Rhino piercings are very uncommon and unique expressions of body modification. Even though piercing and body mods have slowly become more and more popular and accepted by society, there are still many variations of piercings that are uncommon to the vast majority of the public. The rhino piercing definitely falls into that category. I am a huge piercing fan, having several myself, and I only recently learned about these piercings. That being said, that does mean that information about these piercings, the process, aftercare, and just general information about what to expect with a rhino is difficult to find and source online. And that is where this article comes in!
This article will take you through defining what a rhino piercing is, the piercing process, expected costs, aftercare advice, and the potential risks associated with this piercing. Researching which piercing is the right one for you can be an extremely daunting process, and my goal is to make that process as simple, easy, and fast as possible so you can make your decision and get your new piercing!
What is a Rhino Piercing?
Rhino piercings have a couple of different names and variations, but all are placed on the tip of the nose and pierced through the cartilage of the nose.
The rhino or vertical nose piercing
This is the most common form of the rhino piercing, and it extends from the bottom through the tip of the nose out the top. This piercing is pierced before much of the major cartilage begins in your nose, and is able to be pierced between the major sections of cartilage in your nose tip. If you take your finger and place it on the tip of your nose, you will be able to feel a bit of a divot between the two halves of the cartilage in your nose. This is the tissue through which the rhino is pierced. The jewelry for this piercing is usually a curved barbell.
The Deep rhino
This is a more extreme version of the standard rhino piercing and goes from the bottom of the tip through to a much higher area on the bridge of your nose. Due to the anatomy of your nose, depending on how deep you want your deep rhino to sit, your piercing might naturally have to be off-center. This is because as you get higher into the bridge of the nose, the cartilage becomes much more complex. Between the two halves of your nose cartilage is a thin strip of cartilage that cannot be pierced through, meaning you need to pierce on one side or the other of it. If you wish to get a deep rhino but before the part of the nose where the central cartilage extends, this is also totally possible, it just means that you won’t be able to go as far up your nose. Naturally, this piercing is going to be more painful than a standard Rhino, simply because of the amount of tissue the piercing has to go through. This is also a much more complex piercing and should only be attempted by extremely qualified piercers. Jewelry commonly used in deep rhinos is a straight barbell.
The Septril piercing or half vertical nose
You might be surprised to see this included in a post about rhino piercings, but many people believe that the rhino and the septril are the same piercing or variations of the same piercing. This is both true and false. A septril is more like a modified septum piercing with aspects of a rhino piercing. Unlike the rhino piercing, this piercing does not come out the top of your nose, but rather only shows a visible stud on the bottom of the tip of your nose. The other end of the piercing comes out one side of your nostril, placed where a septum piercing would normally fit. Because of this, the piercing actually doesn’t go through too much of your cartilage in your nose, though it will go through some still. This could be a better option for those who are uncertain about healing a standard rhino piercing. I only know of this being worn with a curved barbell for jewelry, but it is possible there are more options that I am not aware of. I definitely recommend talking to your piercer about all jewelry options for this piercing, as it is even less common than a rhino.
What to expect during the piercing process?
In general, this process will be very much like any other piercing procedure. However, I really want to stress the necessity of talking to your piercer before getting this piercing. Rhino piercings, in all their variations, are not widely known, and therefore new piercers might not know how to safely and properly approach this piercing. Deep rhinos especially require quite in-depth knowledge about the anatomy of the nose and how to adjust piercings to ensure the cartilage is left unharmed. For many piercings, you can simply walk in to get an appointment, and walk out 10 minutes later with a new piercing. This is not one of those. You will want to call around, ask if that piercer feels comfortable with the rhino, and set up a specific appointment. Make sure you find an experienced, well-rated, and generally very professional piercer in order to properly get this piercing done. Above everything else, if you are a risk-taker and pierce yourself sometimes (which I never recommend. Ever.), this is NOT the time to try it on yourself. Go to a professional, get this piercing properly done.
Other than that, you can expect mostly the same procedure you normally would. Once you get to the shop, have a look around, make sure that it is a shop you feel comfortable in. You should be able to smell the sterilizer in the air, and your piercers station should be organized and ready to go. Needles should always be opened right before piercing happens. If for whatever reason you feel like this shop could not be the right one for you, don’t be afraid to back out, even if you are already sitting on the table with the piercing marked. Trust your gut, if something doesn’t feel right, find another piercer.
Once you’re settled, your entry and exit points will be marked with a sterile marker. Make sure this is where you want the piercing to sit. This is your last chance to make changes, so make sure it is what you want. Once you have settled on the placement, the piercing will actually begin!
Normally, the spot you would like to have pierced will be grasped in piercing tongs, however for this piercing, anatomically that isn’t really a possibility, which is one of the reasons an experienced piercer is strongly recommended. Instead, the piercer will swiftly take the hollow piercing needle and thread it from the bottom of your nose through to the marked exit point. This will hurt. Rhino piercings take quite a bit of tissue to pass through, no matter what style you are getting. That means a lot more pain and a slower piercing process. Overall it will only take a fraction longer than any other more standard piercing, but it will feel different to you while it’s happening. Once the needle is through, however, you’re fine! The piercer will then seamlessly thread your chosen jewelry into your new piercing and you are ready to go!
How much does a rhino piercing cost?
This will change from location to location and is honestly not the easiest to predict. Because this piercing is not a common one, most places don’t list pricing for it obviously. This requires some one-on-one communication with your piercer to figure out their price. Because it is a harder piercing and a bit more of a custom piece, it will be more expensive than other nose piercings. The jewelry is also larger, and would ultimately also cost more. I would gander a rough estimate, not including the price of the jewelry, would be about
- $50 – 100 in America
- 30 – 70 in England
- 40 – 80 in Europe
These are obviously very rough estimates, but it honestly is entirely up to your piercer, and the price could vastly differ depending on location and experience level. Remember, this is a more difficult piercing that requires a lot of knowledge to do correctly, and ultimately, you do get what you pay for.
I have my new piercing, now what?
Congrats on your new piercing! Now comes the painful part, Healing. Because rhino piercings are cartilage piercings, they will take longer and are harder to heal than piercings that only go through skin tissue. This is because cartilage has fewer blood vessels in it compared to skin, and therefore its cells don’t replenish as quickly, taking longer for the wound to heal. Many websites claim that this piercing will heal within 6-9 months, though from experience with other cartilage piercings, I would say it isn’t uncommon for it to take up to a year or more for it to entirely heal. This could be even longer considering the amount of tissue that has to be pierced in this piercing. However, by following proper aftercare, hopefully this process can go as quickly as possible. While I have detailed common ways to ensure proper aftercare for piercings, each piercer has an aftercare regimen that works best for them and their clients. Listen to what they say above everything else, but feel free to take my advice into consideration as well.
Above anything and everything else I am going to say, the most important tip for healing piercings of any kind is to not touch it. This is insanely tempting, I know, but by moving the piercing, this can rip up and disturb healing cells in the piercing site, and increases your chance of developing an infection. Be very careful if you do need to touch your piercing, and always wash your hands before and after. If you take nothing else from this guide but this, you will have a much more pleasant piercing experience. Leave your piercings alone.
Other than that, you will want to rinse your piercing site with a saline solution soak or spray at least twice a day. For a soak, you can make your own saline solution by simply heating water and adding salt. Either you can dip a paper towel into the water and let your piercing sit under it for a couple of minutes (and only use paper towels, not reusable fabrics. This limits your possibility of infection as germs can hide in linens). Alternatively, and honestly a better option, is to simply dip your piercing into a bowl of saline solution! This can be quite weird, but it is the best way to ensure saturation of the saline around your piercing site and is the least likely to transfer unwanted germs to the piercing site. Saline spray is also a great option and can be commercially bought.
If there are noticeable crusties around the piercing site, you can gently take a Q-tip dipped in saline and see if you can remove these after you have finished your soak (so they are loosened and come off easier). Be VERY careful while doing this as you do not want to move your jewelry too much; so use a very gentle hand.
Finally, do not take your jewelry out too soon. I know it is tempting to change your jewelry, but fight that temptation! If you take out the jewelry and can’t put it back in again due to the site swelling, you could end up needing to hire a piercer to put it in for you or have to entirely re-pierce the site as a whole due to it healing over. Instead, be patient and wait till you are positive it is entirely healed.
If you ever begin to suspect there is a chance of infection starting, see your doctor immediately. Possible signs of infection are hotness in the skin around the piercing site, excessive redness around the piercing, and/or pus developing or oozing from the piercing. Infection can lead to scarring, permanent damage, and even death if left untreated, so better safe than sorry.
Are there any risks to rhino piercings?
Like anybody modification, the answer to this is yes. There is always a risk of infection, damage to the body part, rejection of the piercing, everything. There is a level of danger to any body modification, but honestly, that’s part of why it’s so fun! That being said, some piercings are going to be more dangerous than others, and unfortunately, the rhino is definitely one of them.
The biggest danger to this piercing honestly comes from it being pierced incorrectly. There are a lot of delicate structures in your nose that should not be pierced or messed with, and the rhino piercing risks interacting with these. This is especially true for deep rhinos, as these are placed in a more delicate part of the nose and go through a lot more tissue than a standard rhino. If this is pierced correctly, it could permanently affect the shape of your nose, and in some extreme cases could require surgery to fix. Luckily, this is fairly easily avoidable. Do your research on your piercer, talk with them, and make sure that whoever you’re going with understands the process they are undertaking and how to do it properly. This will be more expensive than the piercing studio around the corner, but ultimately surgery will cost you more. If you get it right the first time, you won’t need to pay for it again.
Other than that, due to it going through cartilage and the piercing being in contact with quite a bit of tissue, there is an increased chance of infection. This can be avoided by following your piercer’s aftercare guide, and making sure you are careful if you ever need to touch your piercing (and even better if you never do!). If the site gets infected, see your doctor quickly. Infections, even if healed, can cause permanent damage to your nose, possibly requiring surgery to fix. However, if you are safe and careful, you should be ok.
Conclusive pros and cons to rhino piercings.
So, that was a lot of information. You might be feeling overwhelmed right now, and a bit confused, so let me summarize rhino piercings, so it is a bit easier to think about in a glance.
- Very unique piercing
- Very badass, punk look
- Unisex, looks awesome on everyone
- Different variations to suit your style desires
- A very unique piercing experience for even the most enthusiastic piercing lover
- Highly technical piercing, would need a very experienced piercer
- Difficult to heal because of cartilage
- Higher risk of issues occurring during healing
- Painful piercing experience due to length of the piercing
Ultimately, whether this is the right piercing for you or not is entirely your decision. Ask yourself it would look good on you, if you can properly care for it, and if you can withstand the pain that comes with it. The rhino piercing is definitely not for everyone and not a piercing I would recommend to first-timers (though if you want it, go for it! Don’t let me stop you! That’s pretty punk!). However, if you think you’re ready for this more intense piercing, and you’re sure you can handle it, I think that such a unique piercing is truly special, and an awesome addition to any piercing collection. Happy piercing and remember that the pain is temporary, but the piercing lasts forever!
Rhino Piercing Images