Body Piercing: Keloids and Hypertrophic Scar Tissue
Have you ever gotten a piercing only to find a week later that a small bump has appeared right next to the piercing? More than likely you have a keloid! Don’t worry. We know all about those pesky little guys! Find out what they really are, what causes them and, of course, how to get rid of them right here.
What is a keloid?
Keloids are those little bumps that occur around the site of a piercing - usually on the entrance or exit of a piercing. Essentially this is a build up of scar tissue.
What’s the difference between a keloid and hypertrophic scar tissue?
Absolutely nothing. Keloid is the slang term more commonly used, while hypertrophic scar tissue is the more technical term.
Which piercings are prone to keloids?
Keloids can occur with any kind of piercing, they occur after an abrasion in the skin. But they are more common in some kinds of piercings. These include nostril piercings, cartilage piercings and industrial piercings.
What causes a keloid to form?
Each piercing has a healing period. During this healing period, there is a scab on the inside of the piercing. When healing a piercing you should always try your best to leave this scab intact in order for the piercing to heal properly.
If you do play with your piercing, consistently change out your jewelry and anything else that puts pressure on your healing piercing this scab will keep being torn over and over again. When repeatedly breaking down the scab, your body will start to form scar tissue which can continue to build up and bubble out of the top and bottom of the piercing. That’s what a keloid is!
How do I avoid keloids?
In the last question we spoke a little about how keloids form. It’s important not to consistently play with, twist or change a piercing in order to allow to piercing to properly heal. But that isn’t all there is to keloids.
They can also be brought on by using harsh cleansers like alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. These guys will eat away at the scab and lead to scar tissue eventually forming. Always stick to salt water soaks when healing a piercing only!
Trauma to the piercing site can also cause keloids. This goes along with constantly rotating the piercing. It only takes a couple times of getting your piercing caught on a towel or a piece of clothing to start forming a keloid. Don’t forget sleeping on a piercing can cause just as much trauma as well!
The angle of the piercing and a low grade of metal in your piercing jewelry can cause keloids.
How to get rid of a keloid?
Sea salt soaks!
We can’t suggest sea salt soaks enough. They’re the best solution for almost any piercing problem and are so important in general healing. Once you have this process down you won’t need anything else! Find out how to do a proper sea salt soak by clicking the link above.
Cautiously applying tea tree oil can be great for sucking the moisture out of the bump. Apply this to the bump and try to leave contact between the piercing and tea tree oil to a minimum.
For more information on tea tree oil check out this article: Tea Tree Oil for Body Piercings Explained
Here’s how to do it: Before bed, apply a thin layer of tea tree oil to the bump only. Sleep on it and by the time you wake up there should be a thin layer of skin left on top. Peal this off and re-apply immediately. Over time enough of these tiny layers should peel away to nothing!
Disclaimer: Before starting to treat any piercing, make sure you stop by your local piercing studio to make sure you know what you’re dealing with! These piercers’ should be able to tell immediately what it is that has caused your keloid and, in doing so, the best way to treat it.