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Irritation Bump, Infection or Keloid?

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Irritation Bumps, Infections & Keloids 

Piercing/Irritation Bumps

Piercing bumps form when the body's healing process is disrupted. They commonly occur on cartilage piercings like nose and ear piercings, but also happen on other types of piercings. 

Preventing piercing bumps is key, achieved through proper piercing technique, aftercare, and quality jewellery.

While no foolproof method exists, our studio has effective techniques. 

Irritation bumps are just that, “irritation”.
You need to identify the cause of the irritation and eliminate it, think about your day to day routine and think about moments where you could be irritating your piercing. 

Common Irritants

  • Touching, twisting, turning, picking at your piercing, not only can this cause irritation, touching your piercing without clean hands can also cause infection 

  • Sleeping on your piercing, this can cause pressure on the piercing site, excess swelling, trauma and incorrect healing angles 

  • Excess moisture or sweat at the piercing site, wet hair can play a role, always ensure your piercing is kept dry

  • Trauma to the piercing site snagging, tearing 

  • Headphones or Ear buds knocking your piercing 

  • Swimming in chlorine, the sea etc 

  • Over cleaning 

  • Under cleaning 

  • Using harsh chemicals on your piercing, including makeup, beauty and hair products 

  • Your general health, becoming unwell from cold and flu 

Check Your Jewellery

  • Downsize your piercing when swelling has dissipated.
    Failure to downsize causes movement which will irritate the piercing and may cause the piercing to heal at odd angles, creating pressure on the piercing site.
    Read about downsizing here

  • Jewellery metal reactions
    Surgical steel jewellery contains nickle which can irritate some people. See more on jewellery types here

  • Jewellery gauge  thin gauges do not support optimal healing,- changing your jewellery to thinner jewellery to soon may also cause irritation

  • Changing the jewellery to a different shape too soon can cause pressure on the piercing site

  • Gently clean your piercing twice a day as instructed by your piercing professional

  • Over cleaning the piercing can cause irritation 

  • Only use the recommended cleaning solution, using harsh chemicals can irritate your piercing. 

  • Infection, If you think there is infection present. Use a gentle antiseptic like Betadine, Crystaderm or Colloidal Silver. See more on infections below  
  • Soaking your piercing is not necessary. See below for compression techniques, note these are compression techniques, Do not soak your piercing at anytime.

Keep It Clean

You can also try these remedies for Irritation Bumps

Please note, these are suggestions only and should not replace the advise of your medical professional

Saline Hot Compression

Saline compression soaks may work to draw out the impurities, clean infected areas, and loosen dead skin cells and dried discharge.

The warmth of the water may also encourage the body to reabsorb the bump. 

Mix sterile saline with cooled boiled water, and soak your piercing bump three times a day until it is completely gone. This can also help to remove discharge from your piercings. 

Pros - One step to clean and compress and is sterile

Cons - Expensive, incorrect mixing of salt and water can cause irritation

Herbal Hot Compress

Herbal compress, like a chamomile tea bag soaked in cooled boiled hot water. 

Apply compression with the chamomile tea bag nightly.

The heat helps draw some of the irritation out and chamomile helps reduce inflammation. Encouraging the body to reabsorb the bump

Pros - One step clean and compress.  Compounds in chamomile may help to further reduce inflammation. It is also cheaper

Cons - Not sterile and there is some risk of allergic reaction

Disc Compression Therapy

Compression therapy which utilises the gentle but constant compression of a larger titanium disk on the bump, encouraging it to dissipate even more quickly.

We utelise titanuim piercing jewellery at the site of the irritation to compress the bump and encourage the body to reabsorb it. 

Pros - Can work quickly, no daily treatment needed

Cons - Multiple trips to purchase different jewellery, you may need to pay for fittings


Please note; these recommendations are things we have tried and suggested to a number of clients who have had success in healing these infections. This information is not to replace information given to you by your medical professional.  

What you need to know...

Infections can occur if a piercing is not kept completely clean or if the aftercare instructions have not been followed properly.

Please see our aftercare guide here

Excessive swelling can cause infections. If an infection occurs, you may have the following symptoms: redness, soreness, swelling and puffiness, yellow pus oozing from the piercing, a fever, and excessive pain.

If an infection is caught early, there is no need to see a doctor or remove your piercing. However, if an infection is severe, persistent or very painful, it's important to see a doctor immediately for treatment.

It's important to note that removing the piercing can cause the infected wound to close, potentially leading to scarring. 

Recommended Treatment

  • Gently clean the piercing and then gently apply antiseptic to the area 3 times a day with clean hands.
  • We recommend; Betadine, Crystaderm and Colloidal Silver.  
  • These products should only be used for 3-5 days.  If there is no change you should consider seeking medical treatment
  • Over the counter pain relief like Ibuprofen or voltaren may help with pain and swelling


If at anytime the problem persists or worsens we recommend seeing a doctor as soon as possible 


What you need to know...

Keloids are raised scar tissue that occurs as a result of trauma or injury to the skin.

A piercing is a puncture wound. Very rarely, this type of scarring may appear after a piercing.

Keloids are thought to be genetic and most people will know if they are prone to Keloids before they get a piercing.

Keloids need to be treated by a medical professional and will not go away on their own. 


Piercings are foreign objects inserted in our body, every time we get pierced, we try to trick our body into thinking this piece of metal belongs there. 


If these remedies don't take, then you will need to see a doctor.   

We are invested in giving you the best possible outcome and are happy to assist you in any way possible while you treat your piercing bumps. 

Contact us here with any questions

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