How to Get Rid of a Piercing Bump (2022)

How to Get Rid of a Piercing Bump (1)

If you feel a bump on a piercing, there's no need to panic. Piercing bumps, while annoying, can show up in the healing process even with meticulous care and are common fare for the professionals.

What Is a Piercing Bump?

A piercing bump is “unstable scar tissue," or an irritation bump that commonly occurs in more dense tissue like the cartilage on your ear or nose. It might be one of three things: a hypertrophic scar that has formed inside of the piercing, an abscess of infectious fluid trapped under or behind the piercing, or a cyst caused by an obstruction of dead skin cells or hair.

Meet the Expert

"It’s important to understand before you get a piercing that it takes a level of patience and dedication to earn your piercing wings," says Smith. Still, you need to make sure you're properly treating your bump. To do that, it's important to first identify the type of bump you're dealing with, where it is located on your body, and how it got there in the first place. After that, simple remedies, time, and patience will help you cure any unsightly swelling.

And while most piercing bumps are usually temporary and cosmetic, they are likely to clear up with extra TLC and time, says Harris. As a general rule, most growths (cysts, abscesses, keloids, tumors, etc.) are categorized as special issues that require assistance from a medical professional. "It’s important for your piercer to know where to draw the line between minor problems that can be resolved naturally at the studio and when to redirect you to a medical professional," states Pearce.

Keep reading to find out more about piercing bumps, from their causes to how to treat them, according to the experts.

How to Get Rid of a Piercing Bump (2)

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Identify and Remove the Irritant

How to Get Rid of a Piercing Bump (3)

(Video) How To Get Rid Of A Nose Piercing Bump FAST! | (Keloid) 📍 How To With Kristin

There is a variety of scenarios that lead to the formation of a bump. The secret is taking a moment to think about your day-to-day routine. We want to narrow down what actions are causing the irritation. Try and identify the moments in which you regularly interfere with your piercing.

The most common causes are bumping, snagging, or sleeping on new piercings (two to six months old). Other factors include poorly fitted jewelry, the shape of jewelry, airplane travel (a dramatic change in elevation and cabin pressure), poor jewelry quality, touching the piercing with dirty hands, and changes in humidity, which can all aggravate new piercings. Plus, headphones, skincare/beauty products, and too many puppy dog kisses can also cause an issue, Pearce says. Remove the irritant, and the rest will follow.

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Check Your Jewelry

How to Get Rid of a Piercing Bump (4)

After you've identified a problem area, the next step is to check if the jewelry is a proper fit and allows enough room for swelling, says Smith. Also, make sure your jewelry is up to par. Are your studs, hoops, or CBRs (captive bead rings) made of surgical stainless steel, surgical titanium, niobium, or Tygon (a surgical plastic)?

If you're not sure, visit your local trusted professional piercing studio. They will help you select a qualityitem in the perfect gauge for healing your piercing. Someone there may change it out for you, too, so there's no reason to do it yourself. Once it's in, leave it there until your bump is completely healed. Rotateit occasionally if possible but only after healing.

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Give It Time

When you get a piercing, part of your body's job is to help heal the wounds, which tends to work best when left to its own devices. This is why the experts don't always recommend using any outside products on your piercing. Instead of applying potentially harmful products to the piercing site, reach for a sterile saline spray, as it safely removes debris, discharge, and buildup without causing trauma to the piercing. (FYI: Keep in mind that sterile saline spray is not at all the same thing as adding sea salt to water at home). Arm & Hammer's saline spray is a simple way to fend off any bump-forming debris from your piercing. Just be careful using this around eye and mouth piercings.

Once your piercing is completely healed, feel free to change your jewelry from anywhere between three to six months, says Harris. Still, make sure to select high-quality jewelry purchased only from a professional shop and let someone there put it in. "We start longer to allow room for swelling. Once the swelling has reduced and your body has accepted the jewelry, we can carefully switch to something shorter," he explains. Another cause of piercing bumps could come from changing jewelry too soon. "The longer you wait for the piercing to heal up the better your chances are of not getting the bump," adds Harris.

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Keep Your Piercing Clean

How to Get Rid of a Piercing Bump (5)

Cleaning your piercing daily with a mild antibacterialsoap can be the key to eliminating abscesses or cysts, but sometimes it needs a little extra help. That's where saltsoaks come in. Sea-salt soaks may work to draw out the impurities, clean infected areas, and loosen dead skin cells anddried pus. Another popular solution used to clean new piercings is H2Ocean's piercing aftercare line.

(Video) HOW TO GET RID OF PIERCING BUMPS

Mix 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt with water, and soak your piercing blister three times a day until it is completely gone. This can also help to remove discharge from your piercings.

"At the end of the day, [piercing bumps] come from irritation. The body does not like the foreign object, so we need to gently convince the body to heal around it rather than fight it. I find most people don’t take great care of their piercings until there is a problem, then they care a lot. My advice is to be proactive from the start. Keep it clean and be careful with it," says Colby Smith.

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Try Home Remedies

How to Get Rid of a Piercing Bump (6)

Salt soaks usually do the trick when it comes to treating pesky irritations, but certain bumps may call for an herbal compress, like a chamomile tea bag soaked in hot water. Colby Smith recommends applying a hot compress with a chamomile tea bag nightly. The heat helps draw some of the irritation out and chamomile helps reduce inflammation, he explains.

If that's not working, he suggests moving on to apple cider vinegar. Tape a small piece of cotton soaked in apple cider vinegar to the bump overnight. This will turn the bump white, then purple, then black, and eventually fall off like a scab in a few days, says Colby Smith.

Key Ingredients

Apple cider vinegar is fermented apple juice formed when yeast mixes with the sugar of the juice. It contains acetic acid, which has antibacterial and keratolytic properties. It also contains malic acid, a gentle chemical exfoliant.

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Consider Compression Therapy

How to Get Rid of a Piercing Bump (7)

Some irritation bumps can be easily remedied by transitioning from cheaper jewelry to an implant-grade material or by replacing the jewelry size and style to one that’s more appropriate.

"We’ve also been successfully treating irritation bumps using what I call, 'compression therapy,' which utilizes the gentle but constant compression of a larger titanium disk on the bump, encouraging it to dissipate even more quickly," Pearce says. Regardless of the specific course of action you choose, it all starts with making an appointment at your local piercing studio.

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Massage With Oil

How to Get Rid of a Piercing Bump (8)

Hypertrophicscarring, "the technical term for the little bump we see most commonly," comments Harris, is caused by an increase in collagen due to trauma in and around the piercing site. It usually occurs in a cartilage piercing (upper ear or nose). First, consult a professional and have them size down your jewelry gauge to avoid undue pressure on the wound. Then, perform a daily, gentle oil massage with rosehip seed oil, which is perfect for various skin types and gives you added hydration benefits to soften the scar tissue over time.

(Video) How To Get Rid Of Piercing Bumps OVERNIGHT!

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Get a Shot of Cortisone

How to Get Rid of a Piercing Bump (9)

If the infection persists, "Take a trip to the dermatologist for a shot of cortisone (I recommend this a lot to my actor or model clients as they need a quick fix before they get in front of the camera)," says Colby Smith. The sooner you treat any pervading issue, the easier it is to reduce, Harris says, noting most bumps come and go for about six months, and then we don’t see them much more after that.

"Piercings are foreign objects in our body and every time we get pierced we try to trick our body into thinking this piece of metal belongs there," says piercer Adrian Castillo. "There are preventative measures but sometimes the body does what it wants to do and, typically, these little hiccups go away." But if at-home remedies don't take, the best thing you can do is "remove the jewelry knowing we tried everything possible and your body said 'nope,'" notes Colby Smith. The next step after that would be to consult your doctor.

FAQ

  • How long does it take for a piercing bump to go away?

    While it can vary depending on many factors (like the piercing location and cleanliness of the studio), most piercing bumps will start to diminish after a few days.

  • Why does my piercing bump keep coming back?

    (Video) Is Your Piercing INFECTED or IRRITATED?

    If your piercing bump keeps playing peek-a-boo with you, it may be due to infections or scarring. Be sure to use quality jewelry and keep your piercing clean even if there isn't a current bump. Follow up with a piercing expert to help pinpoint what the problem may be.

  • Is my piercing infected?

    An infected piercing is hot to the touch, painful, or has blood/pus coming out of it. You may also start feeling sick or feverish if it's gone on too long. If you notice any of these symptoms, it's important to go see a doc ASAP.

  • Should I take out my piercing if it's infected?

    Unless advised by a doctor, be sure to leave your jewelry in if you suspect an infection. Removing the piercing can cause the infected wound to close could lead to scarring. Consult with a doctor before making any moves.

Body Piercing Guide—Sites, Styles, What to Expect, Healing, and Care

Article Sources

Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.

(Video) SO YOU HAVE THE DREADED PIERCING BUMP

  1. Tang SC, Yang JH. Dual effects of alpha-hydroxy acids on the skin.Molecules. 2018;23(4):863. doi:10.3390/molecules23040863

  2. Ogawa R. Keloid and Hypertrophic Scars Are the Result of Chronic Inflammation in the Reticular Dermis. Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Mar 10;18(3):606. doi: 10.3390/ijms18030606.

FAQs

How do you make a piercing bump go away? ›

Apply a warm compress

Trapped fluid under the skin can cause a bump, but heat and pressure will help gradually drain it. A simple warm water compress can be made by soaking a clean washcloth in hot water, applying it to the piercing, and holding it there with gentle pressure for a few minutes.

Do piercing bumps go away? ›

Piercing bumps can be caused by allergies, genetics, poor aftercare, or just bad luck. With treatment, they may disappear completely.

How long does it take for a piercing lump to go away? ›

It can take several weeks to fully heal a nose piercing bump, but you should see improvement within 2 or 3 days of treatment.

Should I pop the bump on my piercing? ›

That little bump could be a pustule, which looks like a little pimple or blister — and just like with a pimple or blister, you shouldn't try to pop it. Pustules are a sign of an infection, and they can be filled with blood and even pus.

What causes a piercing bump? ›

Hypertrophic scarring, "the technical term for the little bump we see most commonly," comments Harris, is caused by an increase in collagen due to trauma in and around the piercing site. 2 It usually occurs in a cartilage piercing (upper ear or nose).

Why won't my piercing bump go away? ›

Keloids usually don't go away on their own, so you'll have to see your doctor to treat it. A dermatologist can freeze the growth, inject steroids, or use laser therapy to help it heal. Depending on which treatment you use, it can take a few months for keloids to be fully treated.

How do you tell if a piercing bump is a keloid? ›

keloid is significantly different. Generally, a piercing bump is limited to the actual hole of the piercing; it might even look like a tiny flesh-colored ball underneath the earring. In contrast, a keloid will likely spread to beyond the piercing site, especially as it continues to grow.

Should I remove my piercing if I have a keloid? ›

If a keloid develops around your ear piercing after the piercing has healed, contact a healthcare provider. They may recommend that you take your earring out right away and wear a pressure earring. Or they may recommend that you keep your earring in until they're able to conduct a physical examination of your ear.

Will piercing keloids go away? ›

Keloids are particularly hard to get rid of. Even when they're successfully removed, they tend to reappear eventually. Most dermatologists recommend a combination of different treatments for long-lasting results.

How do u know if your piercing is infected? ›

Your piercing might be infected if: the area around it is swollen, painful, hot, very red or dark (depending on your skin colour) there's blood or pus coming out of it – pus can be white, green or yellow. you feel hot or shivery or generally unwell.

Is Tea Tree Oil Good for piercing bumps? ›

Tea tree oil may also : ease redness and irritation around the piercing. shrink papules, pustules, and other bumps. prevent keloids and other scar tissue from forming.

Are keloids permanent? ›

Keloids can continue to grow for months or even years. They eventually stop growing but they do not disappear without treatment.

Do piercing bumps hurt? ›

A cartilage piercing bump may be tiny and appear under the skin, or so large that it changes the shape of the ear. Sometimes the bump is painful and swollen or may even ooze pus. Other bumps may be painless. Infected bumps need prompt treatment to prevent the infection from spreading.

How do I get rid of a bump on my nose piercing overnight? ›

Five ways to get rid of a nose piercing bump
  1. Use proper aftercare. Proper aftercare should prevent damage to tissue or an infection that could cause a bump. ...
  2. Use hypoallergenic jewelry. ...
  3. Use a sea salt solution. ...
  4. Try tea tree oil. ...
  5. Apply a warm compress.

How do I get rid of a lump in my earlobe? ›

When necessary or desired, treatment usually involves removing the cyst with a simple cut and local anesthetic. Surgical removal may also prevent a cyst from reforming. Otherwise, a doctor can make a small cut in the cyst and drain the contents. This option is quick and simple, but cysts are more likely to return.

What is a keloid bump look like? ›

A keloid is usually a raised scar with a flat surface. The color tends to darken with time. It usually ends up being darker than the person's skin, with the border being darker than the center. Feel different than the surrounding skin.

How do you flatten a keloid naturally? ›

Keloids are raised buildups of scar tissue on the skin.
...
Aspirin
  1. Crush three to four aspirin tablets.
  2. Mix them with enough water to form a paste.
  3. Apply them to the keloid or wound site. Let it sit for an hour or two, then rinse.
  4. Repeat once every day until desired results are achieved.

What do keloids look like? ›

What are keloid scars? A keloid scar is an enlarged, raised scar that can be pink, red, skin-coloured or darker than the surrounding skin. They can develop after very minor skin damage, such as an acne spot or a piercing, and spread beyond the original area of skin damage.

Can keloids go away naturally? ›

Keloids rarely disappear on their own. They may flatten and soften over time, but they don't usually go away completely. For some people, these natural changes are enough to make keloids look better, but, even so, the skin never looks the same as before.

Do keloids bleed when popped? ›

Keloid scars can bleed and become infected. They can affect any area of skin, but the most common areas include the shoulders, upper back and chest, neck, ears and face. If someone develops a keloid scar on one part of their body, their skin may still heal normally in other body areas.

How long after a piercing does a keloid form? ›

First, it's important to realize that a keloid often does not occur immediately after the skin injury. Therefore, it may take months after your piercing for one to develop. The primary and most obvious sign is a thick, irregular scar, which often occurs on the earlobes.

How do you shrink a keloid? ›

Larger keloids can be flattened by pulsed-dye laser sessions. This method has also been useful in easing itchiness and causing keloids to fade. Pulsed-dye laser therapy is delivered over several sessions with 4 to 8 weeks between sessions. Your doctor might recommend combining laser therapy with cortisone injections.

How common are keloids after piercings? ›

Results: Fifty percent (n = 16) of surveyed patients developed a keloid after their first piercing. Twenty surveyed patients developed keloids with subsequent piercings.

Should I remove piercing if infected? ›

If a new piercing is infected, it is best not to remove the earring. Removing the piercing can allow the wound to close, trapping the infection within the skin. For this reason, it is advisable not to remove an earring from an infected ear unless advised by a doctor or professional piercer.

How do you know if your body is rejecting a piercing? ›

Symptoms of piercing rejection
  1. more of the jewelry becoming visible on the outside of the piercing.
  2. the piercing remaining sore, red, irritated, or dry after the first few days.
  3. the jewelry becoming visible under the skin.
  4. the piercing hole appearing to be getting larger.
  5. the jewelry looking like it is hanging differently.

When is a piercing most likely to get infected? ›

“Infections are most likely to occur during the first week following the piercing, but can arise later on,” Dr. Kaplan says. But infection symptoms won't pop up the moment your piercing is exposed to bacteria.

What oils are good for piercings? ›

Coconut oil or almond oil are highly recommended during the first two months of your piercing healing. Both oils contain natural antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. We recommend the application of these oils once or twice a day.

What can I put on an irritated piercing? ›

Place ice in a thin plastic bag with a zipper, and wrap the bag in a cloth to avoid irritating your skin. Rest the ice pack on your forehead, neck, or any point where the cool pressure provides relief. You can also place the ice pack near the piercing site to help relieve pain.

Can I put Neosporin on my piercing? ›

Gently pat dry the affected area with clean gauze or a tissue. Then apply a small amount of an over-the-counter antibiotic cream (Neosporin, bacitracin, others), as directed on the product label. Turn the piercing jewelry a few times to prevent it from sticking to the skin.

What is inside a keloid? ›

It is a result of an overgrowth of granulation tissue (collagen type 3) at the site of a healed skin injury which is then slowly replaced by collagen type 1. Keloids are firm, rubbery lesions or shiny, fibrous nodules, and can vary from pink to the color of the person's skin or red to dark brown in color.

Can keloids be cancerous? ›

A keloid is an overgrowth of scar tissue. They are not cancerous, and they don't affect your physical health. However, they can be harmful to your mental health and extremely sensitive or uncomfortable.

Can I use ibuprofen for a piercing bump? ›

Take anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce pain and swelling. These include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve).

Why is there a little ball in my earlobe? ›

Most cases of lumps in the earlobe are due to the development of an epidermoid cyst and will often go away on their own without any active treatment. Any earlobe cysts which are persistent or suddenly change in size should prompt you to seek a medical assessment to rule out more serious underlying causes.

Why do I feel a ball inside my earlobe? ›

An earlobe cyst is also known as an epidermoid cyst. These occur when epidermis cells that should have been shed get deeper into your skin and multiply. These cells form the walls of the cyst and secrete keratin, which fills up the cyst. Damaged hair follicles or oil glands can cause them.

Why does my earring hole feel hard? ›

The most common cause is simply increased friction between the ear hole and the earring. This is most easily remedied by putting petroleum jelly on the earring post and then inserting it into the ear. The petroleum jelly will lubricate the earring to reduce friction.

Will piercing keloids go away? ›

Keloids on your ear grow slowly. They may take up to 12 months before they become noticeable, and they may continue to grow for years. They'll eventually stop growing, but they won't go away without treatment.

How do I get rid of a bump on my earlobe piercing? ›

If you've had an ear or nose cartilage piercing, small lumps can sometimes form around the piercing. The lumps, called granulomas, are trapped fluid. You can treat them by soaking a pad in warm water then holding the pad against them once a day.

Does tea tree oil help piercing bumps? ›

HELPS SCARS AND SWELLING – Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic and also moisturizes the skin which will help reduce any scarring and swelling. REDUCES PIERCING BUMPS – Sometimes abnormal bumps appear after a piercing. Tea tree oil is an effective way to dehydrate and eliminate those bumps.

Do piercing bumps hurt? ›

A cartilage piercing bump may be tiny and appear under the skin, or so large that it changes the shape of the ear. Sometimes the bump is painful and swollen or may even ooze pus. Other bumps may be painless. Infected bumps need prompt treatment to prevent the infection from spreading.

How do you flatten a keloid naturally? ›

Keloids are raised buildups of scar tissue on the skin.
...
Aspirin
  1. Crush three to four aspirin tablets.
  2. Mix them with enough water to form a paste.
  3. Apply them to the keloid or wound site. Let it sit for an hour or two, then rinse.
  4. Repeat once every day until desired results are achieved.

How do you know if it's a piercing bump or keloid? ›

In general, a piercing bump will go away after about six weeks, while a keloid is permanent. The exception is a piercing bump caused by an infection, which will get worse over time.

What do keloids look like? ›

What are keloid scars? A keloid scar is an enlarged, raised scar that can be pink, red, skin-coloured or darker than the surrounding skin. They can develop after very minor skin damage, such as an acne spot or a piercing, and spread beyond the original area of skin damage.

Are keloids permanent? ›

Keloids can continue to grow for months or even years. They eventually stop growing but they do not disappear without treatment.

How do u know if your piercing is infected? ›

According to Thompson, the telltale signs of an infection are simple: “The area around the piercing is warm to the touch, you notice extreme redness or red streaks protruding from it, and it has discolored pus, normally with a green or brown tint,” Thompson says.

Can I put pure tea tree oil on my piercing? ›

Tea tree oil is also an antiseptic, which means that it may help prevent infections around wounds. That said, it might be best to avoid using tea tree oil on new piercings, as the drying effects of the oil may interrupt the natural healing process.

How do I get rid of a bump on my nose piercing overnight? ›

Five ways to get rid of a nose piercing bump
  1. Use proper aftercare. Proper aftercare should prevent damage to tissue or an infection that could cause a bump. ...
  2. Use hypoallergenic jewelry. ...
  3. Use a sea salt solution. ...
  4. Try tea tree oil. ...
  5. Apply a warm compress.

What oils are good for piercings? ›

Coconut oil or almond oil are highly recommended during the first two months of your piercing healing. Both oils contain natural antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. We recommend the application of these oils once or twice a day.

Videos

1. Piercing Bumps - Everything You Need To Know
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2. HOW TO GET RID OF A NOSE PIERCING BUMP/ KELOID (FAST!!!) | hellotinashe
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3. What Are Those Bumps On Your Piercings? & How to Get Rid Of Them | Piercer Explains
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4. How to get rid of a bump/ keloid on nose piercing FAST!|REAL Divyne
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5. Piercing Keloids, Bumps & Hypertrophic Scars | Piercing FAQ 18 | Roly
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6. How I Treated My Hypertrophic Scar on Helix Piercing (with photos)
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