The aftermath of a piercing should be an uncomplicated experience — but it’s not unheard of to get an infection, or for an unidentified fleshy bump to pop up right near your brand-new piercing hole. While the former warrants a visit to the doctor, that bump isn’t generally something you should panic about: It’s most likely just a harmless keloid.
So, what exactly is a keloid? Dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD, explains that it’s an area of irregular fibrous tissue that usually forms at the site of a scar or injury, which includes piercings. Not sure you have one? While your physician or dermatologist can tell you definitively what the bump is, if it looks like an angry pimple on the surface of the skin with scar-tissue texture, then congrats, you’ve got a keloid! But your cute new nose or lobe piercing doesn’t have to be plagued by the bump forever. With the help of a medical professional, you can have it safely removed.
Remember: This is not a pimple, so please don’t pop it like one. Since it’s not actually acne, there’s nothing to squeeze out of the bump. In fact, doing so could potentially cause an infection, which is much worse than some overgrown scar tissue. Instead, Dr. Marmur suggests several different removal methods for keloids, including non-invasive surgery that can remove the growth. Unfortunately, even with this method, there’s a possibility the keloid will return. In that case, Dr. Marmur suggests an alternative option: low-dose steroid injections that can shrink the overproduction of collagen in the area that triggered the keloid to form in the first place.
Not into either of those options? Concocting your own at-home remedy is possible with a mix of honey and vinegar, but chemically exfoliating the bump away is even less of a sure thing. Ultimately, the choice is up to you — as long as you get a medical professional opinion first, of course.
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