Nose Piercing Bump: 6 Causes and How To Treat Them

Nose Piercing Bumps: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

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.

What Are Nose Piercing Bumps?

Nose piercings don’t have a great reputation for being fast healers. 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.

Occasionally, you may also see something else, something you hadn’t expected at all – a big swollen bump. Here are the most likely causes.

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.

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. On the contrary, some pustules aren’t painful at all, or they might just be itchy or cause a burning sensation.

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.

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.

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.

If they are small, they may be barely noticeable to anyone but you, but those larger ones can be a great source of embarrassment. They can make people feel self-conscious and unattractive.

Granulomas 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.

Keloid

keloid is a fancy term for a scar. Though, it’s no ordinary scar – it’s like a scar on steroids. It’s really thick and often quite noticeable. It forms around the piercing.

Why do some people form keloids on a nose piercing 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.

As with a granuloma, you can have a keloid removed by a dermatologist.

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.

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.

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 can be an annoyance having to clean your piercing several times a day 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 the bump will quickly disappear.

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

Sometimes the situation with pustules comes 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, just keep fighting them as best as you can by keeping them drained.

Keloids and granulomas, however, aren’t as easy to knock out.

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.

While home treatments & natural remedies for keloids are usually quite hit and miss when it comes to desired results, there are a couple to try if you’re willing to give them a go before seeking further assistance.

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.

Common Causes

There isn’t one simple cause that is responsible for these three types of issues. It can be a variety of things. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the causes of nose ring bumps so you can cut down on the risk as much as possible.

Undesirable Piercing Technique

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.

The technique matters a great deal because of the unsatisfactory outcomes it can produce when it’s poorly executed.

You should never use a piercer who says they want to use an ear piercing styled 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.

There are, however, special nose piercing guns available that ‘push’ the needle through the skin instead of ‘firing’ it through. These guns are considered safe to use without cause preventable damage. If your piercer uses a gun, ask which type.

Poor Aftercare

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 getting a bump on a nose piercing.

Sadly, not everybody follows the aftercare instructions they’re given. Instead, they listen to word of mouth from their friends who know less about this kind of thing than the experts.

6 Important Nose Piercing Aftercare Steps You Must Ensure You Take:

You should stick with plain old sea salt and water when you clean your nose piercing (either home-made or store-bought).

Using a simple salt water solution or specialized piercing aftercare product to cleanse the area with a couple of times a day is the best way to keep your piercing clean while also helping to fend off any harmful bacteria.

The best aftercare product I’ve personally used is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan-friendly, but it’s also completely alcohol and additive-free. The solution works well on all skin types including sensitive skin, and it comes in a generously-sized mist-spraying bottle for easy application. When using it from the very start of the healing process, the spray helps to decrease healing times and aims to eliminate any lingering pain or soreness.

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.

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.

Dirty hands can be harboring all types of bacteria. Those bacteria can cause nasty nose piercing infections, and these infections can lead to various forms of unsightly bumps next to your nose piercing, on your piercing, or even inside the flesh.

Allergic Reactions

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 producing additional tissue growth if the area is in a constant state of irritation.

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 an affordable option if you’re on a strict budget.

Trauma

Due to your nose piercing being 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. For this reason, it’s important to be as gentle and as careful as you can with your new piercing.

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 – 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. 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.