Why Does My Nose Piercing Smell?

There are a few reasons why your nose piercing might develop an unpleasant smell. As a professional piercer, I often get questions from clients about smelly piercings and what can be done to eliminate odors. In this article, I will explain the most common causes of a smelly nose piercing and provide some tips for preventing odors.

Poor Aftercare

The most common cause of a smelly nose piercing is improper aftercare. If you do not clean your piercing regularly, dead skin cells, bacteria, and other debris can build up around the piercing site and cause a foul smell. It is essential to clean your nose piercing twice daily with a sterile saline solution or mild unscented soap and warm water. Gently wash the area and rinse thoroughly to remove any dirt or leftover cleaning solution. Be very careful not to snag or pull the piercing.

Allergic Reaction

If you notice any redness, swelling, irritation or itching around your nose piercing, you may have an allergic reaction to the metal in your jewelry. Nickel allergies are common, so you may need to switch to jewelry made of implant-grade titanium, 14k gold or higher, niobium or platinum. See your piercer for help changing your jewelry. An allergic reaction can lead to excess odor, so removing the source of irritation should help eliminate the smell.


An infected nose piercing can produce a distinct foul odor. Infections are usually caused by poor piercing aftercare, trauma to the piercing or using unsterile jewelry. If you notice swelling, redness, increased pain, pus or bleeding in addition to the bad smell, you likely have an infection and should see your doctor for oral antibiotics. They can also recommend an antibiotic ointment to apply directly to the piercing. Be sure to continue cleaning your piercing thoroughly during treatment.

Trapped Dirt and Bacteria

If you have a very active lifestyle or frequent nasal mucus production, dirt and bacteria can build up in and around your nose piercing. Excess sweat or getting the piercing wet for long periods can also lead to trapped odor-causing bacteria. Be sure to dry your nose piercing thoroughly after cleaning and avoid submerging the piercing in bodies of water like lakes, pools, hot tubs, etc. Wipe away any sweat or other moisture from your piercing using clean gauze or paper towels. These steps will help prevent dirt and bacteria buildup.

Here are some additional tips for eliminating smells from your nose piercing:

  • Clean your piercing twice daily with sterile saline spray or mild unscented soap and warm water. Gently wash the area and rinse well.
  • Do not touch or pick at your piercing. Wash hands before cleaning the piercing.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals, alcohol, peroxide or ointments on a new piercing unless recommended by your piercer or doctor.
  • Thoroughly dry your piercing after cleaning and bathing to avoid trapping moisture.
  • See your piercer right away if you have any concerns about your piercing or if odor persists despite proper aftercare. They can determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.
  • Change your initial jewelry to a smaller sized post or hoop once swelling has gone down. Ill-fitting jewelry can lead to odors. Your piercer should change the jewelry for you.

How do I stop my nose piercing from smelling?

One of the most common causes of a smelly nose piercing is poor aftercare. Remember to clean your piercing twice a day with saline solution or warm water and soap. Avoid using harsh chemicals, alcohol, or peroxide on your piercing as this will irritate the skin around your piercing.

Which piercing smells the most?

Most septum pierced people experience that smell at one time or another, Or at least enjoyed it in their healing process. Being known as “septum funk” or “septum stench” that smell is very common with other body piercings as well.

Why does my nose piercing smell after years?

Reasons why nose piercings may smell after a few years is due to poor hygiene. It is important to clean and care for your nose piercing properly in order to prevent infection and other problems. This involves regularly washing the piercing with soap and water, and drying it thoroughly.

By following these tips, you can help eliminate unwanted smells from your nose piercing and promote healing. Always consult a professional piercer if you have any concerns. They can properly assess your piercing and provide guidance tailored to your specific situation.

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