Keloids VS Piercing Bumps- What Sets Them Apart?

Are you baffled by the raised skin issues that can sometimes occur after body modifications like piercings or tattoos? Understanding the disparities between Piercing Bump vs Keloid bumps is crucial for proper care and management.

Keloids and piercing bumps are two distinct skin conditions that can arise in response to body modification procedures.

Key Takeaways

  • Keloids and piercing bumps are both skin conditions related to body modifications..
  • Keloids are raised, overgrown scar tissues, while piercing bumps can develop around body piercings..
  • Proper aftercare and hygiene are essential to prevent these issues..
  • Seek professional advice if you experience complications with body modifications…

Keloids are excessive scar tissues that often extend beyond the original wound while piercing bumps can develop around jewelry inserted into a piercing site.

Recognizing these differences is vital, as they require different approaches for treatment and prevention.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the unique characteristics, causes, and treatment options for both keloids and piercing bumps.

By the end, you’ll be well-equipped to identify and manage these skin issues effectively, ensuring a smoother journey through the world of body modifications.

Discovering a lump, irrespective of the nature of the piercing might be alarming.

This is quite reasonable, particularly if you’re new to piercings. We’ve explained the distinctions between piercing bumps and keloids, as well as what to do about each, below to assist you.

Piercing Bump

First and foremost, the word “piercing bump” is not a medical term. It’s a colloquial term for what occurs when you have a puncture wound. On the other side, a penetrating bump might have several reasons.

A bump is most usually a typical reaction to physical stress. After all, piercings cause skin damage, triggering the body’s natural healing reaction.

Bump is simply a type of short-term swelling that might feel uneasy and unpleasant when touched.

Ciraldo adds that an infected bump may also discharge pus or blood and acquire a yellow/honey-colored crust.

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Piercing Bumps

Credit: obsidiananomalypiercing

Types of Piercing Bumps

There are several different types of piercing bumps that could appear, including:

Hypertrophic Scars: These enlarged, crimson lumps may hurt or itch. They might develop close to the piercing site and are brought on by an abundance of scar tissue.

Hypertrophic scars do not cross the original boundary of the wound. They do not have any genetic predisposition.

Hypertrophic scars can be caused by trauma or inflammation and are more common in cartilage piercings.

Keloids: Keloids are more severe and larger than hypertrophic scars. They can spread past the original piercing site and are brought on by an overabundance of collagen in the skin.

People with darker skin types tend to experience keloids more frequently, which can itch or sting.

Granulomas: Tiny, red bumps known as granulomas may develop at the piercing site. They typically occur from an inflammatory response to the jewelry and frequently contain pus or other fluids. contain the immune cells meant to fight against the foreign particles.

Abscesses: Around a piercing, pus-filled pocket spots can form. Infection-related symptoms like pain, swelling, slight warmth and redness may also accompany them.

Follicular Cysts: Because the hair follicles are blocked, follicular cysts may develop close to the piercing site. The majority of the time, they are tiny, harmless lumps that sporadically contain fluid or a white material.

It is important to remember that these kinds of piercing pimples have a variety of causes and potential treatments.

If you are unsure about the type of piercing bump you have or how to treat it, it is crucial to seek medical guidance from a healthcare professional.

Various Piercing Bump Causes

There are numerous reasons why piercing bumps may develop, including:

Irritation: It is one of the most frequent reasons for piercing bumps. This can happen if you wear cheap jewelry, switch it out too frequently, or need to clean the piercing properly.

The body overproduces scar tissue in response to stimulation at the piercing site, which may cause a bump.

Infection: If proper hygiene is not maintained, piercings may become infected. An infected piercing will display redness, swelling, pain, and drainage.

A lump may develop on the surface of an infected piercing if it is not treated.

Allergic reactions: The metal used in jewelry may cause allergic responses in some people, mainly if it contains nickel. This may result in the development of a lump and an itchy, red rash around the piercing site.

Stress: The body may build too much scar tissue as a result of piercing site stress, such as pulling or snagging the jewelry, leading to the development of a bump.

Inadequate technique: The likelihood of piercing bumps increases if a skilled and qualified practitioner does not perform the piercing.

Genetics: Due to hereditary causes, certain persons may be inclined to grow piercing pimples.

Your piercing should be well cared for, and you should watch out for any infections or symptoms of irritation.

You should visit acertified dermatologist right away if you experience any disturbing symptoms, including piercing bumps.

piercing pimples

Credit: mastilostudios_bodypiercing

What to Do to Avoid Piercing Bump?

To prevent piercing bumps from developing, you can do the following:

Choose high-quality jewelry: Make sure the jewelry you choose is composed of high-quality components, such as titanium or surgical steel.

Jewelry made of nickel should not be worn as it may trigger an allergic reaction.

Avoid switching out your jewelry too frequently:  Wait until your piercing has fully healed before switching out your jewelry.

The piercing site may become irritated and more likely to develop a bump if the jewelry is changed too quickly.

Become hygienic: Practice proper hygiene by washing the piercing site with a saline solution or mild soap twice a day.

To avoid handling the piercing with dirty hands, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands before touching it.

Avoid trauma: Take care not to catch or tug on the jewelry, and stay away from sleeping on the affected side.

Observe aftercare instructions: Observe the aftercare instructions provided by your piercer. This can entail staying out of the water or avoiding other activities that might irritate or expose the piercing to germs.

Think about your setting: It’s possible that some body parts, including cartilage piercings, are more prone to producing bumps.

Think about the location of your piercing and whether it is more prone to having lumps.

Seek expert help: Make sure the individual who does your piercing is qualified, makes use of sterile equipment, and follows correct hygiene guidelines.

Keep in mind that the best course of action for treating a piercing lump is to seek medical guidance from a healthcare provider.

cartilage piercings,

Credit: zack.piercings.vimana


A keloid is a somewhat less frequent but more dangerous sort of lump. This is a persistently tough and stretchy scar created by the aberrant wound healing.

A keloid is different from a regular scar, grows beyond the initial region of harm, making it larger than the wound—in this example, a piercing hole.

Furthermore, because keloids can grow indefinitely, they can develop to be quite large.

To keep things in context, keloids contain three times the amount of elastin (a protein that provides the skin texture) as hypertrophic scars or thick elevated scars.

They also comprise 20 times the quantity of collagen seen in normal skin tissue. Excess collagen builds up in the piercing area, causing the skin to expand.

Itching, burning, and discomfort are all potential keloid signs.

If you’ve had a darker complexion, you may be more prone to the keloids. The same is true if you have an individual or familial history of the keloid development.

Keloids bumps

Credit: picturesoflily11

Reasons for keloids

Keloids are believed to be caused by an overabundance of collagen, the protein that makes up the body’s connective tissue, even if the exact reason is unknown.

Keloids can develop as a result of any skin damage, such as burns, acne, chicken pox, and piercings.

However, some people have a higher genetic propensity to develop keloids, and certain risk factors, such as the ones listed below, can increase the likelihood of developing keloids

  • History of keloids in the family
  • higher skin tone
  • being younger than 30 years old
  • having a child
  • having a condition like thyroid illness or diabetes or having other health issues

As a result of increased strain or stress on the skin, such as at the site of an earlobe piercing or after surgery in a high-tension area of the body like the shoulder or back, keloids can also form.

Keloids do not always arise in people who experience these risk factors; they can also develop in those who do not have any recognized risk factors. It’s crucial to remember this.

Factors Linked to a Higher Risk of Keloids

Several factors can increase your risk of developing keloids, including:

Family history: If you have a history of keloids, you may be more likely to develop them.

Complexion tone: People with darker complexion, such as those of African, Asian, or Hispanic heritage, have a higher risk of developing keloids.

Age: Keloid instances are most common in those under the age of 30, and younger people are more prone to experience them.

Gender: Males are less likely than females to get keloids.

Location of the wound: Keloids are more prone to form on areas of the body where the skin is more stressed, such as the shoulders, chest, earlobes, back, or upper arms.

Type of injury: Any skin damage, including burns, surgeries, acne, chickenpox, and body piercings, can result in keloids.

Hormonal changes: A woman may see an increase in keloids while she is pregnant or taking hormonal medication.

Medical conditions: Keloid risk is increased by thyroid dysfunction and diabetes, respectively.

It is significant to note that not everyone with these risk factors develops keloids, and keloids can occur in people without any recognized risk factors.

How To Identify Whether It Is a Scar or Keloid?

If you’re not certain whether you have a piercing bump or a keloid, consider the following three factors: how often it persists, its location on the skin, and how far it expands.


A piercing bump is a transient swollen region. To place it in an alternative way, it is not going to last forever.

Rather, it would shrink week by week until vanishing (or becoming practically invisible) after six weeks.

A keloid, on the contrary, is a persistent bump. It may continue to expand for weeks, months, or years, and this might change gradually or fast.


The lesions are also placed differently in relation to the surface of your skin. While a piercing bump lies beneath the surface of your skin, this will only grow more visible when the region is handled.

However, she points out, keloid forms in front of the skin’s surface, making it plainly visible and felt.


Lastly, the “span” of a piercing bump vs. a keloid differs greatly. A piercing bump is usually restricted to the piercing’s real opening; it may even appear as a little flesh-colored ball beneath the earring.

A keloid, on the other hand, will most likely expand further than the piercing site as it grows.

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Risk elements

Anyone who has a piercing can get piercing bumps. Still, individuals with darker skin tones, those who have previously experienced keloids, and those who have scarring of any type are more likely to develop keloids.

Treatment Response

While keloids can be more challenging to treat and may require more harsh treatments, including corticosteroid injections, laser therapy, or surgical removal, piercing bumps typically respond nicely to primary wound care.

 piercing bumps

Credit: promdawg

Symptoms and Appearance

Symptoms and physical manifestations of piercing bumps and keloids can vary.

Uncomfortable piercings

Lumps on the skin around the piercing site that are small, elevated, red, or pink.

  • It might itch or hurt.
  • A discharge may likely occur.
  • They frequently occur quickly after obtaining a piercing.
  • This ailment could persist for a number of weeks or months.
  • They typically react favorably to appropriate wound treatment.


  • Scars that go beyond the confines of the initial cut or injury and are more extensive, thicker, and elevated.
  • It feels rubbery and solid to the touch.
  • There may be discomfort or itching.
  • It’s feasible that it will keep getting more prominent in the future.
  • This may occur months after the operation or injury.
  • They can happen everywhere on the body, but high-tension locations are where they occur most frequently.
  • Keloids are more likely to form in those with darker skin tones, keloids in the past, or those who have a family history of the condition.

It’s important to remember that hypertrophic scars, which are thick, elevated scars as well but do not go beyond the confines of the initial lesion or incision, could be mistaken for keloids.

On the other hand, keloids and hypertrophic scars, which form after an accident or surgery, can be irritating or unpleasant.

If you are unsure about the kind of scar you are experiencing, seek advice from a dermatologist or other healthcare professional.

Patterns of Duration and Growth

Keloids and piercing bumps can grow in different ways and for various lengths of time:

Piercing Bump

  • Usually, it takes place soon after receiving a piercing.
  • This can continue for a few weeks or months.
  • Usually, it gets better with the proper wound care.


  • The healing process from an operation or damage might take several months.
  • It’s feasible that it will keep getting bigger in the future.
  • This could take place months or even years after the initial damage or operation.
  • Growth might continue slowly and continuously, or it can stop after a given amount of time.
  • After medical intervention or surgical removal, recurrence is possible.

Remembering that not all raised wound or injury scars are keloids is crucial.

The hypertrophic scar, which does not entirely cover the location of the original cut or wound and typically improves over time, is another high scar that can form after surgery or an injury.

Consult a dermatologist or other medical expert if you are unsure of the type of scar you are experiencing.

Patterns of Duration and Growth

Credit: nopull.piercing

Piercing Bump Treatment

If you have a piercing bump that isn’t infected, follow the regular aftercare instructions. This typically involves saline cleansing and letting the piercing rest as much as appropriate.

Also, if your piercer gave you any directions, try to follow them.

Based on the piercer and the location of your piercing, the exact process may vary.

If the lump aches or forms a crust, It is recommended to do proper dressing and keep it clean

What if things got worse? The lump might be a sign of infection. See a specialist as you may require prescribed oral antibiotics.

Keloid Treatment

Although keloids might be challenging to prevent, there are some measures you can take:

  • Avoid getting tattoos or getting unnecessary piercings on your skin.
  • Treat acne and other skin disorders as soon as possible to lessen scarring.
  • After an injury or surgery, scarring can be minimized with the use of proper wound care measures, such as keeping the wound clean and covered.
  • Avoid placing healed wounds in the sun’s direct rays or tanning beds because these activities might worsen scarring.
  • Avoid wearing tight or constrictive clothing or jewelry in regions prone to keloids.

You might be able to have the following treatments if you do get a keloid:

Corticosteroid injections: These injections can aid in reducing swelling and the size of the keloid.

Surgery: In some cases, removing the keloid surgically may be an option, but there is a chance that it will spread or come back.

Laser Therapy: High-energy light is used in laser therapy to dissolve scar tissue and encourage the development of healthy skin cells.

Cryotherapy: This method freezes keloid tissue to death, which causes new, healthy skin cells to grow in its place.

Pressure Therapy: Pressure therapy can assist in flattening and shrinking keloid growth by applying pressure to the development with the aid of a specific dressing or compression device.

It’s critical to keep in mind that keloid therapy can be challenging and that no single approach will work for all individuals.

It is essential to discuss treatment options with a healthcare professional in order to determine the best course of action for your particular circumstance.

keloid therapy

Credit: dr.umemazubair

Injections of cortisone

“Regular cortisone injections of varied doses should be used to help straighten them. In-office cortisone shots are modified depending on the thickness and size of the keloid.

Injections of cortisone

Credit: cathyvalenciaskinclinic

Soak In Sea Salt

In general, you should pay attention to your piercer’s instructions to avoid any problems.

Sea salt soaks, which any professional piercer would recommend, are designed to drain out any pus and blood, releasing pressure and assisting recovery. They also have a calming effect.

Wash the region at least two times a day with a piercer-advised seawater solution, which is non-scented, antibacterial, and dye-free.

If you adhere to that easy procedure, you’ll have a better chance of curing the illness without creating more aggravation.

Silicone Sheets/Gel

Silicone is a crucial gel to employ, according to experts. “Wrap the lesion and skin surrounding it with silicone gel or sheets for at least 24 hours.

Once the scar has cured, gentle massage gives a minor advantage. “As bodily pressure wraps or clothing can assist limit motion in movable regions, minimize movement tugging or strain to the area.”

The silicone sheets can also be put on scars that have recovered.

Laser Removal

Laser removal methods can be utilized as directed by your physician if a keloid has formed.

Three “In hypertrophy (thickened) scars and keloids, pulse dye and long-pulsed Nd: YAG lasers decrease aberrant signals to stop the growth of keloidal cells.

Treatments, vascular lasers, partial resurfacing lasers, and laser-assisted administration of 5-fluorouracil/corticosteroids can all help to decrease deep or large nodules.

Debulking operations or even radiation may be required in difficult or acute situations.

Even if the keloid is debulked through surgery, all of the aforementioned therapies must be continued to keep the keloid at bay or under control.

growth of keloidal cells.

Credit: hello.perfect_

When To Get Help?

It’s a smart idea to keep an eye on your skin after receiving a piercing of any sort.

If the region develops pigmentation (red or darker skin), swelling, discomfort, or scabbing, you should consult a dermatologist very once.

If you have a harmless lump that has persisted for more than six weeks, the same applies. It’s possible that the bulge is a keloid, which is simpler to treat and manage if caught early.

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nopull piercing

Credit: piercings_jd

How Can I Prevent Them?

Keloids are difficult to remove. If you’re susceptible to them, take these techniques to lower your chances of getting a new one:

To avoid a keloid, you must act soon if the skin surrounding a piercing begins to thicken. Talk with your doctor about using a tension earring after you remove your earring.

Don’t hold your ears unless you’ve had an ear keloid.

If somebody in your family has keloids, get a test done by your dermatologist in a private place before getting any piercings, tattoos, or cosmetic surgery.

If you realize you have keloids and need treatment, make sure your surgeon is aware. Your surgeon would what should use to treat keloids.

Any new piercings or wounds should be treated with extreme caution. Scarring can be reduced by cleansing the pierced area daily.

When you are injured or wounded, use a silicone patch or gel.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Necessary for Me to Burst My Keloid?

Please don’t do that. Unlike a pimple, the bump has no way of efficiently popping out. In fact, causing another wound near the new piercing increases the risk of infection.

Specialists, fortunately, recommend a variety of treatment options for keloid scarring, namely non-invasive surgeries to correct the scar.

Sadly, even with surgery, the keloid has a chance of returning. It is recommended to treat the hump with low-dose steroid injections to reduce the area’s oversupply of collagen.

Finally, some people try do-it-yourself, at-home therapies such as putting honey or vinegar on the keloid in the hopes of biologically exfoliating the bump.

They aren’t as powerful as surgery or injections, so keep that in mind.

What Happens If My Scar Isn’t Cleared?

While keloids and hypertrophic scars do not represent any immediate health risks, they can be bothersome.

The enlarged scars might impede your range of motion if they arise in a region where mobility is essential. At last, the option is yours to make.

Is Pus Coming Out of My Piercing Normal?

During the healing phase of a piercing, white or clear discharge – lymph fluid — is completely normal. Only seek medical attention if it appears yellow or green: This is most certainly an infection that needs to be looked at.

Vivienne Saoki

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