What's This Bump on My Piercing?
There are three basic types of "bumps" that may form near or on a piercing. Localized Piercing Pimples,
Keloids, and Abscesses are all caused by different things. If you can determine what the
bump is and what caused it to appear, then you can make a plan to get rid of it.
Always try the gentlest method first, and only try the stronger methods as a last
resort. Try just one method at a time, and keep at it for at least a week to see
how its working.
Localized Piercing Pimples
Are usually nothing more than an obstruction (a hair or some dead skin cells) inside the
piercing that cause liquid-filled bumps. The area may be reddish and tender, and may bleed
a little bit. These "pimples" are somewhat more common in tragus, eyebrow, and nostril piercings.
To help get rid of them:
Change the jewelry. -consult with your piercer so that together, you can choose appropriate jewelry that will speed healing. You may need to upgrade to Titanium metal.
Hot sea salt soaks may help draw out the obstruction. Soaks can also soothe the area and help drain fluids.
Hydrogen Peroxide, in gel form, can help remove dead tissue and fluids from pimples
Are large, growing, very painful swellings, under or behind the piercing rather than right next to it. Infectious fluid has become trapped in the piercing; there is little or no drainage from the piercing.
You may want to try
Downsizing the gauge to encourage fluid drainage.
Herbal compresses have been very effective for some.
If you don't see immediate results, call a piercing-aware physician. Don't delay a doctor's visit if you suspect an abscess- they're potentially very serious.
You can avoid abscesses by:
Piercing with jewelry that's not too heavy, too thick, or too large in diameter.
Not stretching, playing with, or removing a piercing too soon.
Being very careful with multiple piercings or re-piercings.
Are excess scar tissue growth formed as a callous by the body to protect the piercing from uncomfortable friction. Piercees with more skin pigment may be at a slightly higher risk of developing keloids.
Keloids are usually caused by:
Tight, restrictive, or rough clothing or accessories such as eyeglasses that rub against the piercing.
Inappropriate jewelry shape, composition or style.
Poor placement of the piercing (too deep, too shallow, or crooked).
To get rid of keloids:
Watch out for bedding, clothing, towels, helmets, hairbrushes, and other sources of friction.
Placement and jewelry should be well-matched. If necessary, have your piercer change the jewelry or repierce.
Try the following methods in the order that they appear. Aspirin is especially effective for oral piercings ( see instructions below). Remember that keloids are usually a symptom rather than the source of a problem. They won't go away unless you resolve the original problem.
Soaking the area in clean warm water, or applying warm compresses (clean guaze or wet paper towel) for 15 mins at a time, a few times daily can help to soothe and soften the skin and draw out wastes. Many piercees add 1/4 tsp sea salt for additional effect; epsom and table salts are NOT appropriate substitutes, and it's important that the solution should be no saltier than your own tears. Using too much salt, oversoaking, or substituting other kinda of salt may dry out the skin.
Mix equal parts of echinacea, goldseal, comfrey, and chamomile tea with 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Brew a strong and hot tea (infusion). Using a clean cloth, apply the strained infusion gently but firmly against the area. Between applications, turn the jewelry to coax out fluids. Do this for 10-15 mins twice daily.
Using a Q-tip, apply a small amount of liquid or gel hydrogen peroxide to the bump and turn the jewelry just slightly to get the peroxide to the base. This may help dissolve the dead cells and wash away fluids. Depending upon your skin sensitivity, this treatment may be used anywhere from twice weekly to twice daily, for 10-15 mins per application.
Tea Tree Oil/Grapefruit Seed Extract
Tea tree oil, like grapefruit seed extract, can be an effective, natural alternative, but can be very strong and very drying, even when diluted. Apply small amounts to the area, rotating the jewelry to bring some oil into the piercing. DO NOT RINSE! Apply no more than twice daily; less if you are sensitive.
Non-prescription strength hydrocortisone cream can be very effective in reducing bumps. If you are immune suppressed or have a weakend immune system, be sure to consult a physician before using this steriod. ( Very sensitive piercees should avoid this product altogether, as reactions can occur). Apply a small amount to the area, rotating the jewelry to bring some of the cream into the piercing. DO NOT RINSE! Do not apply more than twice daily, a few times a week.
This method is most commonly and effectively used on oral keloids. If you are allergic to aspirin, do not try this method. Wet an aspirin or a small piece of aspirin, and place it directly on the bump for 5-30 mins, depending upon your skin's sensitivity. This will literally burn the bump off; as this method is so strong, don't use it more than once a day, 3 times a week. If your skin begins to chap or feel sore, discontinue and return to a gentler method.
Body Piercing Issues
Are you having a problem with a piercing that is not healing?
Long term piercing problems can be caused by 4 reasons
1. The jewelry is too short in length or diameter, and is therefore causing a pressure sore at one or both ends of the piercing. This can happen during the time of swelling in the lip, tongue, or when a person lies down with an undersized piece of belly button jewlery
2. The jewelry may be too long or just not "sitting right" in such a way that it is causing a pressure sore or is otherwise "competing for space". This is common with poorly thought out and poorly executed nostril piercings, indistrial or other type of ear and cartilage piercings, and can result in keloid formation.
3. An infection becomes present. True infections in body piercings are rarely seen, but can possibly occur if a person just does not clean it or take care of it.
4. Local allergic response to impurities in Surgical Steel or other non-pure metals. This is the most common problem we see in belly button an nipple jewelry "rejection". The initial wound heals but then becomes sore on and off and eventually the body decides it will not be happy with the surgical steel in it, and decides to push it out. In these case we strongly recommend switching the jewelry to a Titanium metal. The attached picture on the left is of a belly button that rejected the surgical steel jewelry that it was pierced with. This was the third time this client had been pierced with Surgical Steel. We removed the Surgical Steel and replaced it with a piece of Titanium Jewelry ( the client put the plastic balls on it later). The picture on the right is the same bellybutton 4 weeks later. The client returned to get her lower Belly button pierced with Titanium. Although there was still noticeable scarring on the top piercing, the redness, swelling and rejection had gone.