How to deal with a troublesome piercing.

So, you’ve decided what you want, made your appointment, endured the pain and now you have a new piercing. Unfortunately, it’s been a little while and maybe your piercing isn’t looking as pretty as it could be, or it’s causing you problems. What do you do now? Well, here are some guidelines on how to care for a troublesome piercing.

Cartilage Piercings

These piercings especially can take anything up to 6 months to settle. Firstly, it is completely normal for your cartilage piercing to still be a little swollen / crusty after a few weeks. Especially if it has been fiddled with, or banged in that time (I’m not looking at you, I swear).

Sometimes, in the case of a bang, or sometimes just by chance, a hypertrophic lump can form on a cartilage piercing. While unsightly, these are incredibly common and definitely not something to panic about. First, identify your lumpy friend. A hypertrophic lump will have the following characteristics:

  1. Light pink or fleshy in colour.
  2. Often forms in a ring, or a dome to the side of the piercing site.
  3. Flaky and/or dry.
  4. Itchy.
  5. Seriously annoying.

Now that you have identified it, you can start to care for it. As soon as you notice this type of scarring on your piercing, RESTART YOUR SEA SALT SOAKS. You can find instructions on how to make your sea salt soak here.

There are various opinions floating around the internet, with some people recommending adding lavender, tea tree or chamomile to your soak. Personally, I have found a little lavender oil in your soak can help soothe the piercing, however I would not recommend doing it in every soak, as the alcohol in the essential oil may dry your piercing out too much and cause other problems. I do not recommend tea tree for the same reason. The sea salt soak is the main thing that helps, and I would advise you to avoid adding anything to your soak without consulting your piercer.

The main things with these lumps is to be patient. Keep those soaks going and avoid touching/fiddling/banging your piercing. In most cases, it will gradually go down as long as it’s well cared for. However, if you are getting to the end of your tether, or are unduly worried, then ALWAYS make an appointment to see your piercer. They will be able to have a look, and reassure you. Also, they might have some tricks up their sleeve, which can include hydrogen peroxide applied topically. In our experience, lancing the lump does more harm than good, so as a rule, we do not recommend this course of action.

Navel Piercings

Again, these piercings can take some time to settle properly, as they are in a ‘high risk’ area with regards to getting caught, fiddled with or banged. There are a few things you can do to sooth a sore navel piercing:

  1. Make sure that you aren’t wearing anything that’s likely to get caught on your new piercing, or put too much pressure on it (tight high waisted jeans / tights are generally a no no).
  2. Let it ‘breathe’ as often as possible, and be very wary of knocking it.
  3. Usually, these piercings can be quite ‘crusty’ in the initial healing stage, so it is very important to do your sea salt soaks regularly and keep it nice and clean.
  4. If it is swollen, then a dose of ibuprofen (assuming you are able to take it) can help reduce this. Please ensure you refer to the packaging and take the correct dosage!

Facial Piercings

With facial piercings, there are a few things that are usually the culprit.

  1. The introduction of make up/cleansers/exfoliators/moisturisers to the piercing site.
  2. Grubby fingers, whether yours or your children’s. 😉
  3. Pets coming into contact with your face.
  4. A dirty pillowcase will definitely aggravate things. Make sure you keep your pillowcase nice and clean for at least the first 6 – 8 weeks.

Generally, assuming you keep these things away from the piercing site, and restart your sea salt soaks for a couple of weeks things will settle down.

I hope the above information has been useful to you. An upset piercing is no fun, but with the proper care and attention most issues will resolve quickly. Sometimes, just being a bit rundown or ill can set a well healed piercing off and if this is the case (I think you know what I’m going to say here) restart your sea salt soaks! Above all, if you are at all worried about your piercing, make an appointment with your piercer to get professional advice.


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