Some piercings can take ages to fully heal, could be well over a year until the fistula is all good on the inside. So don't stress if you accidentally catch it, even if it's been 9 months since you got it and it flares up. It's not a big deal, and with the right advice, you'll be sweet.
People freak out and think their piercing is infected when it's actually just irritated, infections are pretty rare. Piercings can get real sore, tender, and puffy with some crusty stuff, especially if they get knocked or bumped somehow. You just need to figure out what's causing the drama and sort it from there.
DO NOT REMOVE YOUR JEWELLERY if you suspect either a piercing irritation or infection.
Here are some common piercing problems and their solutions:
- Lumps or Bumps (Keloid):
Lumps or Bumps on and around the piercing site can be caused by minor infection, irritation, or trauma. To get rid of the bump, apply a warm compress or saline soak, avoid touching or playing with the piercing, and ensure that your jewellery fits well.
- Bumps on the Back of The Earlobe Piercing:
If you've got a bump on the back of your lobe piercing, don't worry, it's pretty common, as earlobes are more likely to get infected and this bump usually looks like a bruise and is filled with pus, blood, and fluid. It can be caused by all sorts of things like touching it with dirty hands, getting caught on towels or having wet hair around it. To help it heal, make sure you wash your hair daily, keep your hair off the piercing and avoid catching your jewellery. Try doing some warm saline soaks or compress and then pat it DRY. Make sure your piercing is dry and DON’T sleep with wet hair. Keep doing this until the bump pops. After the warm compress, the bump can be pretty soft and easy to pop. Massage the bump with a clean micro-brush or a piece of clean tissue that is folded into a small point or cone shape after compressing or soaking it and see if it releases. Although massaging the bump may be uncomfortable and potentially result in bleeding or discharge, it is a common occurrence and should not be a cause for concern. Repeat this process for at least a few weeks.
- Bumps on the Cartledge:
If you have an over-swollen and painful ear (Helix, Daith, Rook, Conch or other Cartilage piercing on the ear) or nose piercing, there could be a few reasons for it. Bumps under the top piece of jewellery are often caused by sleeping on it, wearing jewellery that is too tight or the piercing being tipped. To get rid of the bump, it's important to identify and resolve the underlying issue. For example, you can try propping your head up or use a “U-shaped” pillow to avoid sleeping on that side or using longer bars to alleviate swelling. Keep in mind that the bump will not disappear until you've resolved the underlying cause of the problem. Just be patient and take good care of it. Warm saline/saltwater compress can be helpful with it and bumps on the cartilage normally takes longer to heal, some could be at least 3 months or longer. Consistency in this method can lead to successful results. Once the warm compress is applied, the bump tends to soften and become more manageable for popping. Gently massaging the bump with a clean micro-brush or a piece of clean tissue that is folded into a small point or cone shape after compressing or soaking it can potentially lead to its release. Although massaging the bump can result in pain, bleeding, or discharge, it is a common occurrence and should not be a cause for concern.
Early intervention is critical in treating piercing bumps or lumps that may develop after piercings. Delaying treatment may result in increased difficulty in resolving the issue. Therefore, it is essential to do regular check-ups, especially if you suspect the presence of a bump that may not be visible. You have several options to visualise the affected area, such as taking a photo using your phone or seeking assistance from a trusted person. Alternatively, consulting with a professional piercer is also an option. Failure to address the bump and abstaining from treatment can result in its entrenchment within the surrounding skin, with little to no chance of spontaneous resolution. Additionally, delaying treatment can make the bump more challenging to identify and treat over time, possibly resulting in permanent scarring or disfigurement.
It is normal to experience minor bleeding following a piercing procedure, even after several days or weeks, it is possible to experience minor bleeding in the area of a recent piercing, particularly if the jewellery is displaced or moved. It is important to note that the majority of commonly performed piercings are not situated in close proximity to major arteries or veins. Although it is possible for small capillaries to be affected during the piercing process, the risk of excessive bleeding is generally low. However, if one is concerned about excessive bleeding or experiences prolonged bleeding, consulting with a medical professional is recommended.
Potential Reasons of Piercing Bleeding:
- Touching or Picking: Avoid touching or picking at your new piercing to prevent small cuts and the development of excessive granulation tissue, which can lead to bleeding and other complications.
- Contact Eczema/Allergic Reaction: Skin inflammation can cause bleeding around a piercing due to friction or an allergy to the jewellery. Allergic contact eczema or allergic reactions may result, causing red, itchy, weeping, or scaly skin that bleeds. For new piercings, it's best to use biocompatible jewellery. This type of jewellery is made of materials that are less likely to cause allergic reactions or other problems. Some examples of biocompatible and hypoallergenic materials include surgical-grade stainless steel, titanium and gold that is 14k or higher.
- Bumping or knocking: Bleeding is a common risk if you accidentally bump or knock your new piercing. Everyday activities such as shampooing, brushing your hair, or putting on clothes can cause trauma to the area. To prevent bleeding, it's important to be careful and avoid touching or knocking your new piercing.
- Alcohol: To reduce the risk of bleeding during the piercing process or after, it is recommended to avoid consuming alcohol before having a new piercing done as it can thin the blood.
- Medication: Your medication can affect how your piercing heals. For instance, taking blood thinners or aspirin may increase your risk of bleeding during the procedure. It's important to inform your piercer if you're taking these medications or have a bleeding disorder.
Piercing rejection happens when the body treats the piercing as foreign and pushes it out. This usually occurs in flat areas of certain piercings such as the eyebrow, navel, and nipple. Early signs include migration towards the skin surface, which eventually leads to piercing expulsion.
If you suspect your piercing is being rejected by your body, it's important to consult with a professional piercer to determine the cause. Improper placement, incompatible jewellery or an underlying medical condition could be the cause.
In some cases, the piercing may need to be replaced or removed and allowed to heal. To prevent piercing rejection, choose a professional piercer using hypoallergenic jewellery, avoid irritating or sleeping on the piercing, clean it regularly with sterile saline or salt water, avoid water immersion until it heals and immediately seek advice.
If your body is rejecting a piercing, you may experience the following symptoms:
- The jewellery has noticeably moved from its original place.
- The amount of tissue between the entrance and exit holes gets thinner or shorter.
- The jewellery starts to hang or droop differently.
- The skin between the entrance and exit holes is flaky, peeling, red or inflamed, calloused-looking or unusually hard.
- The skin around piercing area is nearly transparent (you might see the jewellery through your skin)
Taking good care of your piercing is crucial to avoid any issues that may pop up. Make sure you follow the Aftercare Instructions given by your piercer and don't hesitate to see a doctor if you run into any serious or long-lasting problems.
Remember: Keep it clean and take care of that new bling.