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Swollen Cheek Piercing: What Causes It and How to Treat

swollen cheek piercing

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Cheek (or dimple) piercings are all the rage right now. Sadly, cheek piercings are notoriously known for being difficult to heal. If you have a swollen cheek piercing, it may actually be a “lymphatic lump”. Unfortunately, swelling can be caused by many things, some more dangerous than others. If you have any concern that you may have an infected piercing, visit your doctor or piercer immediately.

What Causes a Swollen Cheek Piercing?

Like any piercing, swelling is normal within a week or two of the initial piercing. Swelling is also a sign of infection. If you have other signs of infection (warm to the touch, red, painful) seek the help of your doctor or piercer immediately as infections can become dangerous very quickly. If the swollen cheek piercing has a somewhat hard lump however, it’s more likely that your cheek piercing has a lymphatic lump, otherwise known as a fluid pocket.

What is a Lymphatic Lump/Fluid Pocket?

A lymphatic lump is perfectly safe and actually pops up on most healing cheek piercings. If you have cheek piercings, it’s likely you’ve healed other piercings and are all too familiar with crusties. Crusties are actually hardened lymph that drain during the healing process. Cheek piercings are the only piercings that go through muscle, so they produce a lot of lymph and can have a hard time draining it all. This lack of drainage is what causes a hard lymphatic lump to form.

How to Make a Swollen Cheek Piercing Go Down

Most of the time, the swelling will go down on its own. You can use a sea salt soak to attempt to dry up the lymph, or you can ice the area to decrease the swelling. If you visit your piercer, they may recommend squeezing the piercing to get some of the lymph out, or some piercers may even lance it for you. You should never attempt to squeeze your piercing without piercer advise, or even worse, attempt to lance yourself.

Cheek Piercing Scars

Cheek piercings will scar 99% of the time. The formation of swelling will not change your eventual scar. The reason dimple piercings were created were actually to leave this permanent dimple-like scar. If you don’t want your cheek piercing to scar, you shouldn’t get a cheek piercing. The only dimple piercings that don’t scar are those that are taken out while they are still very fresh and even then, it may still leave a scar.


Unfortunately cheek piercings are very hard to heal and are not for the novice piercee. If you’re experiencing hard swollen lumps near your healing cheek piercings, it is not likely a sign of infection. If a softer swelling persists two weeks after your initial piercing and it is accompanied by a red color and is hot to the touch, visit your doctor or piercer immediately. You can visit your piercer for help draining or getting rid of your lymphatic lumps if they are bothering you, but rest assured that they are a normal step in healing cheek piercings.