Keloids on nose piercing sites or any part of the body can be difficult to get rid of and some may even return after the treatment. Treatment, however, does help reduce the size, irritation, and tenderness, and softens the nose piercing bump.
Treating keloids is not an easy task, so doctors usually follow combination treatments for better results, with options such as:
- Corticosteroid injections
- Corticosteroids may be injected directly into keloids, which helps shrink and soften the nose piercing bump. A few shots of corticosteroids are required to get the results.
- According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 50 to 80 percent of keloids shrink after these injections, but there may be a recurrence after a few years.
- Retinoid creams
- Studies suggest that the use of retinoid creams on nose piercing bumps may reduce the size and itchiness of the keloids.
- Cryotherapy works better on small keloids, which involves using very low temperatures to get rid of nose piercing bumps.
- By this method, the size and hardness of the keloid are reduced. It may take a few sessions of cryotherapy to get the desired results.
- Laser treatment
- Laser treatment can reduce the size, redness, and discoloration of the keloid, which is usually done along with other treatments.
- A surgical thread is tied at the base of the nose piercing bump tightly so that it may cut the keloid, which eventually falls off.
- This is done for large keloids and keloids with a stalk.
- Surgical removal
- Pressure earring or dressing
- This treatment is done after the surgical removal of a keloid to prevent reoccurrence.
- The surgical area is put under pressure to decrease the blood flow in that area, which prevents the development of a new keloid.
- Almost 90 to 100 percent of patients may benefit from this treatment.
Piercing bump vs. keloid
Besides keloids, other skin changes can occur at piercing sites. Fortunately, many of these changes are not always a cause for concern. These harmless bumps typically go away over time, whereas keloid scars continue to get bigger.
Nose piercing bumps can be caused by various factors, such as an allergic reaction to certain studs and jewelry. In such cases, switching your jewelry to titanium (a hypoallergenic jewelry metal) may be necessary.
If you have a history of keloids, tell your piercer before getting any type of jewelry piercing. Your piercer may be able to recommend special soap or offer a saline solution to clean your piercing. Your piercer may also recommend the use of tea tree oil for proper aftercare to reduce blisters and inflammation.
What is a keloid?
A keloid is a scar developed on the skin following a skin injury. It is a result of excessive scar tissue formation that continues even after the wound has healed, and appears as a raised area on the skin, which may appear purple initially and darken later.
Once the skin gets injured, the healing process starts right away. Skin injuries can include:
- Nose piercing
- Ear piercing
Usually, the process of healing stops at a point where there is no opening or damage to the skin and underlying tissues. However, there may be aggressive or over-healing in some people, which leaves a bumpy scar on the skin called a keloid.
A keloid generally does not subside on its own, and it should be removed by a dermatologist.
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What are the signs and symptoms of keloids?
Keloids can develop on any part of the body but most frequently develop on the following:
The size of a keloid scar may range from 1 to 12 inches.
A keloid scar may have a few characteristic features, which include:
- Growth: A keloid scar may take three months to a year or even longer appear after any skin damage. They may keep growing for months and years thereafter.
- Appearance: A keloid scar is a flat raised bumpy surface, some keloids feel soft and squishy or hard and rubbery compared to normal skin. Though it appears as a pinkish purple raised skin, it turns darker gradually than the normal complexion of the skin.
- Itchy and irritated: A keloid scar tends to be itchy, painful, and tender while it is growing, and these may subside once it develops completely. When the scar is under friction from rubbing of clothes it may get irritated.
- Mobility: Keloids are rigid and usually fixed to the region. However, certain keloids on the neck, ear, or abdomen may have a stalk and show some movement with slight touches.
What are the causes and risk factors of keloid formation?
A keloid is developed after any type of skin injury, including:
- Body piercings (nose and ear piercings)
- Puncture wounds
- Insect bites
- Injection sites
- Surgical scars
- Severe acne
- Tightly braided hair
There are certain rare cases where they develop without any possible skin injury, which are called spontaneous keloids.
The risk factors of keloids development include:
- Genetic predisposition: History of keloids runs in the family.
- Ethnicity: African, Asian, or Hispanic descent.
- Age: Young people aged 10 to 30 years old. However, mostly, it is observed in people aged in their 20s.
- Pregnant women
- People with dark skin
It is recommended that people who are at risk of developing keloids should avoid piercings and tattoos.
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Michigan Medicine. Keloid Scars. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/abp9862
American Academy of Family Physicians. Keloids. https://familydoctor.org/condition/keloids/
NYU Langone Hospitals. Medical Treatment for Scars & Keloids. https://nyulangone.org/conditions/scars-keloids/treatments/medical-treatment-for-scars-keloids
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