You’ve probably heard countless times that you need to keep your nose ring in for as long as the piercing is healing, and you have been complying with the piercing care rules for a few weeks now.
But accidents happen, and there will be a good number of times when the nose ring could fall off accidentally, or you may feel that you just need a small break, even for a night.
What happens then? What happens when the nose ring comes off inadvertently when you are dressing, and you think that maybe nothing terrible will happen if you leave the ring out for the night? Would the piercing close up overnight if you leave the nose ring out?
Keep reading to find out what you can and can’t do while your nose piercing heals.
Will my nose piercing close after a few hours?
Nose piercings tend to close up rather quickly, which is why you may want to consider any other viable alternatives before removing the ring overnight.
Regarding the closure of the nose piercing after a few hours, it’s important to keep in mind that how fast the piercing closes will depend on whether the piercing has healed or not.
Essentially, a fresh piercing could close in a matter of minutes, and if you’ve had the piercing for a few months, less than a year, then you can expect it to close up within hours or days if you are lucky. This often happens because the inside of the piercing hole could close up rather quickly, even when you’ve had the nose piercing for a few years.
Confusing (and somewhat annoying, too), right?
Well, to understand why the nose piercings close up fast, we need to go back to science/ biology.
Like any other would in other parts of your body, the nose piercing will heal with time. And when it comes to how much time would be needed for the piercing to heal, the truth is that it depends on a number of factors, including how long the piercing is, the strength and efficiency of your immune system, your age, and also the ability of your body to regenerate new skin cells.
Therefore, while some people will be able to stay without their nose rings for days or weeks, after some months of healing, others have to struggle and live with the fact that their healing is slow, and leaving the nose ring out even for a night would be the same as giving up on the nose piercing and letting it close up.
But whichever side of this you find yourself in, you need to remember that as long as the piercing isn’t completely healed, all you need for the piercing to start to close is as little as an hour.
The good news is that if you’ve had the piercing for long, the piercing hole will remain open for much longer. So, while some people would only get a week without a nose ring and the piercing closing, others get to enjoy over a year without the nose ring and with no risk of the hole closing.
The general consensus is that the piercing will close after a few minutes if yours is a new piercing, after a few hours or some days for piercings less than a year old, and for older piercings, how long the piercing remains open varies.
When you get a new nose piercing, you are practically creating a tunnel through your ski called a fistula. As the piercing heals, your body generates new skin cells around/ along with the new piercing, from the outside, inwards. And once the new cells have covered the inside of the piercing hole, the cells mature to form a fistula.
Now, not everyone grows fistula of the same thickness, which means that as the fistulas develop, some will be thicker than others depending on the body part with the pierced hole. The thickness of the fistula, in the case of the nose piercings, will depend on just how thickly your nasal cavity is covered with mucous.
But that is not all, and in the final healing stage, the body will produce a new layer of skin cells to not only line and seal the fistula but also strengthen it. This sort of ‘reinforcement’ for the fistula takes a bit of time, and for some individuals, it only happens after about one year following the piercing date. What it means is that by removing your nose piercing prematurely, which is before the development and the maturity of the fistula, then the piercing hole will only close up in a matter of minutes, hours, or days.
The good news is that if you wait it out until the fistula matures, then the pierced hole would easily stay open for months or years after the removal of the jewelry.
It’s also worth noting that every time you remove the nose ring before the piercing hole heals, your immune system goes into overdrive, and it closes the hole, as it heals and closes up other kinds of wounds on or in the body. Also, the closure of the pierced hole tends to happen at a rapid rate for the nose piercings because the nostrils are the body’s essential entry point.
Will my nose piercing close up overnight?
Yes, if the piercing is still fresh, a few weeks or a few months old, it would close overnight. However, if yours is an older piercing, say over a year old, then the chances of the nose piercing closing are slim because the piercing is healed and the fistula matured.
Why do nose piercings close up so fast?
The reason why nose piercings close up rather fast has to do with the fact that it takes months for the formation and the maturity of the fistula.
Then have the skin layers of your nostrils that develop from cartilage, as well as the inner nostril’s lining with the mucous membranes. The mucous membranes seal off quickly when the jewelry is removed.
There’s also the fact that the nostrils represent one of the body’s primary entry points, which means that the immune system acts fast to remedy any issue to do with the nose.
In this case, the immune system activates cells that ensure rapid healing and closure of the piercing hole; once the jewelry is taken out.
So, even when the piercing hole is still visible, jewelry may not go through. Keep in mind that the nostrils are lined with the mucous membrane, which tends to seal up rather quickly once you remove the jewelry.
The exterior of the hole will, however, remain open for a longer period because the healing of the nose piercing starts from the outside going in. Also, the nose’s exterior is dry, and it lacks that protective film/ lining.
How long does it take for a nose piercing to heal?
Your nose piercing will heal after several months. As mentioned above, the pierced hole is a tunnel through your skin, and in the healing process, skin/ epithelial cells are generated along with the piercing jewelry from the outside.
So, once the new epithelial cells have been formed along the piercing, they will mature to form the fistula – the fistula is pretty much the tube.
It’s only after the fistula matures the hole can remain open for a bit of time. Generally, it takes a few months for the hole to start healing, about 3-4 months, but for complete healing, you have to give yourself up to a year or more –this time would allow for the fistula to mature.
But the healing could be longer if your body heals slowly.
How to reopen a closed nose piercing?
If your nose piercing closed up, but you are not ready to give up, here are some of the things you could do to reopen it.
First, wash your hands – you shouldn’t skip the step because it is quite important that you only try to reopen the piercing with clean, disinfected hands to lower the risk of infection. You could use either a mild soap or an antibacterial soap with some clean, warm water to wash your hands. To dry the hands, use paper towels rather than a hand towel because bacteria in the towel could be transferred to your hands.
Clean the pierced area – before attempting to reopen the piercing hole, first clean your nose and jewelry to curb infections that could occur. Don’t use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol because they are drying, and the chemicals would also damage your jewelry while drying out the piercing. It’s advisable to use a saline solution to clean both your nose and jewelry. In the absence of a saline solution, mix a cut of warm bottled water with about ¼ teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt. Allow the salt to dissolve in the water, then use this mixture to clean the jewelry and your nose.
To clean the piercing correctly, use a Q-Tip or cotton swabs with your saline solution. Dab the wet cotton piece around the piercing on the outside and also underneath the inside of the nose. You should also allow the jewelry to sit in the saline solution for about 5-10 minutes for sterilization. Once cleaned, use a clean paper towel to dab dry the area. Again, avoid using a cloth towel because it harbors bacteria.
Insert the jewelry – first, lubricate the jewelry’s tip using oil or soap, then place it in the piercing. It’s likely that there will be growth on the nose’s underside from the mucous membrane repairing itself after you took out the nose ring. If this happens, you shouldn’t panic because you are only dealing with a thin layer – just pierce through it. This should not hurt, but if you find that the nose ring isn’t slipping through the hole easily, you shouldn’t force it; go back to your piercer instead.
The Piercer will remedy that obstruction using a taper – a blunt needle often used in widening and stretching piercings. This process will be relatively painless, with the pain felt being significantly less than the pain experienced from a whole new piercing.
Do nose piercings close up after years?
Since piercings are not as permanent as tattoos, the nose piercing could close after some years.
For most people, however, the piercing will not close up even after years of not wearing jewelry because the fistula had healed and matured fully.
Will my nose piercing close after 3 years?
It depends on your body and how well the piercing healed, and how the scar tissue formed. But the longer the piercing has been there, the longer it would take for the piercing to close.
So, if it isn’t well healed, it may close up in a day or after some months.
It might be frustrating for a piercing that you’ve had for about a year to close up in a matter of hours or days, and you may have to get the nose re-pierced if that is what you want.
The truth is that body piercings are unnatural, and your body will do all it has to do to remove the piercing.
The healing process is pretty much a fight against the body’s natural defense mechanisms, which is why you shouldn’t be surprised if the piercing closes up.