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So you’ve finally decided to get that nose piercing you’ve been pining for — now it’s time to accessorize! But when it comes to choosing a nose ring, it’s not just about style, it’s about quality, especially if you have sensitive skin or an allergy to certain kinds of metal. It all comes down to the material of the jewelry, according to the dermatologists Bustle interviewed. The best hypoallergenic nose rings for sensitive skin are made from titanium, surgical stainless steel, or 14-karat gold, because these materials help decrease the risk of developing allergic reactions, irritations, and other common side effects. Body Piercing
Anna Chacon, M.D., is a board-certified dermatologist. She received her medical degree from Brown University and completed her dermatology residency at the Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center.
Enrizza Factor, M.D., is a board-certified dermatologist and the owner of EPF Dermatology in the Philippines. She received her medical degree from De La Salle Medical and Health Sciences Institute in the Philippines and completed her dermatology residency at the Skin and Cancer Foundation Inc.
Dermatologist Anna Chacon, M.D., tells Bustle, “the best material that can be used for piercings and individuals with sensitive skin is titanium.” It doesn’t contain nickel (a common allergy-causing metal), making it a great hypoallergenic option. According to the Association of Professional Piercers (APP), you should “look for implant certified titanium (Ti6Al4V ELI) that is ASTM F-136 compliant, ASTM F1295, ISO 5832-3 compliant, or commercially pure titanium that is ASTM F-67 compliant.”
Dermatologist Enrizza Factor, M.D., who also spoke to Bustle for this article, adds that surgical stainless steel is another hypoallergenic option that’s safe for most people with sensitive skin, because it’s durable, non-porous, and also medical-grade. While surgical stainless steel is low-allergy, it does contain small traces of nickel, so it’s best that people with known nickel allergies avoid this option.
Gold is another acceptable option, according to Dr. Factor, though not all gold is created equal. “It can be yellow, white, or rose gold — just be sure that it’s solid as opposed to gold-plated or gold-filled. Not only do these contain alloys, including nickel, but the plating can also peel off over time,” says Dr. Factor. Gold jewelry will likely be more expensive than titanium or surgical stainless steel, but it will last the longest.
Another important factor to consider when shopping for nose rings is the gauge, which refers to the thickness of the jewelry. Too thin, and you risk losing your jewelry; too thick, and you could be setting yourself up for irritation. Before you buy, consult with a piercer who can help you determine which size gauge your piercing can tolerate. According to Dr. Factor, professionals typically use 14 or 16 gauge jewelry for the initial piercing.
Other factors to consider are stud length and hoop diameter, as well as how the shape of a stud is inserted into the piercing. These all come down to personal preferences, and what will be most comfortable for you.
Properly caring for your nose piercing (and thereby preventing irritation or infection) is especially important if you have sensitive skin. When it comes to cleaning your piercing, Dr. Chacon says: “It’s best to clean the piercing with the saline solution, fragrance-free antimicrobial soap, or a bath once or twice a day. It’s important to rinse the soap from the piercing. You can gently dry the piercing with clean disposable paper towels or tissue. You can avoid drying with cloth since it may carry germs or catch on jewelry.”
Above all, it’s important to let your piercing heal completely before swapping out jewelry. “Unless you have a problem with the jewelry, leave it in for the entire healing period,” Dr. Factor suggests. “If you need to change it for some reason during the healing period, a piercer should perform the jewelry change.”
In a hurry? Here are the best hypoallergenic nose rings for sensitive skin:
From blingy studs to dainty hoops, scroll on to shop the 10 best hypoallergenic piercings for sensitive skin.
This lead-free, 14-karat gold nose ring is not only classic, it’s also super easy put on thanks to its clasp-free design. To insert, open the ring ever so slightly, slip through your piercing, and pinch it closed to make sure it securely stays in place.
One reviewer wrote: “I have really sensitive skin to jewelry and I had no reaction to this. I’ve had it in for almost a week now and no issues. Although it doesn’t have a clasp, it doesn’t matter [...] this is my first nose ring without one. It stays where and how you put it, and no snags.”
Made of: 14-karat gold | Available lengths: 6 millimeters | Available thicknesses: 22 gauge | Available styles: 1
One of the hardest parts of finding the perfect nose ring is determining the right gauge and diameter size, but with this 316L surgical stainless steel nose ring that comes in over 40 size combinations, you’ll be sure to find the one that fits you just right. A hinged closure that snaps open and closed means you can easily get it on and off, and the simple style can work as either a nostril or a septum ring (or both!). Choose from six colors, from silver to rainbow.
One reviewer wrote: I have very sensitive skin and have had frequent allergic reactions to foreign metals. This nose ring had zero issues! I inserted it (a bit snug - would love a 6.5mm but tough to find), has smooth edges, and experienced no sensitivity or problems. Super happy with the purchase (although have not figured out how to get it out yet)
Made of: 316L surgical stainless steel | Available lengths: 5 — 22 millimeters | Available thicknesses: 6 — 20 gauge | Available styles: 6
These dainty, stainless steel nose studs that are both nickel- and lead-free are a great option if you’re looking for subtle sparkle — and with over 11,000 five-star ratings, they’re a favorite among Amazon shoppers. These bone-shaped studs can be bent with your fingers or tweezers so that you can customize the fit. Meanwhile, the ball at the end is small enough to comfortably fit through your piercing, while still being large enough to keep it in place. This 40-piece set comes in a convenient case to keep your jewelry safe and organized. Plus, you can pick from two crystal sizes (1.5. or 2 millimeters) and colors (clear or multi-colored).
One reviewer wrote: “Had the hardest time with nose rings, finding comfortable ones that are easy to put in and don’t fall out. I have sensitive skin and these haven’t bothered me at all. Cute, perfect size, and can’t beat the price for the amount you receive.”
Made of: 316L surgical stainless steel | Available lengths: 9 millimeters | Available thicknesses: 22 gauge | Available styles: 4
For those who prefer gold jewelry, this solid 14-karat gold stud with three cubic zirconia (CZ) stones in a trefoil arrangement is the perfect addition to your collection. The high-polished gold is nickel- and lead-free, and the bone-shaped stud has a perfectly sized round end that makes for easy insertion and ensures your stud will stay put. Take your pick from yellow, white, or rose gold.
One reviewer wrote: “I’ve been wearing the same nose ring for 2 years. It has not faded or changed colors. The barrel is a lot longer than regular nose rings. It has not irritated my nose, like fake jewelry does. I plan on ordering another one, just in case I lose this one.”
Made of: 14-karat gold | Available lengths: 10 millimeters | Available thicknesses: 20 gauge | Available styles: 3
These 100% titanium horseshoe nose rings are ideal for septum piercings and come in a variety of options. They even offer a multipack that comes with three sizes so you can choose which suits you best. To put these on, simply unscrew one of the balls, insert it through the piercing, and screw the ball back on.
One reviewer wrote: “So far I am super pleased with the jewelry. It’s so much more comfortable and lightweight than the stainless steel one I had prior. It also leaves no smell which I love since when you buy cheaper metal for the septum, it can smell metallic. I recommend the jewelry for a septum piercing since it comes in two sizes so you can see what size works for you!”
Made of: ASTM F-136-compliant implant grade titanium | Available lengths: 6 — 10 millimeters | Available thicknesses: 16 — 18 gauge | Available styles: 1 horseshoe (plus 29 additional hoop styles)
Featuring a bone-shape style with a small round bulb to keep it in place, this nose stud is made from 100% solid 14-karat yellow gold (it’s also available in white and rose gold). The brand also offers two-packs, which are great if you’re prone to misplacing your things (happens to the best of us!). Choose from two stone sizes — 1.5 or 2 millimeters.
One reviewer wrote: “Perfect nose ring. Exactly what I wanted. Solid piece of jewelry that is well made and well worth the price! The beautiful warm yellow 14k gold does not irritate my sensitive at all, and the CZ stone is the perfect size. Will reorder in white gold!”
Made of: 14-karat gold | Available lengths: 7 millimeters | Available thicknesses: 22 gauge | Available styles: 3
This 316L surgical stainless steel nose hoop is encrusted with 11 cubic zirconia stones for a hint of sparkle, and it’s corrosion-resistant for long-lasting shine. The hinge closure easily snaps open and closed, and won’t bend no matter how many times you switch it out. It comes in plenty of gauge and diameter sizes, and the brand offers a helpful size guide to make sure you find the right fit for you. Plus over 4,000 customers have given it a five-star rating!
One reviewer wrote: “I love it! Super cute. I wearing it in my side nose. Haven’t had any allergic reactions which was my biggest concern when ordering this. It’s comfortable and doesn’t snag on anything.”
Made of: 316L surgical stainless steel | Available lengths: 5 — 12 millimeters | Available thicknesses: 14 — 20 gauge | Available styles: 3 [[I’m only seeing 2 now, but can you double check?]]
Looking to add a pop of color to your piercing? Available in a pack of 12, these L-shaped 316L surgical stainless steel studs come in four pretty colors — blue, pink, white, or iridescent — as well as different-shaped cubic zirconia studs. You can also choose from bone, hoop, and corkscrew-shaped styles, depending on your preference.
One reviewer wrote: “So far these have been the ones I wear most (and I have tons!) [...] They haven’t tarnished or lost the stone, which one of two usually happens if not both. I have super sensitive skin so when I purchase facial jewelry that is affordable, I usually have a reaction. These are perfect all the way around!”
Made of: 316L surgical stainless steel | Available lengths: 7 millimeters | Available thicknesses: 20 gauge | Available styles: 15
When you’re ready to change your initial nose piercing, consider this multipack of noise rings that includes a wide range of options. The pack featured above includes 40 noise rings — from studs to hoops, in simple or ornate designs — all made from 316L surgical stainless steel. You can also purchase a pack of 70 for a few more dollars.
One reviewer wrote: “Cute and great value! I have sensitive skin and was a little worried about ordering ‘cheaper’ nose rings, but I haven’t had an issue with these at all!”
Made of: 316L surgical stainless steel | Available lengths: 7 millimeters | Available thicknesses: 20 gauge | Available styles: 9
You can’t go wrong with a titanium stud that has a classic cubic zirconia stone — and this one adds the perfect amount of sparkle. The nose ring has a flat-back stud design that some reviewers have confirmed is unimposing yet simple enough to put on. Just keep in mind that the stone measures 3 millimeters across, which was larger than some shoppers expected it to be.
One reviewer wrote: “After 4 years, I lost my favorite nose stud diamond and didn’t want to spend a fortune on a replacement. [...] I wanted one similar to it and found this beauty! It’s big enough that it’s seen and locks in perfect! [...] I have been wearing it for a few weeks and haven’t had any irritation at all!”
Made of: ASTM F-136-complaint implant grade titanium | Available lengths: 6 millimeters | Available thicknesses: 16 — 18 gauge | Available styles: 2
Dr. Anna Chacon, board-certified dermatologist
Dr. Enrizza Factor, board-certified dermatologist and owner of EPF Dermatology
Belly Button Piercing Kit This article was originally published on March 20, 2022