I’ve had my nostril piercing for just over two weeks now and it initially healed up pretty well but then I had to go accidentally snag the nose stud with my long fingernails once, on day 4 after the piercing, and that made it bleed. Then… on about day 7, I woke up from my sleep to find the stud had come right out. Although I have little recollection of how it happened, I’m guessing I must have accidentally scratched my nose and then yanked it right off.

It’s a U-shaped stud. I think sometimes they call it a corkscrew. But really it isn’t a corkscrew shape. It’s more like a sort of slightly curly U shape at the end (which can’t be seen when the stud is properly fitted in your nose), and the stud itself is connected to the U-shaped end by a straight bar section. It is a bit of a trick to put back in.

I remember panicking when I tried to immediately put the stud back in after finding it had fallen out in my sleep. I couldn’t get it in. I quickly grabbed my phone and searched on Youtube for videos on how to insert a screw nose stud or something. And I found this. Not the best quality of videos, but it gave me the general idea. So I did it and it worked. I did have to push it a bit harder in the first step so the stud went in all the way through though. I realised that when I initially (before watching the vid) thought the stud wouldn’t go in, it was because I was too afraid to push harder. It is true that with nose piercings, the hole can close up in a matter of hours, or even minutes if it’s a fresh piercing. So yes I knew at that point that I had to hurry and get it back in my nose quick or all the money and trouble of getting my nose pierced was wasted. Besides, I really love my nose piercing. I don’t want to lose it. I love it a lot. God, why didn’t I get this done earlier? Why did I take 10 years to hesitate over this?!

Yeah so, after that incident, the inside of my nose piercing (the part that normally can’t be seen) was a little bit sore. Although I’ve always, from day one of the piercing, made sure I cleaned around my piercing religiously with the cannister of EasyPiercing Saline Spray, with a cotton bud…that didn’t seem to help much once my piercing got super irritated from all the bad stuff that I’ve done to it accidentally.

What’s more, I noticed an excess of lymph and even blood accumulating around the outside of my stud, which looks like the dreaded bump that so many people who’ve had their nose pierced complain about… but in reality it turned out that this wasn’t a bump. It was just a dried up crusty accumulation of lymph that can be shifted easily with a wet cotton bud. I once removed a sizable chunk of it – the same day I hurted it by having to reinsert the stud back in my nose after accidentally scratching it out of my nose in my sleep. That was bad. But after that, the amount of lymph wasn’t too bad.

But now a new problem. A few days after that, my nose started to look a bit dry and was crazy itchy. Plus the swollen inside hasn’t really gone down. Although the colour of the lymph deposits that build up around my piercing has now changed from a bloody sort of colour to a sort of yellowish, opaque milky colour. And it was much lesser than before.

I decided something wasn’t right with the way I’m doing it. So I went to bodyjewelleryshop forums to research further. These forums are very well-respected by piercing enthusiasts and experts alike. I just wish I’d known about it sooner. So yeah, anyway, on the strength of what I read, I decided to ditch the EasyPiercing Saline spray in favour of the traditional SSS… which needs to be made at home in very exacting quantities. Can’t just dunk whatever amount of sea salt into a mug and add water. No. It must be 1/4 teaspoon with 250 ml of water. And it seems to be that people were reporting better success when they used hot water in this mixture. Too much salt and it will dry out the piercing excessively and cause more irritation. Too little salt and it will do just as much damage.

Measuring the 1/4 teaspoon of salt however, is not as easy as I thought. I have a variety of teaspoons in my home, all purchased from various shops, and they vary quite hugely in the amount they take. I used my kids’ Calpol (fever meds solution) measuring spoons to measure out the 1/4 teaspoon as accurately as I can. These white measuring spoons are ubiquitous – you can ask for them at your local pharmacy apparently. It’s probably free of charge. One end of the spoon measures a whole teaspoon (or 5 ml) and the other end measures 1/2 teaspoon (or 2.5 ml). I use the 1/2 teaspoon end and fill it up to about half full with sea salt crystals. That would make about 1/4 teaspoon. Then I put that into a mug filled with 250 ml of freshly boiled tap water. And then stir to dissolve the salt. It usually dissolves perfectly, because the water is hot.

I then wait for the solution to cool to a tolerable (but still warm) temperature for me. And then I sit down somewhere, place a bath towel on my laps, hold the mug of salt solution in front of my chest, bend my head down about 45 degrees, tilt the mug a little towards me, and dunk my nose tip as far as it would go into the mug of salt solution. I then breathe through my mouth throughout while I soak my nose in the solution for about 10 minutes.

Afterwards, I will get some cotton buds, dunk them thoroughly in the solution, and then wipe them gently around the piercing stud, inside and outside of my nostril, to clean off any lymph deposits and crusties.

Then… and this is the most important step too – i.e. rinsing your piercing with tap water after washing it with SSS. This is because SSS can be drying on some people and I suspect it dried out my piercing a bit too much when I never used to rinse it after SSS… So this is how I rinse out my piercing now, after SSSing. I first pour away the saline solution into the sink, and give it a good rinse with cold tap water, and then fill up the mug with cold tap water. And then… standing right over the sink, I hold the mug of cold tap water in front of my chest, tilt the mug towards me a little, bend my head down about 45 degrees into the mug so that as much of my nose tip is submerged in the cold water, and then stay there for about 10 seconds. Then I throw away the water, rinse the cup and put it aside. And that’s it. That’s the entire Sea Salt Soak routine done.

I have noticed an immediate improvement in my piercing from the first day of doing the soaks this way. The crazy itching is greatly reduced. The swollen insides went down slowly… and my piercing (and my nose in general) just feels great after each and every SSS done this way. I really think the final rinsing with tap water probably had something to do with it. Plus, the hot SSS really helps soften and loosen out all the lymph crusties… so it’s dead easy to just pick them off gently with a wet cotton bud!

I only do it once a day – at the end of the day before I go to sleep though. I did consider the LITHA (Leave It The Hell Alone) method for my piercing, but as my nose piercing will start to feel a bit yucky and start to itch towards the end of the day, not to mention gathering quite a bit of crusties to that point, I have decided to continue with the SSS done this way. As it usually quickly resolves the itching, keeps my piercing area clean and free of crusties, and the swollen insides always seems to look happier after I do this.

It is a helluva trouble for me though, to even do this routine once a day. I’ve had about 7 piercings done on various parts of me in the last 20 years and you know what? I’ve never ever bothered with SSS or anything. I just LITHA.

But this nose piercing is special to me. And I intend to take great care of it. And I suffer from hayfever all the time… and this is hayfever season. But I do notice how I sneeze a lot lesser when I clean my nose by SSSing this way once a day, every night. I suppose it almost seems to be a bit like using a neti pot, which supposedly clears out your sinuses and can be especially good for hayfever sufferers as it cleans out all the allergens that can get trapped in your nostrils and sinuses as you go through the day.

Well fingers crossed. My nose piercing will heal well.