Blood blisters are very rare and can occur on any piercing but are more frequent on navels and tongues. Often granulomas are mistaken for blood blisters.
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- A blood blister is a soft round lump which is very dark in colour.
- They aren’t usually larger than a 1 pence or 1 cent coin.
- They can be very sore.
- A standard blister is similar but lightly coloured.
- A layer of tissue beneath the skin is torn away and damaged without breaking the surface of the skin.
- A pool of blood and other fluids such as lymph then gather in the space in-between the tissues.
- This cushions the damaged tissue and protects it but appears as a bump on the surface of the skin.
- When the fluid inside has been reabsorbed (or dried) the blister will deflates and dry up.
- New skin tissue will have already healed underneath and will appear pink.
Blood blisters are most often caused by clamps being closed on the area, frostbite from the use of freeze-sprays and by certain medications. Standard blisters can come from allergic reactions to other numbing chemicals or skin preparations.
Check how your piercer uses clamps. It is considered to be bad practice to click closed the clamps on your skin.
Avoid blood thinning medication, where it is safe to. Migraine medications, paracetamol, anti depressants, asprin and even some indigestion medication can thin the blood which increases the likelihood of blood blisters on piercings.
Avoid numbing. Chemicals from numbing creams or sprays can cause blisters from allergic reaction or frost bite.
Stretch properly. Not looking after your stretched piercing properly can cause blood blisters.
Cysts. If a cyst is pressed on it can rupture under the skin and cause a blood blister.
Be careful with your piercing. Knocking, crushing or using something new on the piercing can be a cause.
Generally it is best to leave blisters and blood blisters alone as much as possible.
- Keep tight clothes, hair and cosmetics away from the blister
- If it is in an area that rubs then a dressing should be applied to protect it.
- Use an ice pack wrapped in a towel or ice cubes in the mouth to help any pain.
- An anti-inflammatory painkiller such as ibuprofen may help (Read the patient information leaflet or talk to a pharmacist first).
- A cold chamomile tea bag can relieve pain, inflammation and irritation.
- Aloe vera may also help to relieve pain, soothe the area and promote healing.
- Finally, salt water soaks can help it to heal faster.
You should never pop a blister. This can lead to infection from bacteria in the environment and irritation from knocks and friction which can delay healing and make the area sore.
If a blister becomes infected or doesn’t heal after several weeks it is likely to need medical treatment from a doctor such as an antibiotic cream or series of tablets.
For more information try our full guide to blood blisters. You may also be interested in our guide to how piercings heal to better understand what is happening during the healing process. As salt soaks have been recommended you may find our guide on salt soak benefits helpful too.