Piercing Bumps - Help & Tips
Many people complain of bumps on their piercings.
While proper care usually keeps these from forming, sometimes a
piercing gets a bump with the best of care. Identifying the bump and
treating it can reduce pain, and help your piercing heal faster.
The reasons for getting a bump could be always different, from non - sterilized equipment to non professional aftercare treatment. It depends! That's the reason you should never listening to your friends and their advice - experience.
If you develop a bump at the site of a body piercing, draining it should never be a "do-it-yourself" endeavor. A bump, especially if the site turns red, swollen or painful, or drains pus, could indicate a staphylococcus infection or other bacteria. See your doctor immediately; the doctor might choose to drain the bump and send the fluid for testing to determine the type of bacteria present. In the meantime, your doctor might start you on an oral antibiotic. Any time you create a wound in the skin like a body piercing, you run the risk of developing an infection. The risk increases if the equipment used to create the opening isn't scrupulously cleaned and sterilized between uses.
If the bump around a body piercing produces pain, swelling, oozing or a foul odor, you may have an infection. The risk increases if the symptoms persist or if the redness spreads of redness or turns dark red or purple and you develop a fever. You need antibiotics in addition to draining by your doctor to treat an infection. Sending the fluid for evaluation for the type of bacteria it contains is very important if the infection doesn't improve. A culture and sensitivity of the fluid determines the bacteria present as well as which antibiotics can effectively treat it.
A reddened bump doesn't always mean infection. In some cases, inflammation can develop at the site from irritation from the piercing rather than infection. With inflammation, the redness is usually localized, improves with time, doesn't spread and doesn't have a foul smell. Draining an inflamed bump won't help at all, since it doesn't contain infected material. Injecting the bump with cortisone often helps reduce inflammation, although you might need more than one treatment, depending on the size of the inflamed area.
Trying to drain an infected site yourself could make an infection much worse, especially if you use a contaminated tool and introduce even more bacteria into the wound. A serious infection that enters the blood stream can be fatal. Let your doctor determine whether a bump that develops at the site of a body piercing needs draining. Only a medical professional should perform this procedure.
Guide to heal your piercing:
Identify what type of bump you have. The most common bump on a healing piercing is a boil, or bacterial pocket. This occurs when trauma causes a small tear, and microbes enter the wound. Boils are often painful and red, and may secrete pus or blood. Another common bump is hypotrophic scarring. Cartilage piercings, especially all types of industrials, are prone to this type of scar. Hypotrophic scarring is a bump surrounding the exit hole, the same color as your skin. It may feel hard, but often are not painful. They are usually caused by jewelry putting pressure on the piercing, and the body responds by scarring. The most serious bump is a keloid. It's scar tissue that grows beyond the boundary of a piercing. Keloids are hard to treat, they often need surgical removal. Dark skinned people have a higher risk of keloid scars.
Boils are the most common, and easiest to treat of al piercing bumps. Sea salt soaks should be done daily on any healing piercing. Mix 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt with warm water, and soak the piercing for 5-15 minutes a day. This will help treat and prevent bumps, by drawing the pus and foreign particles out of the wound. Rinse your piercing after soaking to remove excess salt.
If sea salt soaks aren't reducing your bumps, try using chamomile tea bags as hot compresses. Dip the bag into warm water and hold against the piercing. Re-dip when the bag loses heat. Do this once or twice a day for 10 minutes. You can alternate tea bags and sea salt soaks.
For some body parts, sea salt soaks are difficult. Use cotton balls on hard to reach places, or try shot glasses or large bowls, depending on the body part.
Make sure your salt solution is no saltier than tears. Too much salt will do more harm than good.
A saline spray for piercings is a good idea for on-the-go treatment. They should not replace soaks, since the warm water helps draw things out of the piercing. Solutions also sit on skin, and can be drying. Don't overuse them.
For stubborn bumps that resist sea salt and chamomile treatments, try using tea tree oil. Dilute one drop of aromatherapy grade tea tree essential oil into a shot glass. You can also use a skin friendly oil to dilute. Dap this on the bump twice a day with a cotton bud. Tea tree is a strong antiseptic, and will kill most germs. It's also very strong, and can dry skin, so use sparingly.
Hypotrophic scarring is often due to pressure on a piercing. Changing your jewelry is usually the best move. If the scar is around a ring or other curved jewelry, switch to something straight, like a barbell. If it's on an industrial, put individual jewelry in each piercing. Consult your piercer for jewelry changes in unhealed piercings. Time and oil massages often improve scarring. If hypotrophic scars don't improve after some time, steroid injections and certain topical creams may help. Consult a doctor to see if this is an option.
If your bumps looks like scar tissue, doesn't respond to the above treatments, and is getting bigger or goes beyond the piercing itself, it may be a keloid. Keloids are large, and often a darker color than the surrounding skin. See a doctor or dermatologist to determine this. Keloid may require surgical removal or steroid treatments. Be advised, however, occasionally keloid removal results in more scar tissue. If you know you are prone to keloids, you may want to rethink being pierced.