Have you gotten a piercing and a few weeks or months in, you notice a small bump growing next to it? I know I have and was freaking out wondering if it was an infection and what I should do about this piercing bump. Cut to the chase, I had to go through surgery to cut off some tissue and now, keep my fingers cross and hope it does not grow back again.

Because of this experience and upon discovering that many around experience random bumps too, I thought why not write about what they potentially are, why they appear and how we can take steps to avoid having them. I hope this article helps you identify your bump and what are some of the steps you can take.

Types of Piercing Bumps and Why do they appear?

It is important to identify what kind of piercing bump it is to determine the appropriate treatment and prevent further complications. Different types of piercing bumps can have different causes and require different treatment approaches, and misidentifying a piercing bump can lead to ineffective or inappropriate treatment, and may even worsen the condition.

Scar Tissue, also known as Keloid

A keloid is a type of raised scar that forms at the site of a skin injury or trauma to the skin, including a piercing. It occurs when the body produces an excess amount of scar tissue during the healing process, causing the scar tissue to grow beyond the boundaries of the original wound.

Keloids are more common in certain areas, including the ears, chest, shoulders, and back, and they may be more likely to occur in people with a family history of keloids. It is believed that the cause of keloid formation involves a combination of genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors. Some people may be more predisposed to developing keloids due to genetic factors that affect the way their body produces and responds to collagen.

They can vary in size and shape, and they may be red, pink, or flesh-coloured. Keloids can be uncomfortable or itchy, but they are generally not harmful. However, if a keloid is causing pain, discomfort, or interfering with movement, a healthcare professional or a professional piercer may recommend treatment, which may include corticosteroid injections, silicone sheets or gels, or surgical removal.

Other factors that can contribute to keloid formation include:

  • Injury or trauma to the skin, such as burn
  • Inflammation or infection at the site of the injury
  • Tension or pressure on the skin around the injury
  • Certain skin conditions, such as acne or chickenpox

Infection Improper Piercing Technique and Piercing Cleanliness

When a piercing is done improperly or is not cleaned and cared for properly, it can increase the risk of infection. When the skin is punctured, it creates a pathway for bacteria and other microorganisms to enter the body, potentially leading to an infection.

Improper piercing techniques, such as using unsterilised equipment, using jewellery that contains nickel or piercing through an area with excessive cartilage or tissue can damage the skin and create a larger wound than necessary, making it more difficult for the body to heal the piercing. Hence, increases the risk of infection.

It is encouraged to always clean the area around your piercing and your piercing as failing to clean regularly can cause the are to become contaminated with bacteria and other microorganisms from the surrounding environment, such as dirt or sweat. If the piercing is not cleaned regularly, these microorganisms can multiply, as a result cause an infection.

Symptoms of an infected piercing may include redness, swelling, pain, and discharge. And one should turn to healthcare professionals for proper treatment. Treatment for an infected piercing may include antibiotics, removal of the jewellery, and proper wound care.

Allergic Reaction

Some people can have an allergic reaction to the metal in the jewellery used for a piercing. The most common metal that causes an allergic reaction is nickel, which is found in many types of jewellery, particularly lower quality or inexpensive ones.
Photo: Ashithosh U 

Some people can have an allergic reaction to the metal in the jewellery used for a piercing. The most common metal that causes an allergic reaction is nickel, which is found in many types of jewellery, particularly lower quality or inexpensive ones.

When one has an allergic reaction, their immune system mistakes the metal as a harmful substance and triggers an immune response, which can cause various symptoms, including swelling, redness, itching, and rash, at the site of the piercing or around the body.

Other factors that can increase the risk of an allergic reaction include:

  • Prolonged exposure to the metal, such as wearing the jewellery for an extended period of time
  • Trauma to the piercing. Excessive movement or force, which can irritate the skin and increase the risk of an allergic reaction

Piercing Care and how to avoid a piercing bump?

Wash your hands before touching your piercing to prevent the transfer of bacteria.
Photo: Burst

One of the ways to reduce the possibility of bumps, swelling and redness is to consider a proper piercing technique for the area you are piercing such as using the sterile needed for areas with more cartilage and areas which require for flexibility. While the piercing gun is commonly used for ear lobe and nose piercings, we encourage to always use a sterile gun should it be an option. This is because as compared to the piercing gun, the sterile needle may potentially reduce trauma through the skin and cartilage which going through.

Secondly, proper aftercare is essential to prevent infection and other complications, and to promote healing of your piercing. Here are some general guidelines for taking care of your piercings as such avoiding the occurrence of a piercing bump:

  1. Wash your hands before touching your piercing to prevent the transfer of bacteria.
  2. Clean your piercing regularly using saline solution or a sterile saline wound wash. It’s important to avoid using harsh soaps or other cleaning agents that can irritate the piercing or damage the jewellery.
  3. Avoid touching or twisting the jewellery, as this can cause trauma to the piercing and delay the healing process.
  4. Opt for better-grade or high-quality jewellery made from hypoallergenic materials, such as surgical-grade stainless steel, titanium, or 14-karat gold. It is also important to avoid wearing jewellery that contains nickel or other allergens if you have a known sensitivity to these metals.
  5. Choose a reputable and experienced piercer who uses sterile equipment and follows proper hygiene and safety procedures.
  6. Keep the area around the piercing clean and dry, and avoid sleeping on the piercing.


In summary, piercing bumps can form due to a variety of factors, including trauma, infection, or an allergic reaction. If you notice raised, red, or irritated bumps around your piercing site, and experience itch and pain, do engage in proper aftercare, including regular cleaning and avoiding touching or twisting the jewellery. These can prevent the formation of piercing bumps or promote proper healing of the piercing. Should it not heal overtime or you develop other symptoms such as fever, we strongly recommend to seek medical attention.

Post Image: John-Paul Wright