If you've had your nostril piercing for at least six months, followed your piercer's aftercare instructions, and had no issues with healing, you can change your jewelry. Professional piercers use either a nostril screw or captive bead ring for nostril piercings. The two types of jewelry are very different and require different techniques to remove and insert.
Before removing your nostril jewelry, clean your hands and the piercing well by using antibacterial soap and warm water. Dry them with a fresh paper towel. Clean the inside of the piercing with a cotton swab dipped in warm salt water or benzalkonium chloride solution, a first-aid spray in drugstores that is usually sold over-the-counter. Although latex or nitrile gloves aren't a necessity, they can help you get a better grip on tiny nostril jewelry, especially the beads in captive bead rings. Your new jewelry should be autoclave sterilized, which a professional piercing or tattoo shop can do for you. The jewelry should never have been worn by anyone else.
If you went to a professional piercer and got a small stud in your nostril, you're wearing a nostril screw. This piece of jewelry has a bent wire on the back of the stud. The wire goes straight through your nose toward the septum, not at an angle. The curved part fits snugly inside your nose and looks like a letter C. To remove a nostril screw, grasp the stud and gently pull down until you see the wire. Twist the stud forward while applying downward pressure until you see the curved part come out of your nostril. Continue twisting forward, and the nostril screw will come out.
Captive Bead Rings
Captive bead rings get their name from the fact that the ring holds a ball in place, or "captive," with pressure. The ring is shaped like a C, and the bead fits into the opening. There are indentations on either side of the bead, and the prongs of the ring fit into these indentations. To remove a captive bead ring, push the ends of the ring away from each other until the ball pops out. Rotate the ring until one prong comes out on the inside of your nose, and pull downward to slide the ring out. Never pull the prongs up and down to remove the ring, as this will cause a kink in the middle and ruin it.
The most important thing to remember when inserting new nostril jewelry is that the piercing goes straight through your nostril, not at an angle. To insert a new nostril screw place the curved end into the hole on the outside of your nose. Twist the stud toward your face until the curved part disappears inside your nose, and push the stud against your nostril to slide the straight part through. To insert a new captive bead ring, twist the two ends away from each other so the jewelry has a spring shape. Insert one end of the ring, push it straight through and turn it until the opening is visible on the outside of your nose. Push the prongs toward each other until the ring is even. Set the indentation on one end of the ball against the lower prong, and push gently until you feel the upper indentation snap into place.
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S.R. Becker is a certified yoga teacher based in Queens, N.Y. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Becker often writes for "Yoga in Astoria," a newsletter about studios throughout New York City.
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