Katy Perry Posts Video of Nose Piercing

File this in the TMI file.

Katy Perry took a break from her Prismatic World Tour to have her nose pierced. And she posted it on Instagram, with the caption:

“Last time I did this I was on my own with a safety pin & cube of ice @ 13. This time I thought it was best I left it to the pro’s. Sorry mom (again):

Katy currently has 6 small tattoos and 2 piercings:

  1. Jesus- on her left inner wrist
  2. Strawberry- left inner ankle
  3. Sanskrit- right upper, inner arm “Anuugacchati Pravaha” which means “Go with the flow.”
  4. Happy Peppermint- right inner ankle
  5. Lotus- right inner wrist
  6. Cherry blossom- right outer ankle (Ex-boyfriend John Mayer has a similar, larger version on his left shoulder)

Katy has both ears pierced (once in each) and had the nose pierced at an earlier age, but didn’t use it. Had it re-pierced as above.

 What are the potential complications of body piercing?

Body piercing has become increasing popular over the past several years. Eighty-three percent of Americans have had their earlobes pierced, and 14% of Americans have a body piercing other than the ear lobe. Other than the earlobes, the most common piercing locations are the  tongue, lips, nose, eyebrows, nipples, navel, and genitals:

piercing locations

Bleeding, infection, and scarring are the most common complications of body piercings.

Infections can include:

1. Impetigo: a superficial skin infection caused by Group A β-hemolytic Streptococcus or Staphlococcus aureus.  Impetigo has blisters, pimples and yellow crusts. It can be treated topically or with oral antibiotics. Fig. 1

2. Cellulitis: The spread of an infection into deeper layers of the skin. It is often cause by Staph and Strep as well.  The skin is found to be red, hot, and tender to touch. This infection is treated with oral antibiotics. Fig. 2

3. Boils or abscesses: a collection of pus under the skin at the site of piercing. The surrounding skin is red and warm. These infections may need to be drained. Oral antibiotics may also be added to the treatment regimen. Fig. 3

Impetigo Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Cellulitis Fig.2


Abscess Fig. 3

Fig. 3








Scarring can include:

1. Pyogenic granuloma: sometimes called “proud flesh,” it results from an overgrowth of blood vessels at the site of a piercing. It looks like a small reddish purple or brown-black nodule (lump) that bleeds easily.

2. Keloid:  a tumor which consists of abnormal overgrowth of fibrous tissue.  It can occur after an injury or surgical procedure. It is much more common in the African American population.

Other rare, but more serious complications include endocarditis (an infection of the heart valves), blood poisoning (sepsis) or toxic shock syndrome.

The piercing process also carries the risk of transmitting hepatitis C, hepatitis B, tetanus and HIV, if proper infection control measures are not strictly followed.

Certain piercing sites have their own unique problems:

  • The mouth and nose tend to have higher rates of infection as these sites normally have millions of bacteria that live there.
  • Tongue piercings can damage teeth, including teeth fractures,  increased salivation (drooling), as well as speech impediments.
  • Tongue, cheek and lip piercings can also lead to gum problems
  • “High” ear piercing through the ear cartilage is associated with more serious infections and disfigurement. This is because cartilage has little blood supply of its own. This can lead to poor healing and more serious infections.
  • Trauma to the pierced ear lobe is common. Cuts and tears of the ear lobe may occur after falls, motor vehicle crashes, contact sports, person-to-person violence, or accidental pulling of an earring.
  • Friction from clothing with tight-fitting waist-bands and subsequent skin abrasion may account for the delayed healing and increased infection rates of navel piercings.
  • Earrings can become embedded in the fleshy tissue around the site which sometimes requires surgical removal.

Some specifics about nasal piercing

The nose can be pierced either in the fleshy portion of the nose, or through the septum. Piercings through the septum is usually done in the lower part where there is flesh, as opposed to the upper portion which is made up of cartilage. Piercing the cartilage is more likely to cause excess bleeding, hematoma (blood clot) and infection. Infection of the cartilage can lead to cosmetic deformity of the nose.

Nasal jewelry has the potential to be aspirated or swallowed as the nasal passages are connected to the back of the throat. The studs can become embedded in the surrounding tissue.

I still want a piercing, what can I do to protect myself?

1. Make sure you are immunized against Hepatitis B and tetanus

2. Go to a professional piercing business. Don’t be afraid to look around and ask questions:

  • Is the shop clean?
  • Will the person doing the piercing wash his or her hands with an antibacterial soap?
  • Does the person doing the piercing wears fresh disposable gloves?
  • Is there instrument sterilization equipment or are the instruments disposed of after each use?
  • Do they use a piercing gun (they’re not sterile)?
  • Make sure the needle being used is new, is being used for the first time, and is disposed of in a special sealed container after the piercing.

3. Use only nontoxic metals for body piercings, such as:

  • surgical steel
  • solid 14-karat or 18-karat gold
  • niobium
  • titanium
  • platinum

4. Afterwards,take care of the site carefully. Follow the instructions given to you by the piercer.

5. Don’t pick or tug at it. Clean with soap and water. Then keep it dry. Don’t use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on the site.

6. If you have had a mouth piercing- use alcohol-free mouthwash.

7. If you notice increasing redness, swelling or pain at the site, seek medical advice.


Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

1 Comment

  1. Rachel Zimmerman

    September 23, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Katy Perry’s nose piercing video isn’t the most pleasant thing to watch; however, it has gotten quite of bit of media attention lately. Anyone can easily go to YouTube and find plenty of other videos of piercings, so why has Katy’s post generated such a reaction? Obviously, Katy is a celebrity and therefore has a strong level of influence on fans and consumers of entertainment media. As of today, she has 7,944,783 followers on Instagram alone. Additionally, the video is graphic and piercings do have a stigma attached to them. Furthermore, piercing is considered a medical-type procedure since it involves needles and sanitary conditions. As a result, Katy’s post raises an interesting question: How does the context of Instagram versus other media contexts (such as this article on Celebrity Diagnosis) shape the portrayal of medically related posts?
    Instagram is an online mobile application that allows users to take photos and videos and share them on multiple social media platforms. The important point here is that Instagram is essentially comprised of images. As we’ve discussed in class, visual representations have a powerful role in shaping public understanding of medicine. With Instagram, the photo or video is the main attraction, and the caption takes a backseat. In other words, Instagram itself has allowed the context to become less important in relation to the image. What implications does this have on audiences when posts such as Katy Perry’s nose piercing are broadcasted to the world? If we read the caption of the video, we learn that Katy once pierced her own nose with a safety pin at the naïve age of thirteen and now has decided to let a professional do it instead. Instagram is mainly used by the younger generation. Although Katy’s caption connotes that young people should not attempt to pierce by themselves and should leave it to the professionals, in the context of Instagram, where text is not given a lot of attention, the video alone can largely skew a youth’s perception of piercings.
    If we look at this Celebrity Diagnosis article, we see Katy’s video followed by information detailing safe practices of piercing and preventative measures against infection. In comparison with Instagram, the video is now featured in a medical context and is largely balanced by text. In a sense, Katy’s piercing is seen as less shocking and risky, since the details have been disclosed. As consumers of media, this format is comforting and trustworthy and provides applicable information to aid in making decisions about our health. However, I highly doubt many Instagram users peruse sites like Celebrity Diagnosis. In closing, I would like to state that I have no qualms or biases about piercings. I do, however, think that with sharing any type of potentially dangerous procedures there also needs to be an accessible space for public education with medically accurate information in order for a target audience to make informed and safe decisions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real Time Analytics Google Analytics Alternative