Causes and Treatment of Skin Bumps and Lumps

" Swollen or raised skin and lumps are areas on the skin that may or may not be itchy. Skin bumps and lumps may be rough or smooth, soft or hard, and dark or light colored. They may occur as a single lesion or as multiple raised areas on any part of the body.These bumps may appear in one area of the body, but they may also cover large areas of the body. There are multiple causes, many of which are described below."  


Many different disorders or conditions can cause skin bumps. Infections, allergies, injuries, new growths, or inflammation can lead to the formation of lumps on or under the skin. Some of the most common causes of skin lumps include:

  • Acne or pimples appear on the upper chest, back, shoulders, forehead and face. Dead skin cells block the sebaceous glands causing them to dilate and rupture.
skin lumps acne
Skin Lumps caused by Acne Vulgaris, the Most Common Form of the Condition
Source: Journal of Pediatric Dermatology

  • Boils, or skin abscess which are due to bacterial infection
  • Cysts, which are noncancerous pockets filled with pus, fluid, or other material
  • Dermatitis, eczema, or rashes caused by inflammation or allergy.
  • Enlarged lymph nodes 
  • Folliculitis, or infection of the hair follicles

skin lumps Folliculitis

Folliculitis Causes skin bumps or skin lumps Filled with Puss. It is commonly the result of saving skin areas in the genitals, armpits, arms and legs.
Source: Meisenheimer Clinic

  • Insect bite such as from mosquitoes or bed bugs
bed bug bites
Picture of Typical Bed Bug Bites. They are Caused by An Allergic Reaction and Can Vary Between People
Source: AAD

  • Keloid, or an overgrown scars have a variety of treatment options. Treatment success varies from person to person. Appearance may be able to be improved with the use of products such as Kelo-cote and Scarguard.

Hypertrphic Skin Scar
Picture of Hypertrophic Skin Scar
    • Lipoma, a noncancerous growth of fat cells beneath the skin
    • Melanoma,a type of skin cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology provides the following guidelines for early detection. If you see any skin bumps or lumps changing in appearance, growing or bleeding, see a Dermatologist for evaluation.
    skin melanoma

    • Moles or Nevi are common in all adults. Normal adult skin has 10 to 40 moles. Examine the skin monthly and see a Dermatologist if any moles change in appearance to catch any potential melanoma’s or skin cancer. Moles are usually not treated unless removed for medical or cosmetic reasons.
    skin moles
    These Skin Lumps are Caused by Moles or Nevi. They Do Not Require Treatment Unless They are Suspected as Turning into a Skin Melanoma.
    Source: ADD

    • Molluscum contagiosum, caused by a virus. 
    • Rashes rashes to due to viral infection, such as chicken pox or measles.
    • Sebaceous cyst or Epithelial Cyst is caused by blockage of an oil gland. They are one of the most common causes of skin lumps and bumps. They can occur at any location on the body, but are primarily found on the torso. Skin lumps caused by sebaceous cysts are caused by accumulating dead skin cells. The condition is not harmful and tends to run in families.

    skin lump cysts
    Skin Lumps Caused by Cysts are the Result of Accumulating Dead Skin Cells Under the Skin. They are not Contagious and Do Not Have to Be Removed.
    Source: Meisenheimer Clinic

    • Warts or Verruca Vulgaris are rough bumps caused by human papillomavirus. When the virus enters the skin it results in a wart. In individuals with a normal immune system the condition is harmless. They can be treated with a topical such as Naturasil. In some cases, a wart will regrow after treatment. The best approach is to treat the area again. See a Dermatologist for stubborn warts. The condition is contagious.
    skin lump warts
    Skin Warts are caused by a Virus
    Source: Naturasil


    Many doctors may be able to diagnose common skin bumps from the medical history and physical examination of the patient. However, some doctors may request for laboratory examinations to confirm their suspicions or rule out other possible causes of skin bumps. These may include skin scrapings, skin biopsy, blood tests or more, if needed.


    Depending on the cause of skin bumps, raised areas may vary in size, texture, color and location. They may either be smooth or rough, firm or soft, very small to large. The skin may be pink, red, tan, light brown or dark colored. They may or may not be ulcerated. Some bumps are solid while others may be filled with fluid or pus. Bumps on the skin may or may not be painful to touch, and while some may be accompanied by itching, others are asymptomatic.

    Skin bumps may be found anywhere in the body, depending on the cause, from the scalp to the soles. While some lumps occur singly such as a cyst, others may be scattered or found in clusters.

    The appearance of any bumps on the skin may also be accompanied by other body symptoms such as fever (if caused by an infection) or difficulty in breathing (from insect bites causing a severe allergic reaction).


    The treatment of skin bumps will depend on the cause and accompanying symptoms which need immediate or long-term relief. Many skin bumps are harmless and may go away on their own, while others may need medical treatment involving topical medications, oral drugs or even surgery. Treatment may be directed at curing an infection, relieving itchiness or inflammation, treating a systemic disease (like a viral infection) or improving one’s appearance (cosmetic reasons).

    One may need to call a doctor if skin bumps are accompanied by symptoms that indicate severe inflammation or widespread infection, such as fever, severe pain, and weakness. Immediate medical help is needed in cases of anaphylactic or severe allergic reactions causing difficulty in breathing and swallowing, swelling of the tongue, hoarseness, dizziness, and loss of consciousness.

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    References for Red Spots on Skin:

    Better Medicine.

    WebMD. Cysts, Lumps, Bumps, and Your Skin.

    Stoppler, M. Bumps on Skin Symptoms.


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