How Should I Treat a Nose Piercing Bump?

You’re excited about your nose piercing, but that bump that just popped up next to it is really ruining the effect. Don’t worry – most likely, the bump will clear on its own.

How do you treat a nose piercing bump? In most cases, you should clean your piercing regularly, then leave it alone! On the other hand, if your bump is a keloid or infection, you’ll need to see a doctor for effective treatment.

The best treatment for you will depend on what kind of nose piercing bump you have. Let’s discuss the most common kinds of nose piercing bumps, what causes them, how to prevent them, and how to treat them.

What is a nose piercing bump?

After a cartilage piercing, like a nose or upper ear piercing, a small lump may appear near (or inside) the piercing site. Nose piercing bumps usually appear within a few days after a nostril piercing but may appear as late as six weeks later. You may also notice bleeding, bruising, or swelling around the bump. For most people, a nose piercing bump is just a small infection or reaction, but in rare cases, it may be excessive scar tissue formation.

Why do nose piercing bumps occur?

Usually, a nose piercing bump is just your body’s immune system response to your new wound. Alternatively, it may be an allergic reaction to the jewelry, or a small infection caused by an injury to the new piercing (for example, if the nose ring gets caught on your t-shirt).

How common is a nose piercing bump?

If you get a small lump next to your nose piercing, you’re not alone. Nose piercing bumps are very common, and they’re usually not permanent. That being said, you shouldn’t ignore your nose piercing bump. Your body may be trying to tell you something, so it’s important to determine the cause of the lump and treat it accordingly.

When should I seek medical attention?

If you experience minor redness, swelling, or even a small nose piercing bump, there’s nothing to worry about. These side effects are common after a cartilage piercing.

However, serious infections or keloid nose bumps must be treated by a doctor. If you experience any of the following problems, contact a medical professional right away:

  • High level of pain or tenderness
  • Consistent throbbing
  • Burning near the bump or piercing site
  • Unpleasant odor
  • Green or yellow pus
  • A bump that lasts longer than 2 weeks

Keep in mind that a keloid looks like a round, raised bump that is darker than the surrounding skin. It is firm to the touch, and it should be examined as soon as possible. If your nose bump causes significant discomfort or worsens considerably over time, it’s time to get a doctor’s opinion.

Different Types of Nose Piercing Bumps

Some nose piercing bumps are more threatening than others. Before you can properly treat the bump, you’ll need to know what type of nose piercing bump you have.


A keloid is overgrown scar tissue. It grows upwards and outwards through the other tissue and becomes thick and noticeable. While this type of bump is rare, it can only be removed by a dermatologist.

Why would a keloid occur? Some people are genetically predisposed to keloids. Otherwise, experts aren’t sure what causes the formation of keloids. They can develop after any injury to the skin, including serious acne, a C-section, a tattoo, or a piercing.

Can you prevent a keloid? After you get your nose piercing, proper aftercare is essential. Clean your piercing regularly, and keep it out of the sun whenever possible. If you’re prone to keloids, it’s probably best to avoid cartilage piercings altogether.

How do you get rid of it?

Your dermatologist can freeze the keloid off with liquid nitrogen, or perform a simple surgery to cut the keloid off. Retinoid creams, steroid injections, or silicone gels might be alternative treatment options.

Should you remove a piercing if it has a keloid?

Wait – don’t do anything until you consult with your doctor. Until you know exactly what the bump is, you shouldn’t remove the piercing. Taking the jewelry out may further irritate the skin and slow down the healing process. With some keloids, however, the piercing should be removed right away. Before you make the decision, ask your doctor to have a look at your nose piercing bump.  


A granuloma is a reddish bump, less than a centimeter wide. Granulomas usually look red or brownish-black, and can show up a full 6 weeks after a nose piercing. They feel tender to the touch, and may bleed easily.

Why do granulomas occur? A granuloma is a small bump that consists of extra blood vessels. The body will sometimes produce granulomas next to or inside the piercing site in response to the foreign object.

How do you prevent granulomas? The best thing you can do to prevent any nose piercing bump is to keep the piercing clean. Wash your hands before touching the area, and rinse the area with a saline or sea salt solution each day. Change bedding or pillowcases regularly.

How to get rid of a granuloma

Since granuloma might be your body’s response to irritation, try not to irritate the area. It’s best if you leave the piercing totally alone, and fiddle with it only for cleaning. Don’t bother switching out the jewelry. Keep in mind that it may take a few months before the granuloma disappears.

Allergic reaction

Some people experience an allergic reaction after getting a nose piercing. The body sees the piercing as a threat and reacts by itching, swelling and blistering at the site. You may experience red, scaly, and itchy skin.

Why do they occur? Usually, allergic reactions are related to the metal in the nose ring. You could be allergic to any metal, but the most common metal allergies include cobalt and nickel.

Can you prevent an allergic reaction? Select a high-quality metal for your nose piercing, preferably hypoallergenic metals like titanium, surgical steel, or medical-grade plastic. Keep the area clean throughout the healing process.

How do you get rid of an allergic reaction nose piercing bump?

If your bump is due to an allergic reaction, changing the nose ring to a less irritating metal can help. Applying tea tree oil or a warm water compress can also help the area heal. Expect an allergic reaction to take 2-4 weeks to disappear.

Nose piercing bump from infection

If bacteria get into the open wound, an infection may occur. In addition to a small red bump near the piercing, you may also notice redness and swelling, and the nose may feel tender.

Why does it occur? Can you prevent it?

A lump may form as the body tries to fight and force out the bacteria. Fortunately, this is the most preventable nose piercing bump. Clean the area as directed by your piercing artist, avoid swimming, and don’t mess with your nose piercing. Touching it is one of the worst things you can do. Tea tree oil may also dehydrate the nose bump and ward off infection.

How do you get rid of a nose piercing infection bump?

If you think you may have an infection, have your piercer or dermatologist look at it right away. A severe infection will require a course of antibiotics. In more moderate cases, cleaning the bump with a saltwater solution may be sufficient.  

What if my nose piercing bump won’t go away?

If the nose piercing bump is not improving after 2 weeks, it’s time to return to your piercer and get their opinion. They’ve seen everything from keloids to infections and can point you in the right direction. They can help you decide whether or not you need to visit your doctor.

If your nose bump is worsening significantly over time, or you’re experiencing a lot of pain, see a doctor right away, because an infection might be to blame.

What happens if you pop a piercing bump?

Remember – a nose piercing bump is NOT a pimple, and it should not be popped like one! There is nothing to squeeze out of the bump, and touching it could actually cause an infection. No matter how tempted you may be to pop the bump, leave it alone. If your nose bump is not shrinking over time, a medical professional can remove it.

So, when a nose bump appears, don’t panic – leave it alone except for regular cleanings. Wear hypoallergenic jewelry, and visit a doctor if you’re concerned. A sea salt solution, warm compress, or tea tree oil may also expedite the healing process so that you can start enjoying your new piercing to the fullest.