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Published Friday, March 20, 2015

Things That Go Bump on Your Piercing

This is my first forum suggested blog entry. I posted a thread on the forum – you can check it out here — a few weeks ago, and a user popped in there was like “I’d like to see a blog post about caring for bumps,” and I was like, “Sure.” Then I tracked down APP member, professional piercer, bloodborn pathogens instructor, and friend of the blog Rick Frueh to ask him what bumps are.

Because I know what a bump is, but not what piercing bumps are. It turns out that my idea and reality are not too far apart. They are, Rick says, most commonly seen on helix and nostril piercings. Bumps seem to like areas where you have cartilage, and/ or places you’ll touch a lot.

“They are scar tissue and or build-up of discharge.” According to Rick. “Typically they are caused by bad piercing angle, poor jewelry quality, bad aftercare, trauma, or makeup.”

So let’s start by noting some treatments for these.

1. Bad Piercing Angle
Rick says you’ll to haul yourself back to your piercer and have them re-pierce it at a proper angle. Rick didn’t say how best to broach the subject, so I assume you should, as your piercer looks at the bump, say, “Hey, did you pierce that at a bad angle?”. In a loud voice. Or maybe look for a second opinion.

2. Poor jewelry quality
I’ve seen this one mentioned in other places as well, either citing poor quality jewelry (i.e. not gold, titanium, niobium or one of the other handful of “new piercing” jewelry types) or citing poor jewelry choice. Maybe the fit is too tight, or too loose. This can cause a lack of drainage, or cause something, like hair, to get pushed back into the piercing. An ingrown follicle can cause a lot of pain.

3. Bad aftercare or trauma
Did you touch it? A lot? Did you let someone else touch it? Did you get whacked on your fresh piercing during a fight with toilet bowl brushes? If so, you have an issue. The best solution is usually a daily saline solution soak. Rick says, “I personally have found the crazy chameleon soap to be an amazing thing for taking care of those bumps.” You can find that soap here.

4. Makeup
Probably don’t put this on or near your piercing. Your piercing needs to be able to drain, and one of the big causes of bumps is fluid retention. It makes a cyst, which is like a pocket of stuff that needs to come out and can’t get out because the door is closed.

In a nutshell,

You should probably stop in and see your piercer. Don’t take out the jewelry since it’s helping the piercing drain (when the two sides of the hole close up and leave fluid stuck in the middle it can create an abscess, which is worse than a bump).

Other sources on the internet recommend the following:

  • Crushing up aspirin with a little water and trying that (Rick says you should never do this for anything. Ever. So don’t do it.)
  • A chamomile tea bag soak (Rick says these are okay)
  • Tea tree oil (Rick says this is typically too strong)