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How to Heal Cartilage Piercing Bumps

Three Methods:Using Professionally Recommended TreatmentsUsing Unverified Home RemediesPreventing Bumps

Cartilage piercings on ears and noses are prone to getting "bumps" - small, raised scars around the exit holes of the piercing. Sometimes they are caused by loose or incorrect jewelry, by rough handling, or by piercing with a piercing gun. Often it is just bad luck. Although these bumps aren't dangerous, they can feel unpleasant and itchy. If you want to get rid of a cartilage piercing bump, you will have to have patience as they can take a while to disappear. However, if you are consistent, they should disappear within two to three months, and your piercing will be good as new. See Step 1 below to get started.

Method 1
Using Professionally Recommended Treatments

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    Use a salt soak. A salt soak is the safest, most effective way to deal with cartilage bumps - it will reduce the size of the bump and help it to disappear over time. To use:
    • Add 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt to one cup of boiling water. Stir until the salt is completely dissolved.
    • When the salt water has cooled slightly (you want it to be as hot as possible without burning your skin), dip a clean cotton pad into the cup.
    • Hold the soaked cotton pad against the bump for two minutes. You can leave your jewelry in your ear (or nose) as you do this, but avoid pulling or pushing it around.
    • Repeat the salt soak twice a day until the bump has disappeared.[1]
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    Use a chamomile salt soak. The addition of chamomile tea to the salt soak helps to soothe and calm the skin around the piercing, making it a good option for people with sensitive skin. To prepare:
    • Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of salt in boiling water, as described above. Add a chamomile tea bag to the water and allow to brew for five minutes.
    • Once the tea has brewed, dip a cotton pad in the solution and press it against the bump for five minutes. Do this twice a day.
    • Alternatively, some people brew the chamomile teabag in hot water, then remove the teabag and allow it to cool slightly before pressing it directly to the ear.
    • Make sure you are using pure chamomile tea with no added flavorings, and avoid this method if you have a ragweed allergy.
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    Make a compress using breathable tape. Using breathable tape to press down on the bump is an example of compression therapy. This method should only be used on fully healed piercings, as it could irritate those that are still healing. To use:
    • Buy some breathable medical tape (such as Micropore) at your local drugstore. Try to find a color that matches your skin tone.
    • Use a clean scissors to cut a small strip of the tape. It should cover the entire bump and about 1-2 mm of skin on all sides.
    • Tightly cover the bump with the strip of tape, so the bump feels compressed. Wear the tape continuously, replacing it with fresh tape when it begins to look grubby.
    • Use this method for two to three months. Hopefully, the bump will have disappeared after this time. If not, switch to a different method.
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    See a professional piercer. If you'd like a second opinion on the bump, see a reputable local piercing artist. They will be able to examine the bump and give you further advice on treatment options.
    • As bumps are often caused by wearing loose or overly large jewelry; the piercing professional will also be able to pick out a better ring or stud for your piercing.
    • The bumps may also be caused by jewelry made from the wrong materials. Ideally, jewelry for cartilage piercings should be made from titanium or a biocompatible plastic.[2]
    • If you prefer, you could also see a doctor or dermatologist, but it's important to keep in mind that they do not have as much experience in dealing with piercings as professional piercers do.

Method 2
Using Unverified Home Remedies

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    Use tea tree oil. Some people claim to have had success in healing piercing bumps with tea tree oil, which is a common ingredient in many home remedies due to it's antibacterial properties.
    • Make sure to buy 100% pure tea tree oil, as this is the least likely to cause irritation.
    • If your skin is not sensitive, just apply a drop or two of the tea tree oil onto a cotton swab and apply directly to the bump. Do this twice a day until the bump disappears.
    • If you do have sensitive skin, it's a good idea to dilute the tea tree oil (which is very strong) with a drop or two of water before applying it to the ear.
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    Use aspirin. Aspirin is believed to be effective in the treatment of cartilage piercing bumps as it opens up the blood vessels beneath the skin, thereby speeding up the healing process.
    • Place an aspirin tablet in a small bowl and crush it with the back of a spoon. Add a couple of drops of water and mix until it forms a paste.
    • Apply the paste directly onto the piercing bump then leave it to dry for ten minutes. Rinse off the hardened paste with some warm water.
    • Repeat this process two or three times a day for best results.[3]
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    Use lemon juice. Lemon juice is another home remedy some people have found effective in the treatment of cartilage bumps.
    • Squeeze the juice from half a lemon, then mix to half strength with water. Dip a q-tip in the lemon water and apply to the bump.
    • Repeat two or three times a day until you see an improvement in the size off the bump.
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    Use honey. Honey contains natural healing properties and is often used in home remedies for the treatment of scars and burns.
    • Therefore, it could potentially help with the treatment of cartilage piercing bumps. Try applying a dab of honey to the bump, two or three times a day.[4]

Method 3
Preventing Bumps

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    Make sure your jewelry fits properly. Loose jewelry can move around inside the piercing, disturbing the cartilage and causing a bump to form.
    • Therefore it's important to get jewelry that fits the piercing perfectly. A professional piercer from a reputable salon can help you with this.
    • You should also avoid wearing earrings with butterfly backs, as these are more prone to causing bumps.
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    Never get pierced with a piercing gun. Piercing guns should never be used for cartilage piercings. However, some cheaper or less-professional piercing places still use them.
    • Piercing guns jam the jewelry through the skin, which distorts the ear cartilage underneath and often causes bumps to form.
    • Therefore, if you plan on getting a new piercing, avoid getting it done at a place that still uses piercing guns.
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    Avoid bumping or knocking your piercing. Frequently bumping things off your piercing or getting it caught in hair or clothes causes the jewelry to move around and can lead to bumps.
    • Tie long hair back as much as possible (particularly when sleeping) to prevent it from snagging in the jewelry.
    • And in general, just try to be more aware of your piercing and do your best to protect it. Don't fiddle with it or touch it constantly.


  • Always wash your hands before touching your piercing or beginning your treatment.
  • Your sea salt solution should taste no saltier than tears.
  • Don't touch or press the bump, it can still get infected.
  • Be careful not to bump your piercings, and clean pillow cases and phones often.
  • It may take a while for any of these methods to start working so be patient, make sure you are consistent and regularly treat your ear otherwise you'll find that any slight improvement will go back to its original state.
  • Captive bead rings can be much easier to clean than studs and are much less likely to get caught or snagged. You can also get your cartilage pierced with a needle at most tattoo studios. This is the most hygienic and least painful method of piercing.
  • Do not use undiluted tea tree oil on your skin.
  • Use the lemon juice with hot water and apply to the bump.
  • Combining lemon juice and Aspro clear can help and only takes 10 minutes a day, or you can apply before bed and wash off in the morning.
  • Ask you piercer about Emu Oil. It helps.
  • If you sleep on your side, you can avoid sleeping directly on the piercing by using a neck pillow. This will make sleeping more comfortable, and make sure your piercing will not be irritated.


  • Never "pop" a bump, even if it's pus-filled. Gentle pressure with a cotton swab is fine, but squeezing a bump can bruise the tissue around it, not to mention push more germs inside the wound.
  • If you dye your hair cover the piercing with a plaster or surgical tape until it has healed to make sure that it doesn't get irritated
  • Keloids are scars that grow beyond the perimeter of the piercing. They are usually darker than the surrounding skin, and can reoccur after being removed. People with darker skin, especially African Americans, are most likely to develop keloids. If you believe you have a keloid, consult a doctor or dermatologist.
  • Don't use Dettol, hydrogen peroxide, bleach, rubbing alcohol, or another harsh antiseptic to treat bumps. Though these solutions are great for killing germs, they can greatly irritate piercings.[5] If you must use Dettol or another such solution, dilute it with sterile boiled water to lessen its irritating effect.
  • If you get an infected piercing, do not remove the jewelry, this may be the only path of drainage, and removing it may cause a more serious infection and trap the existing infection inside your body. See a doctor, antibiotics may be necessary. A doctor may install a "wick" to keep the wound open for drainage if they need to remove the jewelry. After the infection is gone, it is safe to remove the jewelry if you no longer want the piercing.

Things You'll Need

  • Sea salt, without iodine
  • Chamomile tea bags.
  • Breathable medical tape
  • Tea tree essential oil
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Uncoated aspirin, lemon juice or honey

Article Info

Categories: Ear Piercing | Nose Piercing