Is It a Keloid or An Irritation Bump?

When it comes to piercings, one of the most commonly asked questions on social media is “what is this bump around my piercing?”. Since many people are unfamiliar with keloids and have only seen pictures on the internet, it’s absolutely understandable that this question comes up a lot. But if you know a few basics about both keloids and irritation bumps, you’ll have no problem discerning between the two if you ever find a bump on your piercing!

First of all, a keloid is a type of scar. The body responds to an injury (piercing) by producing too much collagen, leading to an overgrowth of fibrous tissue. They can start as raised scars that appear three months to a year after the piercing. The color of the scar can vary widely depending on your skin tone. Their growth rate can vary from slow to very fast, and they can become very large. They may feel soft and doughy or hard and rubbery. They may itch or hurt, which is part of why people might confuse them with an irritation bump.

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An irritation bump is a small bump, most frequently found on cartilage piercings. They can be caused by a direct injury, such as snagging your piercing on something, or if a piercing is done at an improper angle which causes the jewelry to press down harder on one side of the tissue. They may have a crusty appearance or ooze fluid. They may also itch or, if the bump was caused by an injury, hurt.

So here are ways to tell the difference between the two. A keloid may begin to extend past the immediate area around the piercing, while an irritation bump will be directly around the area of the piercing. An irritation bump will generally show up during the healing period (unless there is an injury to the piercing) while a keloid can take three months to a year to show up. This is well past the healing time for many piercings. Irritation bumps will stay roughly the same size while a keloid will increase in size. And finally, an irritation bump will tend to ooze and create crusties on the jewelry while a keloid will do neither.

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If you believe you have an irritation bump, your best bet is to pay a visit to your piercer. If you did snag your jewelry on something, they can help you heal the piercing. If the bump showed up for no apparent reason, you may have an issue with your piercing, and they can help you with that as well. If you have a keloid, it requires a doctor’s treatment. There are multiple treatment options for keloids, so you have a few choices for getting rid of it. Unfortunately, once you develop keloids, you are more prone to developing them in the future. This should put you off piercings entirely, but it is a risk that must be taken into consideration.

If your lovely new piercing has developed a bump, there’s no need to panic. With a little knowledge under your belt, you should be able to discern whether you’re looking at an irritation bump or a keloid. Either way, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your local APP piercer can definitely assist you with getting rid of that nasty bump or, if it is a keloid, they can let you know that it’s time to see your doctor. Either way, don’t panic – you can beat that bump!

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