Lumps and bumps on your piercings? This is one of the most common issues people can have with cartilage and navel piercings. The main thing is not to worry and most importantly, you do not need to remove your piercing. These things are easy to deal with and with a little patience and care, you can easily get rid of them. The whole thing is not to panic!
Your piercing will heal in three stages:
- The first stage is the inflammatory stage in which your wound is still open.
- The second stage is growth stage in which your body produces collagen.
- The final stage is remodelling or maturation stage in which disorganised collagen fibres repair and realign.
Often people will think their piercing is healed fully after a few weeks, due to the fact it seems to be OK and not sore. This is great news, as it means you’re healing well and looking after your piercing, BUT at this stage it is only surface healing and very early on in the healing process. Don’t be tempted to change your jewellery yet as this can irritate your piercing. Always check with your piercer first before changing jewellery and in the first few months we would advise sticking with high quality jewellery such as titanium. At Pictures of Lily we only pierce with steralised, implant grade titanium, the best you can get, with the lowest amount of nickel. (https://www.bodyjewellery.co.uk/blog/2011/09/the-ec-nickel-directive-body-piercing-jewellery/)
So, what are these lumps I hear you ask? Well, they are generally either bacteria bubbles or hypertrophic scarring. Now, I don’t want to bore you too much and go into too much detail, but here’s the difference:
- Bacteria bubble/bacteria pocket – this has the appearance of a small pimple/boil and will likely be sore, red and secrete a small amount of pus or blood. The red bump will normally appear quite soon after the piercing and be around the hole.
- Hypertrophic scarring is probably the most common lump and bump on piercings. This is a build-up of collagen, which your body creates when healing a scar. It is NOT keloid scarring, this is something very different and is very uncommon. Why do these bumps appear? No one really knows 100%, they just do! There are some contributing factors to avoid.
There are many ways of dealing with the issues of lumps and bumps and this blog is to try and help you decide which is best and give you some guidelines.
First and foremost it is important to remember you essentially have what is an open wound in your body, so keeping it clean & dry is vital. The more you touch and fiddle with your new piercing, the more likely it is you will have problems and develop lumps and bumps. Your hands, your hair, mobile phones etc. etc. are not sterile and each time they come in to contact with the piercing it is encouraging bacteria in to the hole. LEAVE IT ALONE!
Check that the jewellery you have is of a good quality and the right size and shape. At Pictures of Lily, we only use top quality jewellery. We don’t recommend changing jewellery too soon or if you are currently having healing problems, as this will only irritate the piercing further. Incorrect and ill-fitting jewellery can cause problems. BE PATIENT with your piercings and don’t change the jewellery if it’s not ready!
Many piercings are in places that are prone to getting knocked and caught, this inevitably will lead to healing issues and probably developing bumps, so try your hardest not to knock them.
OK, so the question you’re probably asking is how do I get rid of these lumps and bumps? There are so many gimmicks out there and ways of dealing with them, but to be honest the best thing to do is the following:
– Chamomile tea – Chamomile is very soothing and has no detrimental effect. It may sound like some sort of hippy idea, but believe me it works! Boil up a cup of camomile tea, let it cool a little so you don’t scald yourself, soak a cotton ball/pad in it and gently hold on to the area. When the compress goes cold, repeat with another; do this 4 or 5 times, for a week (or until the bumps go, if sooner). Then pat it dry GENTLY with a clean piece of kitchen roll/tissue or best thing is to dry it with the hairdryer on a cool setting, then you don’t need to touch it. If it is still there after a week, continue treatment for another week.
– Tea Tree Oil – Some people find that applying tea tree oil once a week can also help, but not if you’re allergic to it! Dab a small amount on the bumps. Don’t do this too often, otherwise it will cause irritation.
Try to keep the area as dry as possible and LEAVE IT ALONE! I know I keep harping on about not touching it, but it’s surprising how many people pick and play with their piercings. PATIENCE and a little bit of TLC will go a long way. A healthy immune system will also be beneficial to healing.
Be consistent and keep to your treatment regime.
Using anti-inflammatory drugs temporarily can also help with swellings, so if it’s particularly swollen and tender, then pop an Ibroprofen!
Infections are very rare and many people confuse normal healing problems with infection. Lumps and bumps do not denote infection. If a piercing was infected, you’d know about it! It would be INCREDIBLY sore and tender, swollen, hot to touch, abnormal discharge which could possibly smell and you may even get a fever. This would need clearing up with antibiotics, but again, there is no need to remove the jewellery as keeping it in would help drain an infection. This said, if you had poor quality or ill-fitting jewellery, then you would need to change it.
I have also heard of many other remedies, such as:
- Aspirin paste (mixing a few drops of water with a crushed-up Aspirin to form a paste).
- Hydrogen Peroxide.
- Hydrocortisone cream.
- NoPull Piercing Disc.
These can hold risks, so you need to be careful and where as it might work for one, it may not with another, so you’re best to stick to the camomile hot compresses.
Disclaimer: These suggestions are not to be considered a substitute for advice from a medical professional.