A bump on a cartilage piercing can be painful and look ungainly too. What causes piercing bumps to appear? What are the ways to treat cartilage piercing bumps? Read on to find out.
It can take anywhere between 3 months to 2 years for a cartilage piercing to heal completely.
Among the different types of body piercings, cartilage piercing is among the popular ones. It comprises nose piercings as well as piercings on the ear, except for those on the earlobes. Cartilage is a tough elastic tissue found in various parts of the body including the outer ear and nose. Some of the ear cartilage piercings include daith piercing, helix piercing, rook piercing, tragus piercing, industrial piercing, etc. As piercings damage the skin tissue, they lead to infections and bumps. Piercing bumps are common and a normal after-effect of piercing. They may take some time to heal. Here we tell you what causes these bumps and how to treat them.
Piercings done by a piercing gun may damage the soft tissue between the cartilage and the back of the skin. Also, piercing guns can cause a piece of cartilage to be pushed out, thus leaving a shapeless lump on the piercing site.
Piercing jewelry causes irritation or friction on the skin and leads to pus-filled blisters or bumps. Blisters need to be drained, however if you are using studs which fit tightly on the skin, the drainage of fluids may get blocked and aggravate the infection.
If your piercing is of an allergenic material, is snagged and pulled or slept on, it may cause boils. Sometimes, the piercings may migrate from the original area and cause skin irritation and bumps. The use of incorrect disinfectant solutions or their overuse may also cause bumps.
Soon after a piercing, during its healing period, it is common to have boils in that region. They can be painful and may have blood or pus.
As a part of the healing process, body produces new collagen. Formation of excessive amounts of collagen, giving rise to a scar known as hypertrophic scarring. Wearing the wrong type of piercing jewelry, or applying pressure on the piercing region can lead to hypertrophic scarring, thus forming a bump in the area.
Overgrowth of collagen in the wound area leads to formation of keloid scars. They may occur on body piercings and unlike hypertrophic scars, may grow beyond the region of the wound.
- Pus in the bumps
- Stretching of the piercing
- Migration of the piercing
- Foul odor
- Bacterial infection
- Irritation of the skin
Treatment and Healing
The healing of a cartilage piercing takes place in three stages, namely, inflammatory stage (when the wound is still open), growth/proliferative stage (when the body produces collagen as a part of the healing process) and maturation/remodeling stage (when collagen production equals degradation and disorganized collagen fibers realign). Piercing bumps formed during the healing process can be treated with the help of some simple home remedies. Depending on the type of piercing bump, treatment may vary.
Sea Salt Soaks
One of the best ways of getting rid of a piercing bump on the ears is by using sea salt soaks. Take 8 ounces of warm water in a clean bowl and add ¼ teaspoon of sea salt to it. When the salt has completely dissolved in water, taste a bit of it with your fingertip. It is said that this solution should not be saltier that your tears. Apply the solution to the bump or soak it by using cotton balls. Allow the sea salt water to remain on the piercing for 5-10 minutes and then rinse thoroughly to discard the excess salt. Practicing this once or twice everyday can help you in getting rid of the bumps. If you are using this on boils, crusts are likely to form due to drainage of the pus. In this case, make sure that you remove the crusts with cotton swabs.
Bumps can be stubborn. In this case, supplement the sea salt treatment, with chamomile tea For this, place a chamomile tea bag in a container filled with hot water. After holding the tea bag in the hot water for a minute or two, place the tea bag on your piercing. When the tea bag becomes cold, redo the entire process for at least 10-15 minutes. Chamomile tea compresses should be used 1-2 times everyday for the best results.
Crush an aspirin tablet and place it in a bowl. Add little water to this powder and mix till it becomes a paste. Apply this paste on the bump as well as the area surrounding it. Doing this at least 2-3 times a day can help in reducing the bumps on piercings. This is because the skin absorbs aspirin, thus opening the blood vessels, subsequently quickening the healing process.
Squeeze a few drops of fresh lemon in a small bowl of water. Take a cotton ball and dab it in the lemon water. Then apply it to the area of the piercing at regular intervals for 5 to 10 minutes during the day. It will be beneficial in getting rid of bumps on the cartilage piercings.
Tea Tree Oil
You can dab a cotton ball in tea tree oil and apply it on the pierced area. Do this once a day for a whole week. The anti-bacterial properties of tea tree oil will help in killing the germs and in healing the bump faster.
Warm Water Cleaning
You can also dab a flannel cloth in warm water and clean the piercing without removing the jewelry. This helps in keeping the pierced area clean and bacteria-free, and results in quicker healing of the bump.
It is advisable to seek a doctor’s advice if home remedies don’t seem to help. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. In case of a keloid, the doctor may suggest topical creams or surgical removal to avoid further complications.
Points to Remember
✦ Make sure that the person doing the piercing is wearing gloves and using sterilized equipment.
✦ Do not sleep on the side of the piercing.
✦ Keep your hair pulled up, tied or away from the piercing (in case of ear piercings).
✦ Know when to remove the jewelry from the piercing.
✦ If you have studs, replace them with captive bead piercings or rings as they move around easily and prevent clogging.
✦ Wash the piercing thoroughly during shower.
✦ Applying garlic oil, olive oil or evening primrose oil in small quantities can help treat the bumps.
✦ Over-cleaning the pierced area may irritate the skin.
✦ Do not use rubbing alcohol or cleaning solutions that contain alcohol.
✦ Use jewelry made of hypoallergenic material or implant-grade titanium to avoid allergies.
✦ Wearing piercing jewelry of the right size and material is important.
✦ Prevent your piercings from getting caught in clothes and pulled.
Sometimes, just changing the jewelry can help in treating the piercing bumps. However, you must never change the piercing jewelry on your own, especially if the area is infected. Keloids may have to be removed surgically. In that case, it is important to consult a doctor to seek the necessary treatment measures. Also, it is essential to take proper care of the cartilage piercings, as they can also result in an infection of Hepatitis B or C, sepsis, abscesses and lead to hypersensitivity.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.