A range of different things can cause a nose piercing bump, including infections and allergic reactions.
There are several easy ways to reduce the swelling and allow a piercing to heal, which should help make the bump disappear.
What causes a nose piercing bump?
If the nose piercing has been done with hygienic equipment and aftercare guidelines have been followed, the piercing should heal properly.
A raised area around the piercing may be caused by:
- tissue damage — if the piercing gets knocked or is removed too early
- infection — if the piercing is done in unsanitary conditions or is not kept clean
- an allergic reaction to the jewelry
- trapped fluid creating a lump or bump
- a keloid, which is a type of raised scar
- a granuloma, which is inflamed tissue that usually appears as a raised, reddish spot
Keloids are relatively uncommon and should be diagnosed and treated by a doctor or dermatologist.
A keloid around a piercing will appear as a round, raised bump that is darker than the surrounding skin. It may cause pain, itching, or tenderness and will feel firm to the touch.
A granuloma can form as the body’s immune system tries to fight off something it thinks may harm the body. Usually, this is bacteria or a virus that could cause an infection, but it can also be a reaction to the jewelry itself.
If a person has their nose pierced under hygienic conditions and follows proper aftercare recommendations, it should heal without a bump. A nose piercing can take 4 to 6 months to heal and will need to be cleaned regularly during this period.
Five ways to get rid of a nose piercing bump
Tea tree oil may be used for treating nose piercing bumps.
The best way to get rid of a nose piercing bump depends on what caused it. Read on to learn about some home remedies that can help.
Use proper aftercare
Proper aftercare should prevent damage to tissue or an infection that could cause a bump. The piercer should advise on how to look after a piercing, which usually involves cleaning it regularly.
Tips for caring for a nose piercing include:
- cleaning the area with a saline solution twice a day
- not removing jewelry before a nose piercing has healed, which can take 4–6 months
- avoiding moving jewelry, playing with it, or knocking the piercing while getting dressed
- covering the nose piercing with a waterproof dressing when swimming to prevent contact with bacteria in the water
- not using lotions, cosmetics, or hair care products near the piercing
Use hypoallergenic jewelry
Some people are allergic to certain metals, usually nickel or an alloy, which is a mixture of a metal and another element. If a red itchy rash appears or the piercing feels sore for a long time, it may be an allergy.
If jewelry is causing an allergic reaction, it should be replaced with hypoallergenic jewelry that will not react with the body.
Reputable piercers should use jewelry made from an appropriate material, such as surgical steel or titanium.
Use a sea salt solution
A sea salt solution is a natural way to keep the piercing clean, help it heal, and reduce any swelling that may be causing an unsightly bump.
A person can dissolve ⅛ to ¼ of a teaspoon of sea salt in 1 cup of warm distilled or bottled water, rinse the piercing with the solution, then gently pat it dry. People should be sure to wash the hands thoroughly beforehand to lower the risk of infection.
Try tea tree oil
Some piercers recommend using tea tree oil to dehydrate and shrink a piercing bump. Although there is limited research available on the effectiveness of tea tree oil, it is safe for most people to use directly on the area.
Apply a warm compress
Trapped fluid under the skin can cause a bump, but heat and pressure will help gradually drain it.
A simple warm water compress can be made by soaking a clean washcloth in hot water, applying it to the piercing, and holding it there with gentle pressure for a few minutes.
A person should not try to force the bump to drain, as this can lead to further irritation and scarring.
Preventing a bump
The leading causes of nose piercing bumps are infections or tissue damage, both of which can usually be easily avoided.
Going to a reputable piercing studio will help ensure that a nose piercing is carried out in a hygienic way by an experienced professional, who will know how to pierce safely and avoid infection.
The Association of Professional Piercers has a directory that lists member organizations to help people choose a piercer they can trust.
A person should keep the piercing clean by washing their hands before touching the area, rinsing it with a saline or sea salt solution twice a day, and changing bedding and pillowcases regularly.
When possible, people should avoid knocking, twisting, or moving the nose piercing and be sure not to remove the jewelry before it has completely healed, as this can cause tissue damage.
When to see a doctor or piercer
If symptoms persist for 2 weeks, a person should consult their piercer or doctor.
Some inflammation and irritation are common after a nose piercing, but these symptoms should improve within a week.
If there is no improvement after 2 weeks, a person should go back to the piercer to seek advice and check that they are giving the piercing the correct aftercare.
Some symptoms, however, should be checked by a doctor. These include:
- an uncomfortable amount of pain
- a throbbing or burning sensation, redness, or heat, which could indicate an infection
- a significant amount of discharge from the piercing, especially if it is grey, green, or yellow, or has a bad smell
- fever, dizziness, confusion, or nausea
A person should not remove the jewelry in the months following the piercing, as the hole may close up and trap an infection beneath the skin.
Taking care of a nose piercing and keeping it clean is straightforward and should help prevent a bump appearing around the piercing.
If a nose piercing bump does occur, it may be helped by changing jewelry, applying tea tree oil, or using a warm water compress.