What do I do if I have a bump on my new piercing, and how do I get it to go away? Understanding keloids and what to do if you get one.
One of the most frustrating things that can happen after getting a new piercing is noticing a small to large size bump located around the parameter of the entry point.
Oftentimes these bumps around your body piercing are just that, piercing bumps.
Piercing bumps happen when your body’s immune system responds to the piercing and commences the healing process.
This response leads to inflammation, which is what causes the bump.
Piercing bumps are not a cause for concern as they tend to go away on their own once your piercing has fully healed.
Other times, that bump around your new piercing can be something more serious, something called a ‘”keloid”.
What’s the Difference?
The defining differentiators between keloids and piercing bumps are size, texture, location, and color.
Keloids are typically larger in size – they start out small and can grow up to 12 inches in diameter!
Keloids are essentially scar tissue, so they may be tougher in texture, and though they can originate at the piercing entry point – they can extend to areas beyond.
One other distinctive difference is that piercing bumps can happen almost instantly after your piercing, whereas keloids can take between 3-12 months to develop.
So, what are keloids, and what should I do if I get one?
Well, the last thing you should do is panic.
Relax, we’ve got you covered!
In this article, we will be covering what causes keloids, what defines a keloid, and how to treat a keloid.
What Are Keloids?
Keloids are a type of raised scar that can occur wherever you have a skin injury – or piercing, but they typically form around the earlobes, shoulders, cheeks, or chest.
Though they do not necessarily rank highly on the pain scale, nor do they cause any actual harm to your physical health, keloids can be unsightly and uncomfortable.
Which can lead to emotional distress and a certain level of self-consciousness and insecurity.
Believe it or not, experts do not actually fully understand what causes keloids, but from what we do know – a keloid forms when the body produces too much collagen during the healing process.
Collagen can be helpful to the healing process, but an overproduction of collagen will likely result in a keloid scar.
How Do I Know if I Have a Keloid?
Some common symptoms of keloid scars are as follows:
- Thick, irregular scarring
- Reddish, brown, or purplish in color (depending on your skin color)
- Scarring typically takes between 3-12 months to develop
- Scar tissue growth beyond the size of the original wound (or piercing)
- The texture varies from soft to firm and rubbery
Who is At Risk of Getting a Keloid?
The short answer is everyone.
However, there are a few groups that are more prone to developing keloids than others.
These groups include:
- People with brown or black skin: People with darker skin are more prone to developing keloids as their skin tone contains more melanin than other races, making them more likely to develop keloids than people or a fairer skin complexion.
- Family genetics: Keloids can be a genetic thing. For example, if your mother or father has a history of keloids, it is likely that you may develop the same affliction in your lifetime. If you do happen to get a keloid, chances are you will develop more as your life continues.
- People under the age of 30: Though the reason is unclear as to why, people between the ages of 20-30 are more likely to develop keloids.
What Should I Do if I Get a Keloid?
If you happen to develop a keloid after a piercing, there are several things you can do to help reduce its appearance or alleviate discomfort.
One option is to apply silicone sheets or gels to the affected area. These products are designed to help soften and flatten the keloid, making it less noticeable.
They may also help to reduce itching and discomfort.
Corticosteroid shots are another option for treating keloids. These steroid injections contain a medication that helps to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
They are usually given once a month and may need to be continued for several months to see results.
If your keloid becomes really bad, your third and final option is to have the keloid surgically removed.
Keloid removal involves cutting out the keloid and closing the wound with sutures. While this can be an effective treatment, there is a risk that the keloid may return after surgery.
In some cases, a doctor may recommend radiation therapy after the keloid surgery to help prevent the keloid from coming back.
If you have a keloid after a piercing, it is important to take steps to prevent it from getting worse.
Avoid wearing jewelry that may rub against the affected area. Keep the area clean and dry, and avoid exposing it to the sun or other sources of UV radiation.
If you experience itching or discomfort, talk to your doctor about over-the-counter or prescription medications that may help.
Keloid Prevention: How to Prevent Getting One
Though keloids can happen to anyone, even with the most minor of wounds (like a piercing), and it is unclear as to why they happen, there are ways to prevent keloids from developing on your new piercing.
Practice good cleaning habits!
We can’t stress this enough, we’ve outlined the recommended cleaning methods for your piercings in our article “Aftercare and Avoiding Infections”.
The cliff notes version of that article is:
- Find a reputable piercing studio to do the job right
- Get yourself a good saline solution that consists of .09% sodium chloride as the only ingredient.
- Wash your hands thoroughly prior to cleaning or touching your piercing for any reason.
- Dry your piercing by gently patting it with clean, disposable paper products. Avoid using cloth towels as they harbor bacteria and snag on jewelry, often resulting in injury/infection.
Simple enough? Though this does not completely cancel the risk of developing a keloid, it sure as heck reduces the risk of developing a keloid significantly.
Don’t Let Keloids Get Under Your Skin!
Keloids can be a frustrating and uncomfortable problem for people who have them after a piercing.
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for treating keloids, there are several options available that may help reduce their appearance or alleviate discomfort.
If you have a keloid after a piercing, talk to your doctor or a dermatologist about the best treatment options for your individual case.
With time and patience, it is possible to reduce the appearance and discomfort of keloids and feel more confident in your skin.
If you or someone you know has developed a keloid due to a piercing or another injury feel free to share this with them to provide them with the insight they need!
For more information on piercings, piercing-related topics, or just overall good piercing content. check us out on Instagram, email us at email@example.com, or call us at (647) 501 8222 for all of your tattoo and piercing-related inquiries!
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