So you finally made the decision to get your nostril pierced! But even though you’ve been following proper aftercare instructions, a couple of days or weeks down the road the unthinkable has happened; a red, ugly, pimply, wart-looking thing has formed next to the piercing. Don’t panic, this complication is somewhat common.
These unsightly bumps are quite often hypergranulation tissue (or a granuloma) caused by excessive trauma or moisture. Trauma to nose piercings include accidentally knocking the nose piercing or pulling the nose jewelry out.
Elayne Angel, author of “The Piercing Bible,” describes granulomas as looking “like raw hamburger” – red and raw. Granulomas are benign overgrowths of regular body tissue. They bleed easily but are often not particularly tender; they may drain clear or yellow fluid. Many times, they can be successfully treated and the piercing may be maintained.
Should one develop, leave your jewelry in place. The Association of Professional Piercers suggests that removing jewelry should be a last resort, as it may lead to further complications down the line, including scarring and abscesses.
Frequent hot compresses using a saline solution oftentimes cause spontaneous drainage. To make the saline solution, use 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt to 8 ounces of warm water, as warm as your skin can handle. Apply the solution to the bump using clean paper towels or clean gauze pads for 5-10 minutes, three to four times per day. If you’re particularly talented at holding your breath, you may even soak your nose directly in the solution. Do this soak or compresses until you see that the bump has shrunk exponentially. It typically takes about four to five days to get to that point.
If hot compresses don’t work, try a topical application of a paste made from water and aspirin. Grind an aspirin in a clean, small bowl or shot glass until it’s a fine powder. Then, soak a wooden toothpick in distilled water. Shake all excess water from the toothpick, and then stir the powdered aspirin with it, allowing the aspirin to absorb water from the pick. Apply the paste to only the tissue with a clean swab. Allow the paste to sit for no more than ten minutes, and then rinse well. Do this for two to three times a day for a week. Be aware this can burn your skin, so discontinue if irritation results.
Nose piercing bumps will respond well to the above remedies and treatment options in most cases. Seek medical assistance if you’ve tried home treatment with no improvement after two or three weeks, or if the lump seems to be getting larger instead of smaller. If you’re running a fever, see your doctor as soon as possible. Do the same if there are dark red streaks on your skin near the piercing site or if there is a large amount of thick, smelly discharge.