After getting a nose piercing it’s normal to have some swelling, redness, bleeding, or bruising for a few weeks.
As your piercing starts to heal, it’s also typical for:
- the area to itch
- whitish pus to ooze from the piercing site
- a slight crust to form around your jewelry
It can take up to six months for a nose piercing to fully heal. But if you notice your symptoms are changing or getting worse, or if you see a bump developing, it could indicate a problem.
A nose piercing bump is generally one of three things:
- a pustule, which is a blister or pimple that contains pus
- a granuloma, which is a lesion that occurs on average six weeks after a piercing
- a keloid, which is a type of thick scar that can develop at the piercing site
These bumps can be caused by a number of things, including:
- poor piercing technique
- touching your piercing with dirty hands
- using the wrong products to clean your piercing
- an allergic reaction to jewelry
You shouldn’t drain any pus or remove crust, as this can worsen your symptoms and lead to increased scarring.
In many cases, the bump will clear with treatment. Keep reading to learn how to treat the affected area and prevent further irritation.
Although minor swelling and redness are expected, signs of a more serious infection include:
- an uncomfortable level of pain, throbbing, or burning around the piercing site
- unusual tenderness at the piercing site
- an unpleasant odor with green or yellow pus oozing from the piercing site
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t remove your jewelry. Removing your jewelry will encourage the piercing to close, which can trap harmful bacteria inside the piercing site. This may cause a more severe infection.
You should see your piercer as soon as possible. They will offer their expert advice on your symptoms and provide guidance for proper treatment.
If you do not have these more serious symptoms, read on for five tips on how to resolve a nose piercing bump.
Change your jewelry
Other symptoms include:
- intense itchiness
- redness and blistering
- dry or thickened skin
- discolored skin
The only solution is to replace your jewelry with a ring or stud made with hypoallergenic material.
If you’re sensitive to nickel, the best materials for jewelry are:
- 18- or 24-karat gold
- stainless steel
If your nose piercing is less than six months old, you shouldn’t swap your jewelry out on your own. Doing so may cause tearing to your nose tissue. Instead, visit your piercer so they can swap the jewelry for you.
Once you’re past the six-month healing point, you can change the jewelry yourself if you feel comfortable doing so. If you’d prefer, your piercer can change the jewelry for you.
Cleaning your piercing
New piercings should usually be cleaned 2–3 times per day. Your piercer can provide you with a more specific recommendation.
Before touching your nose piercing for any reason, you should always wash your hands thoroughly using warm water and liquid soap. Dry your hands with a paper towel. Then proceed to clean your piercing.
Your piercer can recommend specific cleansers to use. They’ll likely advise against using triclosan-containing soaps to clean your piercing, as they can dry out the surrounding skin.
Other products to avoid include:
- iodopovidone (Betadine)
- chlorhexidine (Hibiclens)
- isopropyl alcohol
- hydrogen peroxide
You should also avoid:
- picking any crust that forms around your piercing
- moving or spinning your ring or stud when your piercing is dry
- using topical ointments on the area, as these block air circulation
It’s important to clean the piercing every day for the first six months. Even if your piercing looks like it’s healed from the outside, tissue on the inside of your nose may still be healing.
Sea salt soak
Wash your hands thoroughly using warm water and liquid soap. Dry using a paper towel.
Unless your piercer has recommended special soap, you should use a salt solution to clean your piercing. Make your solution by adding 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt to 8 ounces of warm water.
- Soak a piece of paper towel in the salt solution.
- Hold the saturated paper towel over your nose piercing for 5–10 minutes. This is called a warm compress and will soften any crust or discharge surrounding your piercing. It may sting a little.
- You may want to reapply a new piece of soaked paper towel every two minutes or so to keep the area warm.
- After the compress, use a clean cotton bud dipped in the salt solution to gently remove any moistened crust or discharge from the inside and outside of your nose piercing.
- You can also soak a new piece of paper towel in your salt solution and squeeze over the area to rinse it.
- Use a clean piece of paper towel to gently pat the area dry.
Repeat this process two or three times per day.
Chamomile contains compounds that help wounds heal faster and stimulate the skin’s barrier to restore itself. You can alternate between using a salt solution and a chamomile solution.
To make a warm chamomile compress:
- Soak a chamomile tea bag in a cup, as you would if you were making a cup of tea.
- Leave the bag to steep for 3–5 minutes.
- Soak a piece of paper towel in the chamomile solution and apply to your piercing for 5–10 minutes.
- To retain the warmth, soak a new piece of paper towel and reapply every two minutes or so.
You shouldn’t use chamomile if you have a ragweed allergy.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree is a natural antifungal, antiseptic, and antimicrobial agent. Tea tree oil is especially useful to dehydrate a nose piercing bump. It also helps to boost the healing process, ward off infection, and reduce inflammation.
But beware — tea tree oil can cause a reaction. If this is your first time using it, do a patch test before applying it to an open wound like your nose piercing.
To perform a patch test:
- Apply a small amount of diluted tea tree oil to your forearm.
- Wait at least 24 hours.
- If you don’t experience any irritation or inflammation, you can apply the solution to your nose piercing.
To make a tea tree solution, simply add 2–4 drops of tea tree oil to your salt solution. The water will dilute the tea tree oil, making it safe to use on your skin.
This solution may sting slightly when applied.
See your piercer
It can take several weeks to fully heal a nose piercing bump, but you should see improvement within two or three days of treatment. If you don’t, see your piercer. Your piercer is the best person to assess your symptoms and provide guidance on how to care for your individual problem.