Piercings are a popular way to express one’s personality and style. However, with piercings come certain risks, such as infection, pain, and scarring. Two common types of piercing scars that people often confuse are piercing bumps and keloids. Although they may look similar, they have different causes, symptoms, and treatments. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about piercing bumps vs keloids.
Understanding Piercing Bumps
Piercing bumps, also known as hypertrophic scars, are small, raised bumps that appear around a new or healing piercing. They are usually pink, red, or flesh-colored and may be itchy or painful. Piercing bumps can form on any type of piercing, including ear, nose, lip, and belly button piercings.
Causes of Piercing Bumps
Piercing bumps are a common occurrence during the healing process of a new piercing. They are caused by a number of factors, including:
- Irritation: Touching or playing with your piercing, using harsh cleaning solutions, or wearing tight clothing can irritate your piercing, causing a bump to form.
- Infection: If bacteria gets into your piercing, it can cause an infection, which can lead to a piercing bump.
- Allergic reactions: Some people may be allergic to the metal used in their piercing jewelry, which can cause a bump to form.
Symptoms of Piercing Bumps
The symptoms of piercing bumps can vary depending on the severity of the bump and the location of the piercing. However, some common symptoms include:
- Redness and swelling around the piercing
- Pain or tenderness
- Itching or burning
- Discharge or pus
Treatment of Piercing Bumps
If you have a piercing bump, there are several steps you can take to reduce its size and promote healing. These include:
- Avoiding touching or playing with your piercing
- Using a saline solution to clean your piercing twice a day
- Applying a warm compress to the bump for 5-10 minutes twice a day
- Switching to a different type of jewelry, such as titanium or gold, if you are allergic to the metal in your current jewelry.
In most cases, piercing bumps will go away on their own within a few weeks to months. However, if your bump does not go away or becomes infected, you should see a healthcare provider.
Keloids are raised, thick scars that can develop at the site of a piercing. They can be pink, red, or brown and can grow larger than the original wound. Keloids are often itchy, tender, or painful and can cause emotional distress for those who have them.
Causes of Keloids
The exact cause of keloids is unknown. However, they tend to develop more often in people with darker skin tones and can be triggered by any type of skin injury, including a piercing. Other factors that may contribute to the development of keloids include:
- Genetics: Keloids tend to run in families, suggesting a genetic component.
- Age: Keloids are more common in people under the age of 30.
- Hormones: Changes in hormone levels, such as those that occur during pregnancy, can trigger the development of keloids.
How to Prevent Piercing Bump vs Keloid
Now that we know the causes and the differences between keloids and piercing bumps, it’s time to discuss how to prevent them. Here are some tips to help you avoid these issues:
Choose a reputable piercer:
The first step to avoiding piercing bumps and keloids is choosing a piercer who is experienced and reputable. Ask for recommendations from friends and family, read online reviews, and check the piercer’s portfolio before making your decision.
Opt for the right jewelry:
Not all jewelry is created equal, especially when it comes to piercings. Choose high-quality jewelry made from materials that your body won’t reject, such as titanium or surgical steel. Also, make sure that the jewelry fits correctly and doesn’t rub against your skin or cause any discomfort.
Keep your piercing clean:
Good hygiene is essential when it comes to preventing piercing bumps and keloids. Clean your piercing twice a day with a saline solution, which you can make by mixing 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt with 8 ounces of warm water. Avoid touching your piercing with dirty hands and don’t use harsh chemicals or alcohol-based products to clean it.
Avoid trauma to the piercing:
As we mentioned earlier, trauma is one of the primary causes of keloids and piercing bumps. Avoid sleeping on your piercing, wearing tight clothing that rubs against it, and playing with it or moving the jewelry around.
Healing takes time, and piercings are no exception. Be patient and avoid changing the jewelry too soon or playing with it before it’s fully healed. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your piercer for advice if you’re experiencing any issues or concerns.
When to See a Doctor
In most cases, piercing bumps and keloids are harmless and can be treated with home remedies. However, if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, it’s essential to seek medical attention:
- The bump or keloid is growing rapidly or has become very large
- The bump or keloid is causing significant pain or discomfort
- You have a fever or other signs of infection, such as pus or discharge coming from the piercing site
In these cases, your doctor may recommend more aggressive treatment, such as corticosteroid injections, cryotherapy, or surgery. It’s essential to follow your doctor’s advice and take good care of your piercing to avoid any complications.
Piercing bumps and keloids can be frustrating and even painful, but they’re not a reason to give up on your favorite piercings. By understanding the causes and symptoms of these issues and taking steps to prevent them, you can enjoy your piercings without any worries. Remember, if you’re ever in doubt or experiencing any concerning symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention. With a little patience and care, you can keep your piercings looking great for years to come.