The Difference Between Bumps and Keloid

While getting pierced can be new and exciting, and undoubtedly the coolest thing to happen to you in the past decade, the infections, bumps, and keloids are less fun to deal with. Especially when you don’t know what it is.

The skin can change where there are piercings. These changes don’t necessarily indicate a problem. For example, pierced lumps are insignificant and may go away over time. However, keloid scars still have the potential to grow bigger.

Although keloid scars and piercing bumps can first look the same, there are ways to distinguish between them.


What is a Piercing Bump?

Small lumps, known as piercing bumps, may develop following a piercing. They frequently happen after cartilage piercings like higher ear or nose piercings.

Piercing bumps develop when the body’s immune system reacts to the wound and starts healing. The bump is brought on by the irritation that results from this reaction.

In the first few weeks following a piercing, a person could experience bleeding, bruising, and swelling. All of these symptoms are typical.

A bump is a brief swelling that can feel tender and painful when touched. Piercing bumps appear when the body’s immune system responds to the wound and begins healing. The irritation that follows this response causes the bump.

If the skin around the piercing is very red or black, a lump may occasionally indicate that it is infected (depending on your skin tone). Ciraldo adds that an infected bump may also ooze pus or blood and form a yellow or honey crust.

What is a Keloid?

A raised scar that results from skin damage or injury is known as a keloid. This kind of scar can sometimes appear after getting pierced.

Keloid development is the outcome of an abundance of fibrous tissue. A keloid results when the skin’s fibroblasts, or cells that resemble fibroblasts, produce excessive amounts of collagen in response to damage.

After the initial trauma, keloids might take three to twelve months to form. They typically appear as raised scars that may initially be pink, red, purple, or brown but later darken. The appearance of the keloid can vary depending on its location and the person’s skin tone.

Due to incorrect wound healing, this permanent scar is stiff and rubbery. In contrast to a conventional scar, a keloid expands past the area of the initial injury and eventually outgrows the original incision—in this case, the hole from the piercing—in size.

All kinds of Piercing and Bumps

Possible causes of a raised region around the piercing include:

  • Tissue damage can occur if the piercing is knocked out of place, 
  • Removed too soon or infected if the area is not clean or sanitary. 
  • An allergic reaction to the jewelry can also cause a lump or bump, 
  • Keloid scarring, or granulomas, are areas of inflamed tissue that typically appear as a raised, reddish spot.

Causes of Keloid

The majority of skin injuries have the potential to cause keloid scarring. These comprise immunisation centres.

Chicken pox scars

Ear piercing wounds

Locations of surgical incisions

Acne burns scars

Keloid scarring affects 10 percent of persons, according to estimates. Keloid scars are equally common in both men and women. Keloids are more likely to develop in people with darker skin tones. Since keloids frequently have a genetic component, having one or both of your parents with keloids increases your risk of developing them.

Symptoms of Keloid

The following are examples of keloid symptoms:

  • An isolated spot of flesh, pink, or red color
  • A raised, lumpy, or ridged area of skin that usually has scar tissue
  • An area that enlarges over time and is irritating.

Treatment of Keloid

Keloids can be treated in several ways. The type and size of the keloid are two parameters that may affect the best course of treatment. Options for treatment include:

Cryotherapy: This procedure is suitable for minor keloids. It involves freezing the keloid to soften and shrink it. Darker skin types shouldn’t use cryotherapy since it could cause changes in skin pigmentation.

Corticosteroids: This class of medication can aid in keloid reduction. According to the AAD, people typically need four injections, one every three to four weeks. In addition, they claim that 50 to 80 percent of keloids diminish after corticosteroid injection.

Surgery: A professional may surgically remove the keloid. However, keloids might recur even after surgical removal.

Treatment for Piercing Bumps

The body’s natural healing process typically brings piercing bumps following an injury. However, steps can be taken to keep the area clean, prevent infection, and allow the piercing to heal. These include:

  • Maintaining the jewelry in the piercing for a minimum of six weeks without changing it or taking it out
  • When washing your hands before touching the piercing, clean the piercing with saline solution or mild soap and water once daily.
  • Pat the area dry with a clean cotton pad after a bath or shower, and avoid using a towel because this can spread bacteria.


A keloid is permanent, unlike a piercing lump that frequently disappears after six weeks. The sole exception is a piercing bump brought on by an infection, which will only deteriorate over time. Visit a doctor if you’re unsure, especially if the lump grows quickly or oozes pus or blood. This will reduce the likelihood of long-term harmful consequences and post-piercing complications.

Several skin conditions, including keloids and piercing pimples, can appear after a piercing. While keloids emerge gradually and have the potential to grow, piercing bumps often appear sooner and do not.

A doctor or dermatologist may advise the best treatment course for keloids. Anyone who suspects they have a keloid or another condition that might be the cause of a lump should see a doctor.

Dorothy R. Ferry

Coffee trailblazer. Unapologetic student. Freelance communicator. Travel nerd. Music fan. Spoke at an international conference about donating magma for farmers. Had some great experience promoting saliva on the black market. Spent 2002-2009 lecturing about basketballs in Pensacola, FL. In 2009 I was writing about Magic 8-Balls in Miami, FL. Earned praised for my work importing crayon art in Hanford, CA. At the moment I'm managing sausage in West Palm Beach, FL.

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