Septum tusk piercings are large-sized piercings placed horizontally through the septum. They have origins in tribal cultures from Asia and the Pacific Islands, including Irian Jaya, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Unlike a standard septum piercing, these pieces of body art require some dedication to pierce and prepare for wearing the tusk jewelry, which is often larger than standard sized piercing jewelry.
The Septum Tusk Piercing
A septum tusk piercing generally begins life as a standard septum piercing. This can be performed at a larger size, allowing the wearer to begin using tusk shaped jewelry immediately, or it can be achieved through the slow process of stretching a standard sized septum piercing. Each of these methods have advantages and drawbacks. Piercings that are pierced or punched using a dermal punch at a large size allow the wearer to achieve the look of a large gauge piercing immediately. They may take longer to heal and may also create permanent scars or holes in their place due to the flesh removal that is part of the process . A stretched piercing takes longer to achieve since proper stretching can only be performed on a healed piercing by increasing it's size roughly once every two months. This method has a normal healing time and even stretched, the hole has a better chance of closing than a punched large gauge septum piercing.
Stretching the Septum
The process of stretching the septum may be used to insert the tusk jewelry. Common sizes for standard septum piercings are anywhere from 16 gauge to 10 gauge. Older piercings may have stretched due to larger, heavier jewelry being used. The initial stretching may begin after the piercing is fully healed. To stretch a piercing, you will need tapers sized one size larger than your current jewelry and appropriate jewelry to wear in a fresh stretch. Slide the taper through the piercing and follow with the jewelry. You will need to perform aftercare after a stretch in the same way you would do for a fresh piercing. Jewelry materials for a fresh stretch include stainless steel, titanium, niobium, glass and PTFE. Avoid using organics such as wood or bone in a freshly stretched septum piercing.
Wearing a Tusk
Once you have stretched your piercing to the size of your tusk jewelry and the stretch has been healed, you will be able to wear a tusk in your septum piercing. Make sure the tusk size matches your current piercing size.
Appropriate Material for Septum Tusks
Septum tusks emulate a tribal style, so many septum tusks are made of organic materials such as wood, bone, mother of pearl and even stone. Modern tusks may be made of stainless steel. Avoid cheaper tusks made out of acrylic or plastic; while these may be enticing and inexpensive, they are not meant for long term wear and can harbor infection in the pores of the material.
Problems and Complications
Septum piercings have the same potential for problems as other piercings. It is important to remember that this is a mucous membrane piercing and can become easily infected if proper care is not taken. Some people find that tusks made of organic materials such as wood and bone can irritate their piercing. This can be alleviated by finding an alternate jewelry material, such as glass or metal. Septum tusk jewelry often comes with acrylic o-rings to stabilize the jewelry, and these have been known to cause irritation and allergic reactions. Removing the o-rings will help reduce the symptoms.