My piercing has a ‘bump/lump’ on it, what should I do?
There are three different kinds of ‘bump’ that can form on or around a piercing.
The first and also the most common type of ‘bump’ is a cyst. Mostly seen on Tragus, Nostril & Eyebrow piercings and more often than not on the upper/outer edge of the piercing
Cysts form a sack like pocket under the outer surface of the skin and tend to hold a small amount of lymph or other fluids. In the case of cysts on piercings, the cause is usually blockage in the glands of ducts in the skin. These blockages are usually caused by soap or shampoo residues left behind after washing, a build up of dead skin cells or even dirt or other pollutants lying on the surface of the skin if the person works in a dusty or dirty environment.
In common with all problems, prevention is better than cure; always make sure that the piercing is kept clean and properly rinsed out after washing / showering and then thoroughly and carefully dried with a clean dry tissue.
There’s no ‘quick fix’ to get rid of cysts. The most common method to break the cyst down is the use of a hot saline compress 5mins morning and evening for a good 2-3 weeks (as we said, no quick solution).
The second type of ‘bump’ is an abscess and is without doubt the most series.
Similar in construction to a cyst, abscesses tend to form behind the piercing and are usually painful and larger in size than a cyst. Often heavily swollen, hot to touch and filled with puss, an abscess holds infectious fluid and can be a major threat to your health and wellbeing.
Do not ignore your problem: if you think you have an abscess it’s best to consult a doctor or physician as soon as possible.
The third type of ‘bump’ is a keloid scar. This is the least common but most mis-diagnosed.
A keloid scar is basically a scar that has overgrown the wound it should have repaired, spreading both outwards and upwards. In some severe cases the scar covers an area 2-3 times larger than the original wound.
Keloids are most commonly caused by friction on the piercing and / or jewelllery and are mostly seen in nipple and navel piercings.
There appears to be a direct correlation between the likelihood of keloid scaring and the amount of melanin (pigment) in an individuals skin. As rule of thumb, people who’s ancestors are of African, Southern India or African Caribbean are much more likely to suffer from this problem than fair skinned people.
In some severe cases keloid scarring may have to be surgically removed although it should be noted that this is extremely rare in keloids resulting from piercings.