‘And then came the blood’: What it’s really like to change a nose ring

Herald reporter Taylor Metcalf changes out her nose ring for the first time since having one for two months on Monday, Nov. 4, 2019.

Taylor Metcalf

This September, I finally made the leap to get my nose pierced. I wandered into a piercing shop with one of my best friends and let a complete stranger stick a needle into my right nostril. 

After all, I am by no means a stranger to discomfort. With four tattoos, a nose piercing seemed like a walk in the park.

The piercing itself was quick and easy, and I haven’t had a single problem with it since. But I was growing tired of my boring stud and decided it was time for a change: Why not a shiny black hoop?

I’ve watched the videos. I’ve read the articles. And I’ve heard all the stories. It was time for the moment of truth — how easy would this be? 

I grabbed all of my materials — salt spray, cotton swabs, a mirror and my ring — and got myself pumped up for the upcoming event. It seemed nearly impossible to mess up, so I jumped right in.

I had heard you should always clean your new ring to get rid of bacteria, so I disinfected it before placing it on a clean surface. I cleaned around the diamond stud I had in and on the inside of my nostril. 

And then came the pull.

I began the gentle removal of my stud, grabbing it by the diamond and shimmying it out of my nostril. The discomfort was minimal, and before I knew it, the stud was laying in my palm. I felt a small amount of panic as I looked at the empty hole in my nose, and my hands were shaking the tiniest bit. The ring was so small, and I was terrified of ripping the skin as I inserted the new jewelry.

And then came the blood.

As I inserted the slim ring, the skin around my piercing became irritated and began to bleed slightly. I grabbed a cotton swab and tried to clean the area before I continued. 

The discomfort of inserting a new piece of jewelry was definitely stronger than taking my original stud out. The stud came out as smooth as butter, but inserting the ring gave more resistance. Having to push in the metal of the ring didn’t hurt, but it felt uncomfortable for sure.

As soon as the bleeding had stopped I continued to ease the ring in until I saw the silver lining on the horizon — the ring had made an entrance on the inside of my nostril, and I gave a mental “hurrah!”

After pulling the ring all the way through, the most trying part of my jewelry journey began. Closing the ring was not something I had given much thought to, and I immediately regretted not practicing. The metal was stiff, and I continuously pinched my nose as I tried to close it. I cursed my long nails more than once for the trouble they gave me.

After several minutes of struggle, I finally twisted the metal enough that it would stay closed.

And then came the self-confidence. 

After I was confident the ring wouldn’t slip out, I looked in the mirror and scanned my face. I liked this ring. I liked this ring a lot. I immediately took a photo as soon as no one was around to see.

If you’re looking to change your own piercing soon, I recommend doing a bit of research beforehand. Look for high-quality jewelry and a really good salt spray. Watch videos to see how other people change theirs. But most importantly, wait until your piercing is healed!

For someone who has never changed a piercing aside from an earring, I think my experience was decent. It will definitely be a while before I try changing it again, but for the time being, I’m content with rocking my shiny black nose ring.

Features reporter Taylor Metcalf can be reached at [email protected]