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Piercing Bumps vs Keloid: 9 Symptoms Of Keloid

- Written By

DR Mahnoor Chaudhary , Pharmacist

Updated on

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts. Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument. This article contains scientific references. Read more about our process.

Piercing Bumps vs Keloid

Body piercings can sometimes lead to skin issues that demand our attention. Among these concerns, piercing bumps vs keloid are two commonly encountered problems. While both can impact the area surrounding a piercing, they possess distinct characteristics and require different treatment approaches.


In this article, we will specifically concentrate on keloids, empowering you with a comprehensive understanding of their symptoms.

By proactively identifying these symptoms, you can take decisive measures to address keloids and promote a successful healing process. Join us as we explore the nine key symptoms of keloids, providing you with the essential knowledge for a worry-free and fulfilling piercing experience.

What is keloid?

A keloid is a type of raised scar that forms at the site of an injury or surgical incision. It occurs due to an overgrowth of collagen, a vital protein in our body’s connective tissues. Keloids extend beyond the original wound boundaries and can be larger than the initial injury but Sometimes, another skin condition can look like a keloid. For instance, if someone has an allergic skin reaction to the gold or other metal present in their earrings, the swelling caused by it can look like a keloid.

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Causes of keloid?

As we’ve known, a keloid is an abnormal type of scar that forms when the body produces too much collagen during the healing process. The exact cause of keloids is not fully understood by the medical professionals, but there are a few factors that contribute to their development:

1. Genetic Factor: Keloids tend to run in families, so there is likely a genetic component present that makes some people more prone to developing them.

2. Skin trauma or injury: Keloids are often formed after a skin injury or trauma, such as a cut, burn, or surgery. The body’s response to the injury can lead to producing excessive collagen  and the formation of a keloid (1).

3. Skin tension: Areas of the body where the skin is under tension, like the chest or shoulders, are more likely to develop keloids. Continuous stretching of the skin can contribute to their formation. Its important to know that whenever there’s stretching of skin, a keloid is more likely to develop (2).

4. Hormonal factor: Changes in hormone levels during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause may influence the likelihood of keloid development.

“It’s important to remember that not everyone who experiences skin trauma will develop keloids. The specific interactions of these factors and the exact mechanisms behind keloid formation are still being studied by medical professionals”.

Comparison of piercing bumps vs keloid

Yes, keloids can be related to piercing bumps. A piercing bump is a common term used to describe a raised area or swelling that can occur around a piercing. While not all piercing bumps are keloids, keloids can be developed as a complication of a piercing.

When a piercing is made, the body perceives it as an injury and starts the healing process. In some cases, the body produces an excessive amount of collagen during the healing process, leading to the formation of a keloid. This can result in a raised, thickened, and sometimes painful bump around the piercing.

It’s worth noting that not all piercing bumps are keloids. Other factors, such as infection, irritation, or hypertrophic scarring (which is different from keloids), can also contribute to the development of a bump around a piercing. 

Where to expect a keloid to form?

There are some parts of body on which a keloid is most probably to develop on:

  • Ear 
  • Chest
  • Jawline
  • Shoulder

Because a keloid develops after you injure your skin, you can get this scar elsewhere. For example, a woman who has developed a keloid on her belly after having a cesarean section (C-section), hysterectomy, or other surgery in this area.

Navel piercing can also cause a keloid on the belly.

Men who have dark  skin tone and shave their beard area may develop keloids on their face.

What are the symptoms of a keloid?

If you notice a bump around a piercing that is causing concern, here are some symptoms to tell if it really is a keloid.

1) Appearance 

After the  skin is being injured, it’s likely to take 2 to 12 months or longer to see the first signs of a keloid. The first sign is usually the thickening of skin (3).

2) Growth

When it began, the keloid looks  like a pimple. It continues to grow. Most keloids continue to grow for weeks or months after they appear. A few grow for years. Growth tends to be slow. Occasionally, a keloid grows quickly.

3) Causes pain, itch, or burning

While a keloid is developing, it may feel painful. It may itch or cause a burning sensation. Symptoms tend to end when the keloid stops growing, but not always. Though some people have experienced sensations like pain and burning even after years (4).

4) Change in color

The color of a keloid can differ from color to color of skin. When a keloid first appears, it’s often red, pink, or slightly darker than your natural skin tone. As it grows, it may darken. Some become lighter in the center and darker at the edges.

5) Change in color after spending time in the sun

Some people have experienced their keloid to darken noticeably after they spent time in the sun. This darkening can be permanent.

6) Variation in shape of keloids 

Keloids are of many shapes and sizes. Most keloids are either round, oval, or oblong. On the chest, arms, or legs, this scar is usually raised and has a flat surface. A keloid on the ear, neck, or belly may hang from the skin.

7) Size

The size of a keloid can vary from the size of a pimple to larger than a football.


When you touch a keloid, you’re most likely to feel hard and rubbery or soft and doughy texture. A few keloids have a texture that’s somewhere in between hard and soft.

9) Number of keloids

A person can develop one or two keloids at the same time. Some people get several. You’re more likely to develop many keloids after acne or chickenpox clears, but not always.

Problems that comes with keloids

While most keloids are harmless, they  can interfere with your daily life.

1) Restrict your movement 

When a keloid covers a large area or develops over a joint, the hardened, tight scar tissue often limits how far you can move. If this happens, it may affect your ability to reach, walk, and do other activities. If a keloid develops near lips, it can restrict your mouth movement 

2) Bleeding and infection 

A keloid rarely opens up on its own. Like the rest of your skin, you may see a keloid bleed if you injure it. An open keloid can become infected. If the wound on a keloid fails to heal, consult a dermatologist immediately.

3) Feeling sad or upset

Having a keloid can be hard on your self-esteem. These scars can be noticeable. Most people who seek treatment for a keloid do so because they dislike how they look with it.

Keloid diagnosis and treatment

As we know, having a keloid can be stressful. Many people who have keloids want to know about treatment. A keloid can feel uncomfortable, itchy, or painful. If a keloid develops over a shoulder or other joint, it can limit how far you can move. Many people simply dislike the way keloids look.

If you’re concerned that you might have keloid here’s what to expect as a treatment:

1) Injections of corticosteroids

Keloid treatments often involve the administration of injections, which aid in the reduction of scar size when directly applied to the keloid. A series of injections is typically required, with initial injections providing relief and softening the keloid.

Approximately 50% to 80% of injected keloids experience shrinkage, although many of them may regrow within five years. To enhance the outcome, dermatologists may complement these injections with additional treatments such as keloid surgery or prescribe pressure garments.

Corticosteroid injections prove particularly beneficial for keloids located on the ear. In the case of keloids on the earlobe, wearing a specialized earring that applies pressure can help prevent their recurrence. This earring, known as a pressure earring, is highly recommended.

Individuals with darker skin tones should be aware that corticosteroid injections may result in the development of light spots at the injection site. To prevent this side effect, dermatologists can employ alternative medications.

2) Surgical method

The surgical removal of keloids can be performed by your dermatologist. Although it may appear to be a permanent solution, it is crucial to note that nearly all keloids (close to 100%) tend to recur following this treatment.

To minimize the chances of keloid recurrence after surgical removal, additional measures are usually taken. Wearing a pressure garment or undergoing cryosurgery  can help reduce the likelihood of keloid reappearance.

In some cases, patients receive a series of corticosteroid injections prior to the surgery to lower the risk of keloid recurrence. For instance, your dermatologist might administer corticosteroid injections every 2 to 3 weeks for four sessions before the surgery.

After keloid surgery, the use of a pressure earring, dressing, or garment is often recommended to restrict blood flow and prevent keloid formation. It is worth noting that adhering to the instructions for wearing these devices can be challenging as they tend to cause discomfort. To achieve desired outcomes, patients are typically advised to wear the device for 12 to 20 hours per day for several months.

Among the options, a pressure earring is typically the most convenient choice.

Watch this short video to understand in deep how to get rid of keloid?

Source / Shawn Pierce

The bottom line

Keloids cannot be reliably eliminated by any treatment method. What may be effective for one patient might show no results for another. Consequently, there is no guaranteed treatment that can permanently prevent keloid recurrence.

Due to these challenges, medical experts are actively engaged in advancing their understanding of keloid causes and developing more efficient treatment approaches. The current landscape offers an unprecedented range of treatment options under development.

If a novel treatment shows potential to assist you, your dermatologist may discuss it with you, particularly if previous treatments have been ineffective.

How we reviewed this article

Trend Of Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy

Tripathi S, Soni K, Agrawal P. et al. Hypertrophic scars and keloids: a review and current treatment modalities.

Kah Mun Yoong N. Keloid and hypertrophic scar. DermNet. September 2022.

MedlinePlus. Keloids.

American Academy of Dermatology Association. Keloid scars: Overview.

American Academy of Dermatology Association. Keloid scars: Causes.

American Academy of Dermatology Association. Keloid scars: Diagnosis and treatment.