Nose Piercing Scars: Causes & Treatment
Sometimes piercings leave scars and sometimes they don’t. Nose piercings are one of those piercings that are prone to scar formation simply because they go through cartilage. Cartilage tissue is more likely to form scar tissue compared to other areas.
If you notice you’re developing a nose piercing scar, this detailed guide can help you understand why it’s happening, and advise exactly what you can do about it.
What Causes Nose Piercing Scars?
Nose piercing scars are often caused by infections or allergic reactions that irritate the site of your piercing. Under healthy conditions, your body typically won’t create scar tissue around the nose piercing.
If you are prone to hypertrophic or keloid scarring, the scar may form as a bump around the nose piercing hole.
Any injury to the skin can leave a scar, and piercings themselves are a type of wound. If you want to remove your nose piercing and let it heal back together, you may have a small flat scar left where the piercing was.
Remember that scars on piercings are caused by the same thing that any scar is – trauma. Thus, anything you do to cause trauma to the area can increase your risk of scarring.
That includes cleaning the piercing too much, to the point of irritation, or constantly taking out and putting back in the jewelry, especially if you’re still in the healing period. Nose piercing jewelry should be kept in until the piercing is fully healed, which can take a few months.
How To Get Rid Of Nose Piercing Scars
Getting rid of your nose piercing scar depends on what type of scarring you have:
Common scars are flat and slightly different from your normal flesh color. These scars can be long-lasting, but they do typically fade over time. Common scars are the kind you usually have left after removing a nose piercing and letting the hole grow back.
Getting rid of these nose piercing scars involves waiting for the scar to fade over time. Still, you can speed up the process by using lotions or oils and massaging the area where the scar is. You can also help the scar to fade faster by applying a topical silicone scar treatment and keeping it out of the sun.
Keloid scars form from an excess of scar tissue, and they can form around your piercing even while the jewelry is still in place. They look like a bump that grows around the injured tissue. Unfortunately, keloid scars are permanent and usually won’t fade much with time.
You’ll have to see a doctor, typically a dermatologist, to get a keloid scar treated. Treatment options include surgery or corticosteroid injections to shrink the scar. Your doctor may also give you a topical cream to prevent the keloid from growing back.
Hypertrophic scars also look like bumps, similar to keloid scars. Contrarily, hypertrophic scarring is fortunately not permanent and will usually fade as your piercing heals. They usually form early on after getting a nose piercing. Just follow good aftercare by keeping your piercing clean and avoiding moving the jewelry a lot, and your hypertrophic scar should go away.
Will Nose Piercing Scars Cause Long-Term Damage?
In general, nose piercing scars are not a cause for concern in the long-term. Yes, they may take a long time to go away, and you may always be able to see the place where your scar is. However, the biggest concern is if you have a bump that continues to cause irritation or pain around your nose piercing.
Scars that are bumps may increase your chance of infection in the piercing too, especially if they get caught on something and ripped open. However, most nose piercing infections clear up quickly with proper care and hygiene.
It should be known that a severe infection can spread throughout the nose tissue and cause severe damage to the cartilage and surrounding areas. At the very least, it will cause the piercing to take longer than normal to heal.
That’s why it’s important to treat raised scars. You don’t need to remove your jewelry for hypertrophic scars, but you may want to ask your piercer to place a larger piece of jewelry so you have room for the jewelry not to be too tight on the scar until it goes away.
If you’re susceptible to keloid scars, unfortunately, you may have to remove your jewelry and have the scar removed through medical treatment. Adding larger jewelry or doing anything to increase tension will only increase the risk of a keloid forming.
How To Prevent Nose Piercing Scars
Preventing nose piercing scars from forming in the first place is about having the right information for taking care of a new piercing. Keep your hands off the piercing and try not to touch it unless necessary even when you are cleaning it.
Some places suggest twisting the jewelry in a new piercing during the healing process, but this is actually the wrong advice. You should not twist or tug at your jewelry. Moving the jewelry around actually increases irritation and the chance for scarring. It also increases your risk of infection because you are touching open wounds.
You can also prevent scarring by simply keeping your piercing and the jewelry clean. Rinse or soak your nose with saline or sea salt solution twice a day throughout the healing period, and use a gentle skin cleanser just on the jewelry during your shower.
Avoid using harsh disinfectants like alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on your nose piercing. These products dry out the healthy skin cells and increase irritation around your piercing. Any irritation can increase damage and the possibility of scars.
Instead, ensure you use either home-made salt water (saline) solution or a specific piercing aftercare spray so you can gently cleanse the area without causing any further damage.
The best aftercare product I’ve personally used is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan, 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.
The nose is one of the most popular areas to get pierced, but nobody wants to deal with scars in this highly visible area. You can try to prevent nose piercing scars by using saline to gently clean the area while it heals, and don’t move your jewelry around any more than is absolutely necessary. Increased irritation and trauma increase the risk of an abnormal scar to form.
Treating a nose piercing scar depends on the type you get. Most fade well with good hygiene and topical scar gel or cream, but keloids will need treatment by a dermatologist.