What causes it, and how to make it go away – from a Professional Body Piercer

You just got your nose pierced.  Your healing is going fine.  You are doing your saline soaks twice a day, not touching it, being careful not to get it caught on things.  But then one day, out of the blue, you wake up to find this little red bump right next to the piercing.  At first, you may think maybe it’s a pimple or a clogged hair follicle.  You try to pop it, but all it does is bleed, and looks even worse.  You decide to wait to see if it will go away on its own, but it doesn’t.  You try more saline soaks, tea tree oil, vitamin E oil, hydrocortisone, but nothing works.  In a last ditch effort, you even scour the internet and read that someone has suggested using aspirin paste to make it go away…I’m going to stop this story here to say the one thing all of these internet remedies have in common is that they only attempt to fix the result of the issue, and DO NOT correct the cause of it.

Does this sound familiar?  What I have been describing is what we piercers refer to as an irritation bump.  And as the name implies, it is caused by some form of irritation happening within your healing piercing.  This can happen to any piercing, but nostril piercings seem to be notorious for it.  I am speaking from personal experience here when I say “these things suck”.  They’re red, ugly, nasty looking, and unless they are addressed properly can be very difficult to cure without retiring the piercing associated with it.

What causes them?  This bump is your body’s reaction to an outside irritation.  This irritation can be caused by many things, such as ill-fitting or low quality jewelry, recent trauma to the piercing, excessive movement or irritation of the piercing (such as repeatedly bumping or snagging the piercing by accident), or even touching the piercing.  If you think to yourself, “none of these things have happened, the bump just appeared one day and I don’t know why”, in my professional opinion (as a body piercer with many years of experience), your bump is most likely caused by the angle in which the piercing is going though the tissue of your nose.

“Angle?” you ask yourself, “why does that matter?”  Any piercing that travels through your body should do so at as close to a 90-degree angle as possible.  Any deviation from that 90-degree angle can cause an irritation to occur at the wider of the 2 angles where the piercing meets the skin.  Your body’s reaction to this irritation is to protect itself, of course.  It does so by building up layer upon layer of extra tissue to create a buffer between the cause of the irritation and the body; the result of this tissue buffer is your lovely red nose bump.

“So how can I fix it?  Please, Professional Piercer, make it go away!”
Yes, it will be the job of a skilled professional body piercer to help you solve your unsightly nose bump dilemma.  No amount of saline solution, tea tree oil, vitamin E oil, hydrocortisone cream, crushed aspirin, or any other crazy home remedy the internet has to offer will make that little bugger go away.  Your chosen piercing professional will adjust the angle your piercing passes through your nose.  “What does that mean?”  It’s a fancy way of saying we will need to re-pierce you.  If done correctly, you will see marked improvement of the bump within days, and complete disappearance of the issue within a few weeks.

So if you or someone you know is experiencing the dreaded “nose piercing bump”, before trying an internet remedy that may potentially damage your skin, talk to a professional body piercer.  And if the piercer you talk to doesn’t know about piercing angle, politely leave, and find one that does.