Nose Piercing Bumps: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

  • Written By Dan Hunter on May 29, 2023
    Last Updated: May 29, 2023

The last thing you expect to see after getting your nose pierced is a strange-looking bump beginning to form. When you see a nose piercing bump develop, worry can understandably set in.

Try not to worry too much, as a nose piercing bump doesn’t have to remain a permanent fixture on your face. By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with everything you need to know to deal this issue head-on.


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, the’re caused by mild infections. Other times, they are caused by trauma, such as slight knocks or tugs.

Granuloma

The timetable of when your piercing was done can help determine if you’re dealing with a granuloma, as yhey won’t appear immediately after the procedure. On average, it takes about six 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 of millimeters or as large as a couple of centimeters.

Granulomas form when healing tissue composed of blood vessels around the piercing site overgrows, 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 an overgrown scar. Though it’s no ordinary scar – it’s like a scar on steroids. Keloids are thick and 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 evaluated by a Board Certified Dermatologist as soon as possible if you’re concerned.

If you see a formation around your piercing site and 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 can proceed to cause a lump to form as the body tries to fight and force the infection-causing bacteria out of the body.

Excessive Swelling

Sometimes, inflammation and swelling can cause a small bump to form around the area. If there isn’t an infection present, 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 after getting a nose piercing, signs of a more serious problem can include the following:

  • 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 contact 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 and leading to 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 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

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, silver nitrate application, and light therapy.

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

A Pustule

While you do want your pustule to drain naturally, 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, but it can lead to an infection.

If your pustule won’t drain on its own or with a warm water saline compress 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 eliminate without external help from a dermatologist.

As keloids are essentially clumps of scar tissue, they are very unlikely to go away on their own (although they can shrink slightly over time).

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

Swelling and 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 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 at which the skin surrounding your piercing heals.

  1. The simplest way to use chamomile is by buying it in a tea bag.
  2. Simply soak the tea bag 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 great healing properties. Not only is it antiseptic and antimicrobial in nature, but it’s also great at soothing inflammation around the piercing.

Use a q-tip to dab a small amount of diluted tea tree onto your piercing bump to help 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. Before using it on your nose bump, perform a patch test by placing a small amount of diluted tea tree on your forearm and checking it 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. Continue with 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, they might come back in some cases.

As you wait for your treatment, don’t pick at the keloid. You could cause additional scarring or damage the skin even more, increasing your risk of developing an infection.

What If the Bump Won’t Go Away?

If you’ve carefully followed the advice in this article and your nose piercing is still not looking as you’d expect it to after a couple of weeks, it’s probably best to seek further assistance.

You may initially wish to consult your original piercer to ask for their advice, as they are more than likely to have seen issues like this multiple times previously.

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

Prevention

Tell your piercer if you’ve had your ears pierced in the past and you had reactions to a certain type of metal in your jewelry. If you’ve already reacted nickel, for example, you should avoid jewelry that uses that metal when getting your nose pierced.

If you have a history of forming keloids or a parent who has them, tell your piercer before the procedure is done. The risk of developing keloids can run in the family.

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 keloid formations. Pregnant women also seem to be more at risk.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Still Wear Makeup With a Nose Piercing Bump?

Yes, you can still wear makeup with a nose piercing bump. However, it’s crucial to take a few precautions to prevent further irritation or infection. Ensure that your makeup products are non-comedogenic, which means they won’t clog your pores. Avoid applying makeup directly on the bump or piercing. If makeup must be applied in that area, it should be done gently and carefully. Cleaning the area thoroughly after makeup removal is also essential.

Can I Still Change My Nose Piercing Jewelry If I Have a Bump?

It is not recommended to change your nose piercing jewelry if you have a bump. Changing the jewelry can irritate the bump further and potentially lead to infection. It’s best to wait until the bump has fully healed before attempting to change the jewelry. If you suspect that your jewelry may be causing the bump, it’s best to consult with a professional piercer or a medical professional to discuss the best course of action.

Can I Swim with a Nose Piercing Bump?

Swimming with a nose piercing bump is not advised. Both chlorine in swimming pools and bacteria in natural bodies of water can potentially irritate the bump, delaying the healing process or even causing an infection. If you must swim, consider using a waterproof, breathable bandage to cover the piercing. Always clean the area thoroughly after swimming. Consult a healthcare professional if you notice any signs of infection.

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