Nose Piercing Bumps - Causes & Treatments Guide
The last thing you expect to see after you get your nose pierced is a weird-looking bump at the piercing site. When you see this new nose piercing bump, you’re understandably worried because that’s 100 percent not the look you were going for. Are you going to have that bump forever? Is there any way to get rid of it?
If you want to get the full scoop on nose bumps, what causes them, and how to banish those unsightly and unwelcome guests, read our guide. You’ll feel much better once you have some great information under your belt.
What Are Nose Piercing Bumps?
Nose piercings don’t have a great reputation for being a fast healer. It’s normal for a nose piercing to take up to six months to completely heal.
During that time, you’ll see things that will make you feel uncomfortable, especially on a place as highly visible as your face. There can be redness, swelling, a little bleeding, pus and even crust around your jewelry.
But sometimes, you’ll also see something else, something you hadn’t expected at all – a nose bump.
Nose bumps are usually either pustules, granulomas or keloids. Let’s take a closer look at each suspect:
As its name indicates, this nose bump is full of pus. Think of a pustule as a pimple or a blister at the piercing site.
Pustules can be extremely painful so if it’s not going away, it’s best to see your piercer or doctor before it gets out of control. But some pustules aren’t painful at all, or they might just be itchy or cause a burning sensation.
They are caused by mild infections sometimes. Other times, they are caused by trauma, such as your piercing being tugged at or pulled on.
That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to be careful with your new piercing, especially if you like to participate in sports. Contact sports, like basketball, can be particularly rough on nose piercings. Always use caution so you don’t suffer an injury that might lead to a pustule.
The timetable of when your piercing was done can help you figure out if you’re dealing with a granuloma. They won’t happen immediately after a nose piercing. Usually, you’re looking at several weeks or about a month and a half until these nuisances show up.
Granulomas can show up in your piercing hole or right next to it. They can be as small as just a couple millimeters or they can be as big as a couple of centimeters.
If they are small, they may be barely noticeable to anyone but you, but those larger ones can be a great source of embarrassment for people. They can make people feel self-conscious and unattractive.
Pustules happen when the tissue around the piercing area keeps overgrowing – they are caused by trauma or the inflammatory response your body is producing to deal with the piercing, which it sees as an unwelcome intrusion.
Having a granuloma doesn’t automatically mean you have an infected nose piercing, but granulomas can easily become infected after they have formed. Therefore, it is essential that you clean your nose piercing properly until it is completely healthy and healed.
If you pick at your granuloma, you’ll find it doesn’t take much to make it bleed. They can also crust over, much like a sore would.
Just because a granuloma forms, it doesn’t mean you have to live with it. You may have to visit a dermatologist to have these taken care of. It will cost a lot more than your initial piercing did, but at least it can be done.
Why do some people form keloids while others don’t? Unfortunately, it’s the luck of the draw. Some people are just more likely to form nose piercing scars, and there’s not much, if anything, they can do about it.
If you see a formation around your piercing site and you aren’t sure if it’s a keloid, you should stop back in to see your piercer. They’ve seen enough keloids and temporary hypertrophic scarring to know the difference between the two.
If a person gets a nose piercing and forms a keloid, they may want to carefully consider whether they want to get any additional piercings. That’s because it’s likely they’ll also form a keloid around any other site they have pierced too. Their body may just respond that way to trauma.
While you can definitely still have other piercings done if you want to, some people who have keloids decide it’s not worth it because of the scarring that can form.
As with a granuloma, you can have a keloid removed by a dermatologist. You can try consulting a regular doctor for keloid removal, but they most will likely recommend seeing a specialist like a dermatologist, and that’s where you’ll get your best results.
What Causes Nose Piercing Bumps?
There isn’t one simple cause that is responsible for these three types of nose bumps. It can be a variety of things. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the causes of nose bumps so you can cut down on the risk as much as possible.
Here are the most common reasons you might sprout a nose bump:
Undesirable Piercing Technique
If you’ve read some of our other articles, you know we don’t recommend cutting corners just so you can get a cheap piercing job.
Some piercers are worth the extra money you’ll pay for their services. In addition to possibly having more sanitary conditions, their skill level is also higher when it comes to performing the procedure.
You should never use a piercer who says he wants to use a piercing gun on your nose. It will damage the tissue more severely and that can lead to the development of a bump. Go for the hollow needle method instead. It’s more sanitary and gentler on the skin.
If you use a piercer who has poor technique, it can lead to complications like the types of nose bumps listed above. That’s why it’s imperative that you find someone who can do the job correctly right from the beginning.
The technique matters so much because of the poor outcomes it can produce when it isn’t right.
Using Poor Aftercare Products
Cleaning your nose piercing is a necessity if you want to give yourself your best chance of skipping an infection and possibly cutting down on the risk of nose bumps.
But not everybody follows the aftercare instructions they’re given about staying away from certain products. Instead, they listen to word of mouth from their friends who know less about this kind of thing than the experts.
And if you find a piercer who isn’t experienced and knowledgeable enough, they may give you poor advice on what products to use to treat and heal your nose piercing too.
You should stick with plain old sea salt and water when you clean your nose piercing twice a day (either home-made or shop-bought).
A simple salt water solution, or specialized piercing aftercare product won’t increase your risk for developing any of these bumps, and they should help ward off nasty infection too.
My Favorite Piercing Aftercare Product
The best piercing aftercare product I've ever had the pleasure of using up to this point is the H2Ocean Piercing Aftercare Spray.
Not only is every single ingredient completely natural, but the spray works brilliantly on all skin types (including sensitive skin) and comes in a very generously sized can.
Many users of the spray advise that when using it from the very start of the healing process, it appears to decrease healing times and helps to reduce any lingering pain/soreness.
Read more about the H2Ocean Piercing Spray here. Have a quick look at some of the customer reviews and you'll see why it's one of the most popular piercing sprays on the market.
Products to avoid using on the area include anything that will be too harsh on the healing nose piercing. Stay away from rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, bacitracin and tea tree oil. These topical products can slow down the healing process and can even damage the skin further.
Just stick to simple sea salt and water as the only thing you put on your piercing site, unless you are directed otherwise by your doctor. It’s cheaper and more effective than those other products are.
Filthy Hands Touching Your Nose Piercing
There’s a reason your piercer should stress the importance of washing your hands carefully before you even think about touching your nose piercing. It can seriously mess your face up if you don’t.
Dirty hands can be harboring all types of bacteria. Those bacteria can cause infections and infections can lead to these nasty-looking nose bumps.
So do yourself a favor and make sure you wash your hands really well before you touch your new nose piercing at all.
A lot of people love piercings, but they don’t always love us back. Many of us have problems with allergic reactions to the metal used in the jewelry we wear.
Nickel, in particular, is one of the biggest allergens in jewelry. Lots of people can’t tolerate it. It begins a reaction in our skin that can end up culminating in these nose piercing bumps.
When your skin is in a constant state of being irritated, it can set the stage for the development of these pesky bumps.
Instead of using nickel, you should go for metals that carry less risk of allergic reactions. Those can include surgical-grade titanium and gold. Titanium is affordable so even if you’re on a strict budget, you’ll be able to buy that metal without bankrupting yourself.
Because your nose piercing is right on your face where it is highly accessible, your jewelry can often get pulled on or bumped around. You can even accidentally jostle it yourself when you pull on a shirt and snag your nose jewelry in the process.
While these incidents may seem like they aren’t a big deal once the stinging stops, they can lead to nose bumps. Therefore, it’s important to be as gentle and as careful as you can with your new piercing.
How To Get Rid Of Nose Piercing Bumps
The first thing you need to figure out before coming up with a plan of attack for your nose bump is if it’s an infection.
If you think it’s an infection, you should have your piercer or a doctor look at it to determine the best course of action. Here are some indications that you’re dealing with an infection.
Obviously, you’re going to have some redness after a nose piercing. But if the redness seems to be getting worse instead of better and if you see any red streaks on the skin around the piercing site, you wouldn’t be out of line to suspect an infection.
Swelling can be normal right after a piercing, but it can also mean that there’s a nasty infection going on underneath the surface.
Some pus in the first week or two after the piercing is normal. An increase in pus, however, after those first few days isn’t usually normal, and if the pus is foul smelling or discolored, it can be even worse. Those signs can point to an infection.
Pain Or Burning
If the area is hurting you more than it should do in the first few days after the piercing, it could mean an infection is developing.
When an infection is allowed to run unchecked, it can stay localized or it can continue to spread. If it becomes a widespread problem and starts to travel away from the piercing site, it becomes a bigger problem.
A fever is a good indication that you need prompt medical attention if you also have other signs of an infection. Your fever may turn out to be unrelated to the infection – perhaps you might be suffering from a cold or the flu instead. But to be on the safe side, you should have it checked out because system-wide infections can get bad quickly.
If It’s An Infection
If your bump is caused by an infection, the proper treatment should take care of it.
Whether you decide to try treatment at home first or if you consult a doctor immediately, you should leave your piercing in while you’re taking care of it.
When people realize they have an infection, their first tendency can be to take the jewelry out so they don’t have to work around it when they are treating it.
But that’s a mistake, and here’s why. If the jewelry is removed from the hole, the hole will close up. That means all the infection will be trapped inside instead of being allowed to drain out. That can make a bad situation much worse.
So what you want to do is leave the jewelry in, even during an infection, so that drainage can continue as you keep cleaning the site out.
It can suck to constantly have to clean your piercing site to fight the infection or to pay for medicine to knock it out. But if you follow your doctor’s orders, the infection will soon be gone and that ugly bump will fade quickly.
So while an infection can be inconvenient, it’s usually easy to take care of.
Getting Rid Of A Pustule
Sometimes the situation with pustules come to a head by itself. They can break open or pop and drain on their own.
When that happens, you can help the process along by making a warm salt water mixture and holding a cotton ball of salt water on the pustule. That will encourage the pustule to drain as much as possible.
While you do want your pustule to drain, you should never lance it yourself without having the proper, sterile equipment. Lancing it with a needle or safety pin you have lying around the house may seem like a good idea at the time, but it can lead to an infection.
If your pustule won’t drain on its own and you need to have it lanced, you should head to a doctor’s office to have it done.
Once you drain your pustule, you might think your problem is over, but it might not be. Pustules can re-form over the course of weeks or months. If they show up again and again, just keep fighting them as best as you can by keeping them drained.
Keloids and granulomas, however, aren’t as easy to knock out.
Will Nose Piercing Bumps Cause Long-Term Damage?
Granulomas may go away on their own, but it could take months. Keep doing sea salt compresses and see if that helps. Ask your dermatologist what your options are. He may recommend a treatment or even removal in some cases.
Keloids are scars, so they won’t go away without a trip to the dermatologist’s office. Usually, your options for lessening the appearance of a keloid include cryotherapy, corticosteroid injections, and even surgery. They can be removed through surgery, but even then, in some cases, they might come back.
To minimize the chance of causing any additional damage until your dermatologist does the removal, make sure to follow any instructions you are given. They may decide you have to remove your nasal piercing permanently to give yourself your best shot at fully healing.
As you wait for your treatment, make sure you don’t pick at the keloid. You could cause additional scarring or damage the skin even more, which could increase your risk of developing an infection there.
How To Prevent Nose Piercing Bumps
While there isn’t a lot you can do to stop the formation of keloids if you’re prone to developing them, there are some things you can do to try to protect your skin from developing other piercing bumps.
Be Picky About Your Piercer
One thing you can do is choose your piercer carefully. You need to find someone who uses great technique when he’s wielding the needle. The better the technique, the less chance of forming a bump.
While the price of a nose piercing will likely be more when using a highly experienced piercer, the extra cost will definitely be worth it in the long run.
Watch The Hygiene
Before you hire a piercer, ask him about his equipment and how he sterilizes it. You want him to use the safest sterilization methods available. That cuts down on your risk of infection.
If your skin is healthy because it isn’t infected, it will heal quicker. Skin that heals quicker may dodge some potential nose piercing bumps.
In addition to watching the hygiene your piercer practices, you need to pay attention to your own cleanliness too. Wash your hands every time before you touch your piercing. That will help keep bacteria out of your piercing wound.
Make sure you do your sea salt compresses to help encourage draining. You don’t want that fluid to build up and cause a bump.
Know Your History
If you have had your ears pierced in the past and you had reactions to a certain type of metal in your earrings, tell your piercer. If you’ve already had a reaction to nickel, for example, you need to avoid jewelry that uses that metal when you get your nose pierced.
Any material that reacted in your ear piercing will also react in your nose piercing. You need to speak up. Your piercer won’t be a mind reader. He’ll need to know about any concerns you have.
If you have a history of forming keloids or if you have a parent who has them, tell your piercer about that before having the procedure done. The risk of developing keloids can run in the family, so it may be a red flag that you might want to reconsider how badly you want this nose piercing.
If you don’t know of any family history regarding keloids, there are additional risk factors that make you more likely to develop them. People with darker skin are more prone to keloids. Pregnant women seem to be more at risk. Some kinds of medication also make keloids more likely.
People who know ahead of time that they are more at risk for getting keloids may want to start with a piercing that’s in a less conspicuous place than their nose. Then, based on that experience, they can determine from there if it’s worth the risk to pursue their nose piercing.
The majority of people who have their noses pierced don’t develop nose bumps, but they are a common complication of nose piercings. That’s why you need to be aware of them and know how to handle them if they do appear.
If you are one of the unlucky ones who ends up with nose bumps, you should take them seriously. But try not to stress out too much about how they look. Many times they are only a temporary problem and they’ll go away with treatment and time.