Infected Industrial Piercing Symptoms and Treatments


Do you have an infected industrial piercing and you do not know what to do about it? Or would you like to know the signs and symptoms, how to heal, clean or treat an infection including one that has a bump? We have all that and much more!

Industrial or scaffold piercing is where two holes are connected with a jewelry especially on the upper part of the ear cartilage. It “creates an attractive eye-catchy look” [].  However, it is also susceptible to infections. Let us begin our discussion with causes of these infections.


They are often caused by bacteria, viruses and/or other pathogenic microorganisms. Injuries, wrong jewelry, poor hygiene (during piercing and afterward) and general negligence are what could encourage pathogens to thrive.

It is worthwhile noting that although new piercings are more vulnerable to infections, old ones can get infected too. We have on many occasions heard people talking about their infections after years. In some, it happens after even 5 years. This proves that even after you have fully healed, you can still be infected.


Some of the common infected piercing symptoms you should expect include but not limited to the following:

  • Tenderness and soreness especially when you touch it
  • Prolonged redness around the pierced site
  • Swelling and distention that last for more than a few days in case of a freshly pierced one
  • Green or yellow discharges or some pus oozing out
  • Abscesses, bubbles or bumps may appear
  • Burning sensation or inflammation
  • Bleeding in extreme cases
  • Fever in severe cases of infections

These are not the only symptoms you expect. If you notice any uncomfortable feeling, which persists for a few days, it could also be a sign.


The best ways to deal with an infected piercing is to see the piercer or a doctor for a diagnosis. This will ensure you get the right treatment. However, for a minor infection, you can treat them even at home. Some of the common treatments you expect include the following:

1. Use of antibiotics and antibacterial ointments

Antibiotics can only be used after they have been prescribed. They could either the topical antibacterial ointments, oral antibiotics or both. They are commonly prescribed for people whose infection is caused by bacteria which seems to be spreading to areas beyond the pierced site.

Note that it is not advisable to use any ointments or creams unless advised so by a professional healthcare personnel since these products affect the draining process and can lead to abscesses i.e. “is an infection that is trapped under the skin and is indicated by a darkening and hardening of the surrounding tissue, swelling and pain” [].

2. Saline solution

The second and perhaps the most popular way is to use saline solution. It will help in fighting infections in their initial stages and stop new infections.

Cleaning when infected 

Once you notice an infection, you need to know how to clean it to avoid further spread of the infection. The most recommended way is to use either saline solution or a piercing solution. We are going to discuss the use of saline solution since it is a simple homemade remedy that can be of much help.

To begin with, you can prepare a saline solution by mixing ½ a teaspoon of sea salt in a cup of clean lukewarm water. Use the solution to clean your the infected site 2-3 times a day. Avoid over cleaning since it might interfere with the normal healing process.

During the cleaning process, dip a cotton ball in your salt solution and gently dab it on the area. Ensure you remove any debris and any accumulated discharge.  In addition, ensure you clean as close to the jewelry as possible without removing your jewelry since it helps in draining the infection.

When with a bump or bubble

If you did not know, you might develop bumps or bubbles especially on the inner sides of your ear cartilage. These bubbles or bumps are a sign of infection and they should be treated.

The general way of treating piercing bump is the use of saline solution, applying aspirin, chamomile tea bags, Epsom salts, bactine, polysporin, Neosporin among other ways. Tea tree oil is what we will recommend since most people have found it working magic on industrial piercing infection bump.

Care tips

An infection especially if its after you were recently pierced takes a long time to heal, more than three months (usually 6months to a year). Ensure you follow the aftercare steps you were given. This will reduce any chances of getting an infection. Some of the general tips that might be important include the following:

  • “Hydrogen peroxide and disinfectant soaps should be not be used d to clean pierced area unless recommended by professionals” [].
  • Avoid touching your it with dirty hands
  • Go for gold or titanium jewelry since they are known not to cause any allergic reactions
  • Go for the correct size of jewelry since a short industrial bar can cause necrosis i.e. the “constant pressure of the balls against your skin can cause the tissue to die” []
  • Avoid using your cell phone too close to your ear since it could be harboring a lot of pathogens
  • Avoid sleeping on the side of your infected industrial bar jewelry.
  • Ensure hair care products do not come in contact with the infected area.

With this discussion, I hope you now know “what to do with in case of an infection ” both to avoid infections and in case you already have an infection. Thank you.

References and sources

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