Septum Piercing?

Unlike a tattoo, septum piercings are not permanent. If you decide the septum piercing (and all the problems that may come with it) is not for you, don’t let pride stand in your way: it’s ok to let go. Over time, it will naturally close.

Try to take steps for self-care of your piercing and the skin around it before you give up. If you notice a slow improvement, then stick with it! Wait it out until you are positive that there’s no hope for your piercing getting any better.

But if the odor is seriously ruining your day, take it out and consider getting a different type of piercing instead.

It certainly doesn’t help that septum piercings are on the nose. It’s no wonder you can smell its scent so strongly! However, they are worth it because the super popular piercing is a statement piece that can be worn with every outfit. It creates a unique look and adds to your personality.

So before you give up, try these steps towards a healthier piercing to avoid infections and a bad smell. And most importantly, know that pain isn’t always beauty: your septum piercing doesn’t have to be a problem piercing.

 

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