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TheOnlyException's avatar

Is my cartilage piercing infected?

Asked by TheOnlyException (2172 points ) April 12th, 2010

Sorry to gross you out this fine morning/evening wherever the hell you are..
But this morning I noticed that one of my two cartilage piercings had a tiny little bump next to it, which I immediately recognised as a cyst.
I left it alone, and just now I noticed it had burst, it was really tiny, some white fluid (pus?) came out and I cleaned it up as best I could, it bled a tiny bit as well. It didn’t hurt at all, I wouldn’t even have noticed if I hadn’t looked in the mirror.

Also I was at the doctor this morning for something separate, and got antibiotics for my sinusitis (I feel like an OAP..), amoxicillin, for a week, would this also work in preventing/counteracting any infection in my cartilage? (If so a happy coincidence!)

I was told by people/ the piercer (AKA heavily tattooed lard arse) that I should soak it in sea salts and that small cysts are normal for up to 7 months afterwards as long as they dont get overly large or painful. The place was a bit dodgy though as I got it done with friends on a whim… alcohol was involved. So is this advice right? Or should I be worried.

Also heard that as a rule of thumb you NEVER take a piercing out of an infected ear.. something about it moving the infection deeper INTO the hole??

Slightly confused right now.. But should I do something? Doctor isn’t an option for another week or so.. but should I leave the earring in or not? Watch it and see if something bad happens???

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11 Answers

gemiwing's avatar

I would leave the earring in, clean the area with soap and water twice daily and wait. You already have an infection in your body so your immune system is weakened which could have led to the cyst. (not a doctor’s opinion)

If you notice yellow puss, then I would become concerned. Or a truly foul smell.

OneMoreMinute's avatar

How recent was the piercing done?

What kind of metal in the post? it could be a reaction to the post?

When I had my ears pierced decades ago, I was told to use rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball several times a day. I was never told about salt water.

Randy's avatar

Sounds kinda like a keloid that you maybe opened up. Is the bump gone now? Here is some info on keloids. Basically, they suck really bad and are a pain to get rid of. They tend to spring up on people often when they pierce their cartilage. They can be smaller than the one I showed you in the picture but they have been known to get extreme.

Sea salt will help the wound when it’s healing but not really so much after and it won’t do anything for a keloid.

I doubt it’s infected. Is there any swelling around the hole? Usually there is swelling when a piercing is infected. It can be moderate to severe swelling. The antibiotics will help if it is though.

As a rule of thumb, taking an earring out is actually better for an infection but there is a greater chance for you’re hole to close up. If you want to keep the piercing, leave it in. It might take longer to heal but you will keep the hole.

rahm_sahriv's avatar

Keep it clean, salt water does work- I used it on my lip and nose when I had it done.

No matter how clean I keep piercings, I will get a period where they get infected, that is just my body trying to expel the metal, but it usually clears up after I haul out the bactricin.

I have tried several times to get an industrial done (I have a mohawk so there is hair around it), but have had to take it out each time because of infection that would not clear up despite the salt water, bactine, bactricin, hydrogen peroxide and other attempts at treatment. Other cartilage piercings do just fine, after that initial bout of infection. It could just be your body.

As for not taking a piercing out…. bullshit. If it is bad enough, take it out and cleanse the area. If it does not look better the next day, or you notice red streaking from the infected area, go to the ER immediately.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Hmmmm, not sure. I once had the upper part of my ear pierced and it wouldn’t heal properly. I kept it clean and tried to keep the piercing, but apparently the piercer did it wrong or something. It formed a giant knot around the piercing so I finally gave up and removed it. It’s been about 10 years now and there is still a small knot there. Had the opposite ear pierced later at a different parlor, and it has been perfectly fine. Didn’t even have to worry about infection.

You sure the needle was clean and he’d washed his hands properly?

Randy's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Yours is, without a doubt, a keloid.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Randy It may be, but I don’t worry about it because it’s not noticeable at all. It’s very small, and only on the back of my ear. You don’t really even see it when my hair is pulled up. At the time, however, it was roughly the size of a pea. Now, I would say about the size of the tip of a pen, without discoloration. Regardless, it doesn’t bother me at all, and most of the time I forget it’s there.

TheOnlyException's avatar

@Randy DEFINITELY not a keloid. i looked into that. that is scar tissue building up i think? it was pus filled and soft, definitely a cyst. thank you for your informative answer though :)

TheOnlyException's avatar

@OneMoreMinute It was done about about a month ago. all has been fine, been cleaning it, pain went away after the first 3 days. this is the first (and hopefully last) problem.

deni's avatar

this happened to me in every cartilage piercing i ever had. i never thought anything of it and it never got worse. in fact i took my piercing out a year or so ago and there is still a tiny bump. no skin off my back though lol. i think its very common.

TheOnlyException's avatar

@deni thats good to hear :) yeah the bump has gone now, and it has healed nicely.

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