Help! There’s a bump on my piercing!
Do not panic! There is always a solution. A licensed piercer will help you identify the bubble. First we’ll have to differentiate the types of common and not-so common piercing bumps.
Is it a keloid?
A keloid is the scar tissue in the skin that grows abnormally into a larger bump. Did you know that dark-skinned people have a higher risk of developing a keloid? It also depends on hereditary factors and race. It is possible for a keloid to grow after any kind of skin damage. They continue to grow and are not limited to the wound alone which means they can get very big, especially when compared to your ear. Fortunately, a keloid is completely benign, it doesn’t cause cancer or anything related to it.
I have a bump around my piercing, it’s not a keloid
After following all given aftercare tips, you still have a bump close to your piercing. This is most likely an irritation bubble, possibly due to one or more of the following actions:
- You’re touching the piercing with unwashed, bare hands. Your piercing is very sensitive, even with disinfected hands you should not mess with it. Beware: using alcohol for your piercing is bad for the healing process. It’s a really cool piercing but keep it dry and tidy.
- You sleep on the wrong side. Try to sleep on the side where your piercing is not pierced e.g. when you get a helix piercing on the left side, try to sleep on your right side for some weeks. The pressure on the piercing can irritate the helix and cause irritation bumps.
- Swimming during the healing process (4 to 6 weeks) is not recommended. Chlorine is actually really bad for your piercing. Sterile salt water on the other hand is pretty useful when it comes to aftercare.
- Do not use alcohol on your piercing and DO NOT use the following products: Tea tree oil, rubbing alcohol, strong soap, remnants of shampoo, toothpaste, other oils, …
- Cleaning your piercing too much. There’s always not enough or too much, don’t overdo it.
- Wrong anatomy for the piercing: for example a belly piercing. If your belly button doesn’t have enough to grab on, the piercing will eventually grow out. It depends on your anatomy how much pressure and space there is for the piercing to heal.
- The piercing rod is too small.
What should you do then?
- Rinse the scab with running water. Getting scabs are normal, it means the piercing is in its healing process. Rinse the scab once or twice a day and don’t fidge too much with the piercing itself.
- Use a sterile solution such as Neilmed Piercing Aftercare. Spray it around the piercing twice a day
- Visit a licensed piercer and ask. It’s frustrating to keep trying to figure out what the problem is.
Do you have an infection?
When green pus comes out of the piercing hole or the piercing bump hurts a lot, you should start to ask yourself some questions. Sensitivity is not the same as pain like the feeling of your heart beating in your ear. Your ear may be sensitive and swollen, but if it hurts to the touch, it’s not normal! An infection can also be caused by the poor hygiene of a piercer or even by a piece of dirt that unexpectedly gets into your piercing. As a piercer, we cannot officially determine whether it is an infection because we have no medical training. However, we can refer you to a general practitioner for this.
Is there white discharge coming from your piercing? Don’t worry. This is sebum and it is completely normal. The body produces sebum for protection. It is often misunderstood as “puss” but this is not the same. Especially at the earlobes, sebum can be released and for a fairly long time, but no reason to panic.
What should you NOT do in case of inflammation?
Taking out the jewel. When in doubt about inflammation, the piercer will never remove the jewel from your piercing.
Why? The outer layer of skin will quickly close up and close with the infection inside. It is only allowed when a doctor recommends this or does it himself.
Before going to a doctor, it’s recommended to go to a piercer first who will inspect the area. If it is harmful, they will recommend a doctor.