How to Tell if it’s a Hypertrophic Scar Piercing Bump vs Keloid

scar piercing bumps and keloid scars

How to Tell if it’s a Hypertrophic Scar Piercing Bump vs Keloid

It is very common to experience slight changes in skin color in the area around newly done piercings. These shifts in color are harmless and aren’t typically something to be worried about. For instance, on the one hand hypertrophic scar piercing bumps are innocuous and may fade away with time. Whereas, keloid scars, on the other hand, can grow in size.

Although hypertrophic scar piercing bumps and keloid scars may seem to appear the same at first glance, there are ways to tell them apart.

This article will cover the differences between hypertrophic scar piercing bumps and keloids and how to identify them apart. We also go through treatment options for both and other disorders that might lead to skin problems following a piercing.

What are hypertrophic scar piercing bumps, and how do you get rid of them?

Small lumps that form after a piercing are known as hypertrophic scar piercing bumps. They’re most common after cartilage piercings, like nose or upper ear piercings.

Hypertrophic scar piercing bumps appear when the body’s immune system reacts to a wound and commences the healing process. Inflammation is the result of this response, which is what generates the bump.

In the first few weeks after getting a piercing, a person may experience bleeding, bruising, and swelling at the piercing site. All of these signs and symptoms are typical. Itching, some yellowish fluid seeping from the incision site, and crusting around the piercing jewelry are some more symptoms that don’t usually cause concern.

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What exactly are keloids?

A keloid is a raised scar on the skin that develops due to trauma or injury. This type of scar can sometimes form after a piercing.

An expansion of fibrous tissue causes a keloid to occur. When cells in the skin called fibroblasts are injured, they create too much collagen, leading to a keloid formation.

After the initial damage, keloids might take 3–12 months to grow. They begin as elevated scars that might be pink, red, purple, or brown and usually darken over time. The look of a keloid might vary depending on its location and the person’s skin tone.

Round or oval keloid scars are typical in earlobe keloid scars. They can continue to develop over time, either quickly or slowly, and can reach enormous sizes.

Keloids can have a variety of textures. They can have a soft, doughy texture or a hard, rubbery texture. A person with a keloid scar may also suffer the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Itchiness 
  • Tenderness
  • Irritation 

What is the difference between the two?

Keloids and hypertrophic scar piercing bumps usually appear extremely identical in the beginning. However, the differences will eventually occur with time.

Treatment for hypertrophic scar piercing bumps

Hypertrophic scar piercing bumps are a standard component of the body’s response to damage and typically aren’t harmful. However, you may take precautions to keep the piercing clean, to prevent infection, and recover. These include maintaining piercing jewelry for at least six weeks without changing or removing it and washing hands before touching the piercing.

After bathing or showering, wash the piercing with a saline solution or gentle soap and water once a day, wipe the region dry with a clean cotton pad and avoid using a towel, which might introduce bacteria.

Keloids and their treatment

Keloids can be treated with a variety of methods. Several criteria, including the form and size of the keloid, can influence the best treatment approach. There are several treatment options available, including:

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Corticosteroid is a type of drug that can help in reducing the keloid’s size. According to studies, patients require four injections on average, with one every three to four weeks. They further claim that 50–80% of keloids diminish following corticosteroid injection.

Professionals usually remove keloids by surgery and they can still reappear after a successful operation.

Laser treatment: Laser treatment can assist Trusted Source in removing keloid scars.

Cryotherapy is a treatment option for mild keloids. Cryotherapy is a treatment that involves freezing a keloid in order to soften it and reduce its size. Cryotherapy is not indicated for persons with darker complexion due to the danger of skin pigmentation changes.

Alternative explanations

Bumps around a piercing can sometimes warn about a more severe problem. some of the other causes are:


It is very common to get infections in new piercings. These infections may be caused by the needle if it is not sterile or even if the piercing itself is not kept clean.

An infected piercing shows the following signs:

nausea and vomiting, discomfort, swelling and puffiness, yellow pus oozing out of the piercing

Dermatitis due to contact

A rash called contact dermatitis appears when the skin is irritated by something that comes into contact with it. Any type of allergy, friction, or exposure to anything caustic or toxic may cause the rash.

Metal in the jewelry, metal in the needle or piercing gun, and cleaning agents used by the piercer are all possible causes of contact dermatitis in piercings.

Contact dermatitis causes the following symptoms:

  • Hives with fluid-filled blisters have a stinging or burning feeling.
  • Itching
  • dryness
  • discoloration \inflammation \tenderness

The majority of jewelry allergy

To address a jewelry allergy, the best plan is to replace the metal with a hypoallergenic metal such as titanium, stainless steel, or 18- or 24-karat gold.

When should you seek medical advice?

A dermatologist or specialist should be consulted if a person suspects they have a keloid. If the keloid is not treated, it may continue to expand.

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If a person has symptoms of an infection, they should also seek medical care.

After a new piercing, hypertrophic piercing pimples and keloids are two separate skin disorders that might appear. Keloids take time to form and can expand in size over time, unlike hypertrophic scar piercing bumps, which develop quickly and do not grow much in size.

Consultation with a specialist or dermatologist is the best way to cure keloids. Anyone who suspects they have a keloid or similar condition causing a lump should see a doctor.