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.

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