Nose Piercing Bumps: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

  • Written By Dan Hunter on June 3, 2018
    Last Updated: October 17, 2020

The last thing you expect to see after getting your nose pierced is a weird-looking bump beginning to form. When you see a nose piercing bump develop, you’re understandably worried because that’s 100 percent not the look you were going for.

Not to worry, though. By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with everything you need to know in order to deal with your own little nose bump.


What Are Nose Piercing Bumps?

Below are the five main causes of bumps around the site of a nose piercing:

Pustule

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. Sometimes, they are caused by mild infections. Other times, they are caused by trauma, such as in your piercing being tugged at or pulled on.

Granuloma

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. On average, it takes about 6 weeks 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.

Granulomas form when tissue around the piercing keeps overgrowing, and are caused by trauma or the inflammatory response your body is producing to deal with the piercing wound, which it sees as an unwelcome intrusion.

Keloid

keloid is a fancy term for a scar. Though, it’s no ordinary scar – it’s like a scar on steroids. Keloids are really thick and are often quite noticeable. Unlike other forms of scaring, keloids can keep growing upwards and outwards through neighboring tissue, so it’s best to get them seen to as soon as possible if you’re concerned.

If you see a formation around your piercing site and you aren’t sure if it’s a keloid, schedule an appointment with your doctor or piercer. They’ll have seen enough keloids and temporary hypertrophic scarring to know the difference between the two.

Infection

Sometimes, bacteria can get in the wound and cause an infection, which in turn can cause a lump to form as the body tries to fight and force out the infection-causing bacteria.

Excessive Swelling

Sometimes, inflammation and swelling can cause a small bump to form around the area. If there isn’t an infection present then the bump shouldn’t take too long to go down.

When To Seek Medical Attention

Although you should expect at least minor amounts of redness and swelling aftercare getting a nose piercing, signs of a more serious problem can include:

  • Severe pain around the piercing site. This includes sharp pain, burning and throbbing
  • Uncomfortable or prolonged levels of tenderness around the area
  • Oozing pus/discharge or unpleasant smells coming from the piercing wound

If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, it’s recommended to get in touch with either your piercer or a medical professional as soon as possible for further advice.

It’s also important not to remove your jewelry in these instances. Once piercing jewelry is removed, a nose piercing hole can close up quickly, trapping potentially harmful bacteria inside the wound, possibly leading to severe infection.

How To Get Rid Of Nose Piercing Bumps

The first thing you need to do before coming up with a plan of attack is to decide what’s causing the bump in the first place. Once you’ve come to a conclusion, you can then begin your journey to becoming bump-free.

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.

If your infection is on the severe side, your doctor will usually prescribe a course of antibiotics to get things under control, whereas if it’s decided that the infection is only minor, then cleaning the area a few times a day with a salt water solution will usually clear things up.

It’s good to know that while an infection can be inconvenient, it’s usually easy to take care of if treated promptly.

Septum piercings can suffer from bumps too, although these are generally less visible

A Granuloma

Just because a granuloma forms, it doesn’t mean you have to live with it.

While some granulomas do go away on their own with time, this isn’t guaranteed, and you may have to visit a dermatologist to have these taken care of. Treatment methods include corticosteroid creams, freezing and light therapy.

A Pustule

While you do want your pustule to naturally 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.

A Keloid Bump

Keloid bumps can be extremely difficult to get rid of without external help from a dermatologist/surgeon.

As a result of keloids basically being clumps or scar tissue, they are very unlikely to go away on their own (although they can reduce slightly over time).

While surgery to remove the scar tissue is a common practice to remove keloid scars that have grown large and bulky, there are several other treatment options available such as retinoid cream, steroid injections, and silicone gel application.

Swelling/Irritation

Sometimes, a bump will form if the area is particularly irritated or swollen. If this is the case, the bump should slowly go down over the course of a week.

While this swelling is just the body’s way of dealing with damage caused by the piercing needle, you can try to speed up the healing process by trying out these home remedies:

Chamomile Compress

Chamomile contains great healing properties that can speed up the rate in which the skin surrounding your piercing heals.

  1. The most simple way of using chamomile is by buying it in a teabag.

  2. From here, simply soak it in a half-cup of lukewarm water for around five minutes.

  3. Once the water has drawn out the chamomile contents, use a cotton ball to soak some of it up and press it against the bump for 5-10 minutes.

Diluted Tea Tree Application

Like chamomile, tea tree has some great healing properties. Not only is it antiseptic and antimicrobial in nature, but it’s also great at soothing inflammation around the piercing.

Using a q-tip, dabbing a small amount of diluted tea tree onto your piercing bump can help to reduce any aggravation that’s occurring below the skin.

A word of warning though – tea tree can produce an adverse skin reaction in a small number of people, so before using it on your nose bump, you should always perform a patch test first by placing a small amount of diluted tea tree on your forearm and checking 24 hours later to ensure your skin didn’t react badly to the solution.

A well-healed nose piercing

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. They 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.

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.

What If The Bump Won’t Go Away?

If you’ve carefully managed to follow all of the advice within this article and your nose piercing is still not looking as you’d expect it to after a couple of weeks due to a bump around the tissue/jewelry, then it’s probably best to seek further medical/professional assistance.

You may initially wish to consult your original piercer to ask for their professional advice as they are more than likely to have seen these issues multiple times in the past.

Failing this, or if your situation significantly worsens, then it’s advisable to see a doctor as quickly as possible in case you’ve managed to contract a nasty infection.

Prevention

If you’ve 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. They’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 types 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.