Piercing bump vs. keloid

Piercing bump vs. keloid

You can develop bumps and scars from a piercing. Treatment can depend on the cause but may include regularly cleaning the piercing site and jewelry and using jewelry made of certain materials. Irritation bumps can happen on all piercings but most commonly occur on cartilage piercings, ie: ears and noses. They can be painful to touch or apply pressure to, for example, when wearing headphones or sleeping on them.


A keloid is a raised scar that occurs due to trauma or injury to the skin. Sometimes, this type of scar may appear after a piercing. Keloids can take 3-12 months to develop after the original injury. They start as raised scars that can be pink, red, purple, or brown and typically become darker over time.  


Piercing bumps and keloids form as a result of injury or trauma to the skin and often look similar. However, there are some key differences in the appearance and other sensations you might have with a piercing bump compared to a keloid.

Piercing bump symptoms:

Piercing bumps are also called hypertrophic scars. These scars are a thin film of tissue that develops over the injured area, often a hole from a piercing or other small wound. The scar tissue that forms over a skin piercing or in other areas of hypertrophic scarring is usually limited to the original injured area and does not spread. You may notice:

Keloids symptoms

Keloids are another type of scar tissue but are notably larger and shaped differently than a piercing bump. A keloid is an abnormal overgrowth of scar tissue that can form months after a skin injury.

You may develop itching, tenderness, or irritation where a keloid forms. In severe cases where large keloids form, it’s possible for them to restrict your normal movement. 

Causes of piercing bumps

They are normally bodily reactions to injury, causing inflammation and repairing tissue.

Causes of keloids

In people with keloid-prone skin, these scars can appear after injuries like:

Treatment for piercing bump

Piercing bumps are part of the body’s nature and they do not typically require treatment. They include:

  • Washing the hands before touching the piercing 
  • Keeping piercing jewelry in, without changing or removing it, for at least 6 weeks
  • 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

Treatment for keloids

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

  • corticosteroids

                              This type of medication can help shrink the keloid. The AAD notes that people require about four injections on average, having one every 3-4 weeks. They also say that 50-8-% of keloids shrink after corticosteroid injection.

  • surgery

                              A specialist can surgically remove the keloids. 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 for 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.



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