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Nose Rings & Keloids

by
author image Denise Kelly
Denise Kelly is the copy editor for a small publisher in Paris, France. Before that she was a copy editor at daily newspapers, starting in graduate school. She has been writing professionally since 1996. She has a Master of Science in journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in political science.
Nose Rings & Keloids
Woman with a nose ring Photo Credit Chad Baker/Jason Reed/Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

Any time the skin is torn, there is the potential for scarring and other damage. A nose piercing is a significant "tear," going fully through a thick piece of skin, whether it's a nostril piercing or one through the septum. While keloids are most common around ear piercings, they can also form around a nose ring.

Definition

An article by Julius Metts in the "Western Journal of Medicine" describes a keloid as a tumor that forms when the skin's fibrous tissue grows at an abnormal rate in response to an injury. Body piercings can cause keloids, as can surgery, cuts, vaccinations and acne. They are more likely to form after injuries of the ear, back and upper chest.

Risk Factors

Some people have skin that is naturally predisposed to getting keloids. Those with darker skin, especially of African descent, are particularly vulnerable to their development. If you've gotten keloids before, whether from piercings or other injuries, you should avoid new piercings. Another keloid is likely to form.

Characteristics

Keloids will manifest as large discolored bumps next to the piercing hole in the nose. They might itch or even hurt, and the latter is more common if the nostril or septum swells, making the nose ring put more pressure on it. Since there isn't much blood flow to a keloid, their presence can make new piercings take longer to heal, according to the Body Jewellery Shop.

Treatment

Metts says that one treatment for keloids is freezing the skin, then injecting triamcinolone, a steroid, directly into the bump. The dermatologist might have to follow up with monthly shots of corticosteroids to completely flatten the keloid. If the cryotherapy and steroids don't work, surgery may be necessary. A shot of triamcinolone would then be injected into the site to keep the keloid from reforming.

The Body Jewellery Shop offers more natural treatments. It says that soaking the site of the piercing in hot salt water and using compresses can treat keloids. It also reports that many people find that some natural oils, such as tea tree, germseed and even extra virgin olive, will repair scars from nose piercings.

Prevention

Scarring is more likely to occur the more trauma the skin undergoes. Have your nose pierced by a professional in a sanitary setting, and follow his instructions for care. This will also help prevent infection, which is more common in nose piercings because of the constant presence of mucus in the area.

Even after it is completely healed -- which can take six to 12 weeks, according to Dr. Susan Taylor's website -- keep it protected from being pulled or snagged, for example on clothing. More scar tissue forms with each tear, even if it's a tiny one that you don't notice.

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