Help, my piercing has a ‘bump’ on it!

My piercing has a ‘bump/lump’ on it, what should I do?

There are three different kinds of ‘bump’ that can form on or around a piercing.


The first and also the most common type of ‘bump’ is a cyst. Mostly seen on Tragus, Nostril & Eyebrow piercings and more often than not on the upper/outer edge of the piercing

Cysts form a sack like pocket under the outer surface of the skin and tend to hold a small amount of lymph or other fluids. In the case of cysts on piercings, the cause is usually blockage in the glands of ducts in the skin. These blockages are usually caused by soap or shampoo residues left behind after washing, a build up of dead skin cells or even dirt or other pollutants lying on the surface of the skin if the person works in a dusty or dirty environment.

In common with all problems, prevention is better than cure; always make sure that the piercing is kept clean and properly rinsed out after washing / showering and then thoroughly and carefully dried with a clean dry tissue.

There’s no ‘quick fix’ to get rid of cysts. The most common method to break the cyst down is the use of a hot saline compress 5mins morning and evening for a good 2-3 weeks (as we said, no quick solution).


The second type of ‘bump’ is an abscess and is without doubt the most series.

Similar in construction to a cyst, abscesses tend to form behind the piercing and are usually painful and larger in size than a cyst. Often heavily swollen, hot to touch and filled with puss, an abscess holds infectious fluid and can be a major threat to your health and wellbeing.

Do not ignore your problem: if you think you have an abscess it’s best to consult a doctor or physician as soon as possible.


The third type of ‘bump’ is a keloid scar. This is the least common but most mis-diagnosed.

A keloid scar is basically a scar that has overgrown the wound it should have repaired, spreading both outwards and upwards. In some severe cases the scar covers an area 2-3 times larger than the original wound.

Keloids are most commonly caused by friction on the piercing and / or jewelllery and are mostly seen in nipple and navel piercings.

There appears to be a direct correlation between the likelihood of keloid scaring and the amount of melanin (pigment) in an individuals skin. As rule of thumb, people who’s ancestors are of African, Southern India or African Caribbean are much more likely to suffer from this problem than fair skinned people.

In some severe cases keloid scarring may have to be surgically removed although it should be noted that this is extremely rare in keloids resulting from piercings.

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Piercing Questions: Nipple piercings: Which is better, barbells or rings?

Nipple piercings:  Which is better: barbells or rings?

D Ring Nipple Jewellery - Nipple Piercings

As a rule with nipple piercings, straight barbells will heal more quickly than rings. If bars are fitted with 2-3mm spare length compared to the length of the piercing they should work well. Rings are much more likely to get knocked around than barbells, due to the simple fact that they both stick out and hang down. Once the nipple piercing has healed and if rings are still wanted, it’s probably best to change them for D-Rings with a flat top allowing them to sit flush to the body. Nipple piercings are likely to heal to the shape of the barbell and initially a ring would be less comfortable.  D-Rings for nipple piercings are available in our Nipple Jewellery section.

Female Nipple

The female nipple is normally pierced horizontally through the head of the nipple slightly forward of where the nipple itself rises from the body of the breast. Although female nipple piercings can be pierced with a variety of different jewellery types, a straight barbell is best for speed of healing and ease of cleaning as their tendency to be knocked, caught and bumped is far less than either a ball closure ring or circular barbell. As all nipples can vary considerably in diameter, it is important for the initial jewellery chosen to allow a small amount of swelling and inflammation. Although not very common, vertical and multiple placements are not unknown. A healing period of 2-6 months should be considered to be normal.

Male Nipple

Placement of male nipple piercings can vary greatly from person to person for two main reasons; personal preference, and more importantly, the diameter of the nipple itself. On a well developed male nipple, the piercing can either sit on the nipple just forward of where it rises from the plain of the chest or further out into the areola for a wider heavier look. When the piercing sits on the nipple, the choice of jewellery is varied with ball closure rings and circular barbells both being viable choices although straight barbells probably prove the easiest to heal quickly due to the fact that they are not as commonly knocked, caught or bumped as the other two. On the wider placement, a straight Barbell is probably the only option as ball closure rings and circular barbells will stick out from the body delaying the healing process if not making it all together impossible. Most, but not all, male nipples are carried out horizontally with a healing time of 2-6 months being considered as normal.

Our range of jewellery for nipple piercings

Check out our range of nipple jewellery – including barbells, rings, retainers and other decorative piercing jewellery.

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Piercing Questions: What are the average piercing healing times?

How long will my piercing take to heal?

Piercing healing times will vary according to the position of the piercing being healed, the jewellery used, what jobs and activities you take part in, your general health, your immune system, and even your diet.  All these play a part in healing time.  If the piercing is well looked after, and a good aftercare routine followed, then these estimates for piercing healing times can be treated as normal (healing times in months).

Piercing Healing Times

Piercing Healing Times

How should I clean my piercing?

From years of experience we have come to the conclusion that a mild salt water solution is probably the best option for cleaning the majority of piercings. This can be bought from a chemist in the form of Saline Contact Lens Cleaner or can be made up with care at home. If making up the salt water solution make sure that it is not too strong as this can burn the skin. Dissolving a 1/4 of a level teaspoon of Sea Salt in a 1/2 pint of boiling water and allowing to cool to a comfortable temperature should work well for most people. After washing your hands thoroughly with an anti-bacterial soap, the piercing should be cleaned with a cotton bud dipped in the saline solution (never dip the buds back into the saline solution, always use a fresh one).  A thorough clean to remove any crust/Lymph followed by a good dry should complete a successful cleaning regime. Most importantly: Be patient!

Check out our exhaustive FAQ section – or send us your Piercing Questions on Twitter @PierceJewellery or on Facebook 


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Piercing Questions: Can I replace the ball from my piercing jewellery?

The ball from my piercing jewellery has come off – what can I do to fix it?

One of the piercing problems that gets mentioned most often on Twitter is people losing parts of their jewellery.

Tragus piercings are almost always done with .2mm (16 Gauge) jewellery. Find the correct size and the parts can be replaced no matter if you wear a Ball Closure Ring (BCR), a Straight Barbell or a Labret Stud.

The usual size of a “clip in” ball for a Ball Closure Ring is 4mm in diameter, find these in Piercing Jewellery Shop’s “clip in ball” section. These are available in both plain and jewelled steel.

Labret Studs and Straight Barbells have a 1.2mm thread with a 3mm diameter being the norm, although 4mm balls will fit just as well if you want something a little larger.

surgical steel ballsOur selection of “Screw in accessories” includes balls, spikes and cones which are available in a choice of Surgical Steel, Titanium, Blackline and Zircon Gold. Select the 1.2mm option and they should fit most jewellery.

Check our guide to jewellery sizes and how to measure your jewellery.

To fit a new ball to your jewellery, wash and dry your hands then wipe them again with a tissue or paper towel to remove any traces of sebum (the natural oil found in the skin).

Dry and non greasy fingers will make it a lot easier to fit any ball either to a Ball Closure Ring,  Labret Stud or Straight Barbell.

titanium balls cones

Prices start at less than £1 – with competitive international postage rates, and free postage on orders over £15.

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Piercing Questions: What’s a safe jewellery option for sufferers of nickel allergies? Try Titanium Piercing Jewellery

What’s a safe jewellery option for sufferers of nickel allergies? Try Titanium Piercing Jewellery.

Nickel reactions, though quite rare, can be both irritating and uncomfortable. Even short periods of exposure to everyday objects such as belts, glasses, mobile phones and sometimes even coins, can cause an adverse reaction in someone who has an allergy to nickel.

A common form of nickel sensitivity can be caused by piercing jewellery, from clip-on earrings to more modern piercing jewellery such as barbells, ball closure rings, horseshoes etc.

If you have a proven allergy to nickel then you should completely avoid it.

There are other safe options if you want to wear jewellery in a piercing. Items made from good quality gold, (ideally 14 or 18 karat) that is guaranteed nickel free, is one option.

For a less expensive option there is titanium jewellery. Polished to a rich gun metal silvery grey or anodised to include a massive range of colours and designs, it is the answer to your allergy problems.

Titanium is a superb choice for almost any piercing. It is available as labret studs, barbells, ball closure rings and circular barbells, making it a much more flexible option than high karat gold. Gold jewellery, because of its inherent softness, has a reputation for broken and worn threads, whereas titanium is hardwearing and lightweight.

Titanium at Piercing Jewellery Shop

Titanium can also be finished with a fully inert PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) coating giving a gorgeously bright and glossy finish in either a black (Blackline) or gold (Zircon Gold) colour.

With its qualities of purity, strength and multi-colours, is titanium rather than gold the real “King of Metals”? We think so! Check out our full range of titanium piercing jewellery – with free postage on orders over £15.

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Piercing Questions: I want to get a sub-dermal piercing, will it leave a scar?

I’m thinking of getting a sub-dermal piercing, but don’t want it to leave a scar when I take it out, what’s the score?

sub-dermal piercingsIn common with all piercings, there are many factors that will affect what kind of mark is left behind when the sub-dermal implant is eventually removed. Probably the biggest factor in the amount of scarring left behind is the colour of your skin. As a rule, the darker your skin is and the more melanin (pigment) that it contains, the darker the mark it will leave behind. Other factors to consider include: How the dermal removed? Did it come out easily or did it have to be cut out? Did it heal well or did it cause you any problems such as small lumps and bumps as it healed? How long it was worn for? If a small amount of scarring is left behind, time is a great healer and it should eventually fade and disappear. Products such as “Bio Oil” should help aid the healing process.

Massive range of sub-dermal piercing jewellery on sale  at Piercing Jewellery Shop.

We’ve got a massive range of screw-in titanium jewellery for sub-dermal piercings to chose from,  including blackline, flatheads and stars… check them out on Piercing Jewellery Shop’s catalogue.  Free delivery on orders over £15.

Sub dermal titaniam flatheads patterned


Follow us @PierceJewellery on Twitter or like our Facebook page if you have any #PiercingQuestions about sub-dermal piercings or any other kind of body piercing.

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Piercing Questions: I have to remove my piercing jewellery at work, how do I prevent my piercing healing up?

Does your job make you remove your piercing in the work place?

Do you get sent home from school for wearing piercing jewellery?

Do you need to have an medical procedure that means you need to remove your piercing jewellery?

None of these are uncommon questions – but there is a relatively easy answer.

A piercing is a tube of scar tissue that is held open by the jewellery which it contains. Whether the piercing is 1mm (18 gauge) or 5mm (4 gauge) in diameter, the principle is the same. Remove the jewellery and the piercing will tighten up and in many cases, over time, it might close altogether.

If the piercing is well healed and ‘mature’ then it is more likely that the piercing can be left empty for a longer period of time (usually measured in hours not days). If the piercing is relatively new or not completely healed then this may be a serious problem.

Bioplast retainers are the answer!

The best remedy for the problem is a clear Bioplast retainer. These come in a multitude of different forms for all kinds of different piercings. Take a look at our range of clear and black Bioplast jewellery retainers for a discreet solution.

Bioplast retainers for piercingsBioplast is an inert polymer that’s suitable for both short and long term use, in its retainer form it will make almost any piercing far less noticeable, allowing you to replace your regular nose stud, labret, barbell or septum piercing jewellery when you’re free to do so.

Nose Studs, Labrets, Straight and Curved Barbells and U-Shaped Septum Keepers are all available from Piercing Jewellery Shop’s extensive range of retainers.

Do you have a Piercing Question for the Piercing Jewellery Shop Team? Tweet us @PierceJewellery or Like our Facebook page and leave a comment and we’ll answer in depth here on the Piercing Questions blog. 

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Piercing Questions: I’ve just had my nose pierced and I’ve pulled out my nose stud by mistake, what should I do?

Nose Piercing

I’ve just had my nose pierced and I’ve pulled out my nose stud by mistake. I’ve tried to refit it but it won’t go in, what should I do?

If your nose piercing is relatively new and hasn’t yet healed this can be a real problem. Firstly apply a small amount of lubricant to both the outside of the piercing and the end of the jewellery to be refitted, place a clean finger up inside the nostril, then gently push the stud firmly through the piercing using the finger as a guide. If this doesn’t work after two or three attempts, it’s probably a good idea to visit your friendly local piercing shop who should be able to do it for you with the aid of a thin insertion pin. If it won’t go back in then the nose will have to be re-pierced once the hole has closed down. Check out our range of Jewellery in a range of materials to suit anyone who has their nose pierced.

For everything you want to know about piercing and piercing jewellery, check out our extensive knowledge area, with FAQ, a A-z of piercing and much more. If you still have questions about anything piercing-related, you can tweet us @PierceJewellery or “like” our Piercing Jewellery Shop Facebook page for regular updates on piercing info, products, offers and more.

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Piercing Questions – Ask us your questions about piercings

You can now follow Piercing Jewellery Shop on Twitter – @PierceJewellery

We want to share our vast knowledge of piercings and piercing jewellery with you to help you chose the right products and get the most from your body adornments. We have years of experience here at Piercing Jewellery Shop so fire your questions to us on twitter with the Hashtag #PiercingQuestions

Check out our extensive knowledge area which has Frequently Asked Questions, a Piercing A-Z and everything you need to know about piercing jewellery types and materials, piercing maintenance, after-care, body piercing terminology and much more. 

We also have an guide to all the different style of body piercings and jewellery available – fully illustrated and linked to our range of quality jewellery products.

Ear piercing names

We’ve also got a Facebook page where you can share your Piercing Questions with us and keep up with our updates, offers and piercing news.


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What’s the best choice of jewellery for a using “in ear” headphones with a tragus piercing?

tragus piercing

Using earphones with a tragus piercing can be painful and awkward. Labret studs with a flat back generally settle faster than barbells with balls. This is due to the fact that they will get bumped less and are less likely to catch on in-ear headphones. The flat back will also cause less pressure to the tragus piercing as it spreads the load across the back of the tragus, in comparison to the ball which will press directly onto the piercing itself. Healing time is usually somewhere between 2-6 months, although in some cases it can take longer. It’s also a good idea to give your headphones a clean before using them, as dirt and bacteria from your pockets or bag won’t help the healing process. Check out our in-depth guide to piercing jewellery types and what to wear.

Labret studs


Initially designed to fit in the many different Labret, Lip and Cheek piercings, labret studs are now used extensively in many other piercing including the Tragus, Ear Lobe, Ear Rim and Conch. The ball is threaded and removable and can be replaced with a large and varied selection of accessories. Choose which material and style from our large selection of quality jewellery. 

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