How to Numb Your Nose for a Piercing

Getting a new piercing can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. The thought of a needle piercing through your skin understandably makes many people anxious.

While nose piercings are generally not too painful compared to other piercings, the discomfort and sensation can still be unpleasant for some.

Using a numbing product on your nose before your piercing appointment may help reduce discomfort. As an experienced professional piercer, here is my advice on numbing your nose before a piercing.

Why Piercers Don’t Typically Use Numbing Creams

As a piercer, I do not administer numbing creams before performing piercings. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Numbing creams only numb the outer layer of skin. A piercing needle passes through multiple layers of skin and tissue. Numbing cream will not numb deeper layers, so you will still feel discomfort during the actual piercing.
  • Numbing creams can irritate the skin and cause inflammation. Some people have allergic reactions to ingredients in numbing creams which can negatively impact the piercing area. As a piercer, I have to thoroughly clean the piercing area before piercing. Any numbing cream could interfere with that.
  • Nose piercings are typically one of the least painful piercings to get. The discomfort only lasts a second as the needle passes through the nose. By the time the sensation registers, the piercing is already done. While not painless, most people are surprised at how little it actually hurts.
  • An experienced piercer can perform the piercing quickly and confidently, minimizing discomfort. I find putting clients at ease with casual conversation and humor helps reduce anxiety so they feel little pain. The technique and skill of the piercer greatly impacts the level of discomfort.
  • Healing time may be prolonged. Numbing creams can damage newly pierced tissue, prolonging the healing period. It is best to avoid any creams around a new piercing unless advised by your piercer.

How to Numb at Home Before Your Appointment

If you still wish to numb your nose before getting pierced, here are some recommendations:

  • Use an over-the-counter numbing cream like Emla. Emla comes as a cream or in patch form. Apply it 1 hour before your appointment and you should have adequate numbing. You can reapply the cream multiple times to increase the effect. The cream is quite safe but check with your piercer to ensure no interference.
  • Take an oral OTC pain reliever ahead of your appointment like ibuprofen. About 400mg – 600mg of ibuprofen taken an hour before should help reduce discomfort during your piercing. Be sure to only take doses and types that do not thin the blood or impact healing. Again, check with your pharmacist and piercer.
  • Use ice or cold compress. Apply an ice pack or cold compress to your nose for 10 – 15 minutes prior to your appointment. This will numb the area and reduce sensation. However, it is a temporary effect and discomfort may still be felt during piercing. The cold can also damage healing tissue, so avoid icing a new piercing.
  • Discuss prescription numbing options with a doctor. For extremely anxious clients, a doctor may prescribe medicated numbing creams, oral medications or even injections to numb the nose prior to piercing. This does come with risks so should only be considered in extreme cases or medical necessity.

In the end, while a numbing product may provide some relief from discomfort during a nose piercing, the technique and skill of your piercer is most significant in reducing pain. Do plenty of research to find an experienced professional piercer. Their ability and confidence will make all the difference in your experience getting your new nose piercing.

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