Piercing bump vs. keloid: How to tell the difference and what to do

Skin changes can occur at the site of piercings. These changes are not always a campaign for concern. For example, piercing bumps are harmless and may go away over time. however, keloid scars can continue to get bigger. Although piercing bumps and keloid scars can initially look similar, there are ways to differentiate between them. In this article, we explain what piercing bumps and keloids are and how to tell the deviation between the two. We besides discuss the discussion options for both, american samoa well as the other conditions that may cause skin issues after getting a acute.

What are piercing bumps?

A person piercing someone's ear. share on PinterestEugenio Marongiu/Getty Images Piercing bumps are little lumps that can appear after a pierce. They much occur following cartilage piercings, such as nose or upper auricle piercings. Piercing bumps occur when the body ’ s immune organization responds to the wound and initiates the bring around response. This answer leads to ignition, which is what causes the bump. A person may notice bleed, bruise, and some swelling at the site of the acute in the first few weeks after getting it. These symptoms are all normal. other symptoms that are not typically a lawsuit for concern may include :

  • itching
  • some whitish fluid coming from the site of the wound
  • crusting around the piercing jewelry

What are keloids?

A keloid is a raise scar that occurs as a result of trauma or injury to the peel. sometimes, this type of scratch may appear after a acute. A keloid forms due to an giantism of hempen tissue. In answer to injury, cells in the peel — called fibroblasts — produce excessive collagen, which leads to the development of a keloid. Keloids can take 3–12 months to develop after the master injury. They start as raised scars that can be pink, bolshevik, purple, or brown and typically become dark over fourth dimension. The appearance can depend on the location of the keloid, adenine well as the person ’ south bark tone. Earlobe keloid scars are likely to be round or oval. They can continue to grow over time — either quickly or slowly — and can become very boastfully. The texture of keloids can differ. They can feel easy and doughy or hard and rubbery. other symptoms that a person with a keloid scratch may experience admit :

  • pain
  • itchiness
  • tenderness

How to tell the difference

share on PinterestIllustration By Diego Sabogal initially, keloids and piercing bumps can look like. however, over meter, differences will emerge. The following table shows some of the winder differences between these clamber changes :

Piercing bump Keloid
Location Around the piercing site Around the piercing site but can extend beyond it
Formation Soon after a piercing 3–12 months after piercing
Size Varies, but after forming, it does not grow bigger May start small and grow bigger over weeks, months, or years
Color Pink or flesh-colored Varies, but it can become darker over time
Fluid Common Uncommon

Treatment for piercing bumps

Piercing bumps are part of the body ’ s natural response to injury, and they do not typically require treatment. however, people can take steps to keep the area cleanse, prevent infection, and allow the pierce to heal. These include :

  • keeping piercing jewelry in, without changing or removing it, for at least 6 weeks
  • washing the hands before touching the piercing
  • washing the piercing with a saline solution or gentle soap and water once a day
  • patting the area dry with a clean cotton pad after bathing or showering and avoiding using a towel, which can introduce bacteria

Although the american Academy of Dermatology ( AAD ) suggest applying rubbing alcohol to the pierce, the general guidance is to avoid doing this as it can slow curative .

Treatment for keloids

diverse treatment options are available for keloids. The appropriate treatment option can depend on several factors, including the type and size of the keloid. treatment options include :

  • Corticosteroids: This type of medicine can help shrink the keloid. The AAD note that people require about four injections on average, having one every 3–4 weeks. They also say that 50–80% of keloids shrink after corticosteroid injection.
  • Surgery: A specialist can surgically remove the keloid. However, keloids can return, even after surgical removal.
  • Laser treatment: Laser treatment can help flatten the keloid scar and make it fade.
  • Cryotherapy: This treatment is appropriate to use on small keloids. During cryotherapy, a doctor freezes the keloid to soften it and reduce its size. Cryotherapy is not suitable for people with darker skin, due to the possibility of skin pigmentation changes.

The AAD recommend that people who know that they are prone to keloids avoid getting piercings. Learn more about dwelling care techniques for keloids here.

Other explanations

Bumps at the locate of a pierce can sometimes be a sign of another condition or health exit. Some other possible causes include :


Infections in modern piercings are quite common, and they can occur if the acerate leaf was not sterile or a person is unable to keep the cutting wholly cleanse. The symptoms of an infect pierce include :

  • soreness
  • swelling and puffiness
  • yellow pus coming out of the piercing
  • nausea and vomiting

Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a type of hide rash that occurs when something that touches the clamber irritates it. The rash may develop as a consequence of an allergy, friction, or exposure to something corrosive or toxic. In piercings, possible causes of contact dermatitis include :

  • the metal in the jewelry
  • the metal in the needle or piercing gun
  • the products that the piercer uses to clean the area

The symptoms of reach dermatitis include :

  • fluid-filled blisters
  • hives
  • a burning or stinging sensation
  • itching
  • dryness
  • discoloration
  • inflammation
  • tenderness

Nickel is responsible for most jewelry allergies. Nickel is present in less expensive jewelry, but amber or silver jewelry may contain small amounts of it, so these could besides cause a reaction. The best way to combat a jewelry allergy is to replace the alloy with a hypoallergenic one, such as titanium, stainless steel steel, or 18- or 24-karat amber .

When to speak with a doctor

If a person suspects that they have a keloid, they should speak with a doctor or dermatologist. Without discussion, the keloid may continue to grow. A person should besides seek the advice of a sophisticate if they are experiencing symptoms of an infection.


Piercing bumps and keloids are different skin conditions that can occur following a pierce. Piercing bumps tend to appear more promptly and do not grow in size, while keloids take time to form and can continue to grow over fourth dimension. A doctor or dermatologist can advise on the best direction to treat keloids. Anyone who suspects that they have a keloid or another condition that may be causing a lout should speak with a healthcare provider .

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