Piercing Bump Vs. Keloid: How to tell the Difference?


A piercing bump is a fairly common, well-known bodily response to a piercing puncture. These bumps, though, aren’t the cause of concern. Routinely these bumps are confused with keloids an entirely different skin issue with a distinct treatment plan. Even though piercing bumps and keloid scars might seem similar to you at a glance, both can be distinguished significantly.

“Piercing bumps tend to appear quickly and do not expand in size whereas, on the other hand, keloids form gradually and have the ability to expand in size over a period.”

What are keloids?

Though initially piercing keloid and piercing bump is the same in appearance, but they are  completely different. An ear piercing keloid is a type of scar that is much more pronounced than most of scar tissues and is often the result of the skin experiencing some type of trauma, which means it’s common to have a keloid after a piercing. A keloid is usually caused by fibrous tissue overgrowth. Skin cells produce excessive collagen in response to injury, resulting in the formation of keloid. These usually develop 3 to 12 months following the initial injury or piercing. They may vary in colors from pink, red, purple, or brown and later get darker.

also vary in texture from soft and doughy or hard and rubbery. Other symptoms may be experienced by the person suffering from a keloid.

  •      Pain and discomfort
  •      Sensation of itching

Piercing Bump vs Keloid

The point discussed below can help you in differentiate between a piercing bump and a keloid.

  • Timing: A piercing bump is a temporary swollen area. In other words, it won’t last forever. It will reduce gradually and disappear within a few weeks. In contrast, the keloid is a permanent bump. It might continue to increase at a slow or rapid rate over time.
  • Location on your skin: A piercing lump develops under the surface of your skin. So, it will only be noticeable when the area is touched. On the other hand, a keloid develops on the surface of the skin, making it much more visible.
  • Space: A piercing bump usually develops on or around the piercing hole and appears as a tiny red or pink colored ball beneath the piercing area. A keloid will most likely spread beyond the piercing site as it grows.

Treating piercing bumps and keloid

When it comes to treating a bump or a keloid, the procedure is completely different and at this point, you will realize just how serious keloids are!

There is no real treatment for piercing bumps, especially since they are just the body’s natural response, and there’s a chance they will go away over time. So, just by keeping the piercing site clean with a sterile saline solution, it will slowly go away.

On the other hand, keloids require more care and attention. The treatment may vary as per the severity.

  • Corticosteroids can be advised to help in shrinking the keloids.
  • Keloids can be removed surgically.
  • Laser surgery helps in flattening the keloid.

Take Away!

If you do indeed have a piercing bump or keloid, and you are not clear about it. You can visit Dr. Amit Mulay’s Clinic in Pune. He is an expert in treating many skin conditions, including keloids. So, if you looking for keloid treatment in Pune, book an appointment with us.

Dr. Amit Mulay-cosmetic surgeon in Pune

Dr. Amit Mulay

MBBS, FCPS, DNB (General & Plastic Surgery)

With over 15 years of experience in the field of Plastic Surgery and its subspecialties, he specialises in reconstructive microsurgery and has been performing vascularised/free tissue transfers(Free Flaps).
Bestowed with the Young Investigator Award at the International Society of Burn Injuries (ISBI) from Australia, he is a well-known plastic surgeon in Pune & PCMC with a keen interest in the head, neck, and breast cancer reconstruction, hand surgery, reconstruction of upper and lower limb trauma and cosmetic surgery for facial scars, breast, and nose.