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How to get rid of piercing bumps

What are they?

A Hypertrophic scar is a common side effect of an irritated piercing (it is not a sign of infection). They occur when the body produces excess collagen to the piercing, causing raised bump-like scarring.

What causes them?

  • Hypertrophic scars are most commonly caused from (but not limited to) one or more of the following:

  • Not downsizing your jewellery when needed.

  • Wearing jewellery that is not suitable for human implant.

  • Sleeping on the piercing;

  • Wearing make-up, moisturisers, perfumes and getting soaps on it;

  • Touching, twisting or moving the piercing in anyway; (contact is what causes most infections).

  • Changing jewellery too early or regularly.

  • Using the wrong solution to clean it or using cotton buds or cotton; (use kitchen towel only).

  • Swimming without covering the piercing with a waterproof plaster;

  • Constricting the piercing by wearing tight clothing, hats, headphones etc. on the piercing.

What should I do to get rid of it?

  • Wash hand thoroughly before any form of contact with the piercing. The body naturally produces a yellowy-whitey fluid called lymph that hardens to a crust, this is normal and should be soaked for 2-4 minutes and wiped 2 times per day but not more using sterile saline solution (Neilmed or H2Ocean) and kitchen towel.

  • It is very important to stop whatever it may be that is irritating the piercing, or the lump may reoccur and may not go at all.

  • Please only proceed with one of the following steps if the piercer advices you to do so.

  • Using Surgical Spirit (you can purchase this in most chemists or supermarkets).  Twist the end of a cotton bud and soak it with the surgical spirit (never dip cotton bud directly into the bottle, firstly tip a small amount of surgical spirit into an egg up or something similar to avoid cross-contamination). Dab it ONLY on the lump, NEVER on the jewellery or in the piercing. Do this twice per day after cleaning the piercing.

  • Silicone Disc – The piercer may have put one or two discs on either one or both sides of your piercing. Clean the piercing as normal twice per day as stated above and tissue dry the area afterwards. Takes around 2-4 weeks to work.

How long before it goes?

  • This depends on how long you have had it, and how your body heals. Everyone is different but please persevere with this cleaning regime. The scars can sometimes look red and flaky; this is a normal effect of using the surgical spirit. Although the lumps may look and feel worse to begin with, this is expected as it is a sign of the surgical spirit working. In most cases we expect the lumps to disappear within half the time they have been there. (for example – if you have had a lump for 2 weeks we expect it to go in 1 week.)

A note on downsizing and jewellery.

  • Downsizing - Once the swelling has subsided, it is vital to replace the original, longer jewelry with a shorter post to avoid catching or shifting the angle of the piercing. This varies on the piercing, your piercer should have given you an estimate if this is a necesasary step. Because this jewellery change often occurs during healing, it should be done by a qualified piercer.

  • Operations/ Scans - Contact your piercer for a non-metallic jewellery alternative if your metal jewellery must be temporarily removes (such as for a medical procedure).

  • Removal - Should you decide you no longer want the piercing, simply remove the jewellery (or have a professional piercer remove it) and continue cleaning the piercing until the hole closes. In most cases only a small mark will remain.

  • Infection - In the even an infection is suspected, quality jewellery or an inert alternative should be left in place to allow for drainage or the infection. Should the jewellery be removed, the surface cells can close up sealing the infection inside the piercing channel, resulting in an abscess. Until an infection is cleared up, keep the jewellery in!

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