Piercing Bumps

Piercings heal very differently from other wounds (see here) and so they tend to be susceptible to problems not normally experienced when healing a cut or graze. Bumps, Spots, Lumps or Pimples on body piercings are much more common than you may think and don’t always mean that the piercing is infected.

Often a bump is related to the piercing’s healing process being interrupted and it is fairly easy to get that back on track once you know how. Rarely does having a bump on a piercing mean that you need to remove the jewellery or let the piercing close up.

In our dedicated piercing bump guides we discuss the most common piercing bumps, what causes them, ways of preventing them and how they are treated. We also go into detail about how each bump looks, including a gallery of photographs for each different type of piercing bump.

Keloid Scarring

Keloid Scar Close UpThis is the bump most piercing enthusiasts think that they suffer from when, in actual fact, they are quite rare and tend to be genetic. Not easy to treat.
Description:  A skin coloured or purpley-red coloured bump which is hard to the touch, feels rubbery and grows far past the piercing hole like a mushroom.

Hypertrophic Scarring

Hypertrophic Skintone NoseThe most common form of piercing bump. Often seen on cartilage such as the nose and upper ear. Easy to treat but requires patience.
Description: A skin-coloured, pink or purple-red bump which is very pimple-like, may peel skin and can bleed when knocked or upset.

Abscess or Boil

Infected Piercing AbscessAnother fairly common bump. Caused by infection. Appears very quickly and often grows in size in a matter of days. Usually seen in the first 2 weeks of healing or if the piercing is knocked or damaged.
Description: Can be a red-pink colour and may have a white, dark or yellow head. Soft like a water balloon and full of fluid, can sometimes leak. May accompany other signs of infection.


granuloma on nostril piercingOccur mostly on the navel or nose but aren’t considered that common. Can be tricky to treat.
Description: Can appear as a perfectly round raised ball or a lump that looks like chopped meat. Often shiny or wet looking. Prone to bleeding and tend to bleed quite a lot when they do.


Piercing cystNot at all common, except in the case of cheek piercings. Often will have a hard, marble-like, ball under the skin. Can be hard to treat.
Description: May start as a scab-like opening on the skin before turning into a skin coloured dome. The dome can get irritated (and so may turn red). Often full of quite a lot of liquid.

Cartilage Damage

Collapsed CartilageUncommon in piercings not done with a gun or which have suffered with a very bad infection. Almost impossible to treat without surgery.
Description: Can appear as soft ‘dips’ or tears in the tissue, blister-like bumps or large round lumps that deform the natural layout of the tissue itself.

If you would like advice regarding a piercing bump please feel free to contact our piercing help and advice team. We are no substitute for a trained medical professional, however, so none of these guides (or our advice) should be taken as a diagnosis, prescription or treatment plan. If you are worried about a piercing bump please ensure you contact a trained medical professional for proper medical advice.