Did you know that there is a right way and a wrong way to open a nose ring? Here is a quick list of the dos and don'ts when it comes to opening a nose ring (or a tiny hoop earring for that matter):
Do: Wash your hands. With soap and water, like a regular human.
Do: ABT - Always. Be. Twisting. Twist your hoop to open the ends side to side, which keeps them in line with each other and makes it easier to get a tight closure on your nose ring. This will be really important after you open up the ring to insert it.
Do: Only open your hoop the minimum amount needed to slip it into your piercing.
Do: Gently twist your hoop closed. You can use your fingers, but thicker gauges might require a pair of needle-nose pliers, or it might require going to a professional piercer for a jewelry change. Call ahead to a reputable local piercer (I like Rose Gold in the Haight!) and find out if they do jewelry changes. Some places charge a nominal fee to switch out your jewelry - I find that it is totally worth the investment in your jewelry to have it opened and closed properly.
Do: Look for the purest kind of metal that you can afford, and look for something that you’ll want to wear all the time. Choosing metals that cause irritation (gold plated base metal, white gold alloys that contain nickel) can irritate your piercing and the surrounding skin and cause some serious problems. Spending a little more, in the beginning, means that you won’t have to spend more later when you inevitably need to replace your nose stud or ring.
Don't: Open the hoop laterally. This not only makes the ring harder to close, it also stresses the metal in the wrong direction and could weaken the ring.
Final Note: You might feel a small amount of irritation after changing a piercing. This is pretty normal since you have been roughing it up a little more than normal. It can also happen if you are gauging up a size. Try rinsing your piercing with a saline solution or soak to soothe the irritation. If this doesn't work, consider switching to solid gold if you've been wearing gold plated/gold fill jewelry (this can be a big problem for nose piercings, and most piercers will recommend going with a solid metal like 14 karat gold or 18 karat gold). If you find that gold irritates your piercings too, consider switching to platinum jewelry as this one is the least reactive metal and the least likely to cause an allergic reaction.