The Dreaded Bump

CAUTION: Some of the pictures in the following pages (Problem Piercings) are not pretty/may disturb. They are for educational purposes, as an example ONLY.
Please seek a piercers advice before diagnosing yourself.

There are several types of bumps your piercing can get. Each has a name and a particular way to look after it. Below is a small guide to help identify a bump your piercing has and how to treat it. Of course, if you are ever unsure, please seek a piercers advice. This is to be used as a reference and not a substitute for medical advice.


Hypertrophic Scar


  • Raised fleshing bump surrounding a piercing that stays within the bounds of the injury.
  • Usually pink or red in colour.
  • Not tender, may be itchy.
  • Tends to form during the healing period.
  • No pus or other drainage. 

This is one of the more common bumps that piercees can get. They tend to come up on most cartilage piercings. Often mistaken for an infection or keloid. The bump can go away with frequent saline soaks and refraining from anything that can cause the area more trauma (touching, getting snagged on clothing, sleeping on it etc).


  • Compression therapy. (Continuous pressure on a scar to flatten it.) Micropore breathable paper tape can be used. Using scissors cut of piece of the tape to cover the entire bump plus 1 or 2 millimeters of unaffected tissue. If you have a ring, simply cut a slit in the middle to cover around the jewelry. DO NOT COVER THE JEWELRY. Improvements should be seen in 2-3 months.
  • Frequent saline soaks or tea tree oil twice daily for 2-3 weeks. If no improvement in this time, then try the another method.



 "Localized Piercing Pimple"

  • Small, slightly elevated pus-filled bump or pimple adjacent to the piercing.
  • Red & inflamed, but localized.
  • May be tender, though some are painless.
  • Usually secretes pus and/or blood when drained.

Very common type of bump our piercees face. Sometimes a pustule will appear under the skin, near the piercing opening. It can be caused by trauma or a mild infection that remains localized. The pocket forms close to the surface and repeatedly fills and drains. Sometimes they are gone for good, other times they can cycle again every few weeks/months. 


  • Warm saline soaks or hot compress. Continue this for about 2 weeks after the bump has gone.
  • Light massage of the area may help break down the pocket and stop it coming back.
  • Taking an ibuprofen can help reduce swelling. Antihistamines if there is an itch.