Bumps or lumps are localized swollen areas on surface or under the skin. At times, the overlying skin may appear reddish or ulcerated depending on the causes and the affected region or part of the body.
What causes these raised bumps on my skin? Skin bumps are often common and harmless. Although the raised skin bumps may vary in size, number and appearance depending on their cause. Some are itchy or not itchy, hard/ tender or soft, small or large, painful or not painful.
Generally, as we age, often we get bumps on skin at some stage. Skin bumps may result from a minor to major conditions like:
- A skin disorder
- An allergic reaction
- Trauma or injury
- Skin cancer
Mostly, skin bumps get away on their own and don’t need treatment. However, if you have painful itchy, recurring bumps or that won’t get away for weeks and causing discomfort seek a dermatologist help. In this article we review the types, causes and treatment of raised bumps on skin.
37 Common types and causes of bumps on the skin
Why do I have bumps on my skin?
Bumps are commonly found on chest, shoulders, face and cheeks. If you have bumps on your skin here are some of the possible causes.
Keloids are bumps that develop when scar tissue grows past wound bounds. They can form anywhere and keep growing for weeks after the skin heals. They are more common on earlobes, cheeks, chest, upper back, shoulders and anywhere else.
Commonly, they are painless although some may be too big and itchy. The risk factor of keloid increases with surgery or skin piercing, this because excess collagen will only be produced through wound healing process.
2. Skin tags
Skin tags are small little painless or painful, bleeding or irritating growths on skin with a budge at the end. They may be of the same color as the skin or slightly darker and found mostly on armpits or neck.
Cyst are small flesh colored sacs under the skin filled with keratin (protein). Skin cyst can develop in any part of the body. They feel like small round balls and contain fluid, pus or other substances.
Hives are allergic reaction bumps to food, medication and environmental surrounding. They may appear anywhere on the body as small few raised spots that join up creating one larger raised itchy bump. They are caused by sun, allergies, stress, sweating, illness or an infection.
Warts are pink or slightly brown colored rough bumps on hands and feet.
They are caused by HPV human papilloma virus. In many cases, they may go away on its own but treatment help prevent them from spreading.
These are small and extremely itchy pimple like lesion made up of many tiny red sores. Scabies rashes can appear anywhere as a result of skin infection caused by tiny mite (Sarcoptes scabiei) and tiny bugs invincible to the naked eye. It is an extreme contagious disease and spread through personal or skin to skin contact.
Folliculitis is an inflammation triggered by shaving and waxing. The inflammation occurs when hair curl and get trapped on the skin or due to an infection of the hair follicle. These small red or white head bumps may appear on thighs, buttocks, neck, armpit, face etc.
Also referred as dyshidrotic eczema. This is a skin condition that form raised itchy fluid blisters on the palms of the hand and sole of the feet. They are triggered by stress or seasonal allergies and for up to a month.
9. Herpes stomatitis
This is a viral infection that form mouth ulcers and inflammation. Stomatitis is caused by injury, viral and bacterial infection, tobacco use, chemotherapy, radiation or immune system disorder.
10. Corns or calluses
They are rough thickened area on feet and hands.
11. Allergic reaction
Allergies form red itchy skin lump that may ooze, drain or crust. Insect bites and stings may trigger allergic reaction forming swollen and itchy bumps on skin.
Acne is a skin condition highly associated with early stage of life (puberty) and hormonal fluctuations. They are referred as pimples or zits and triggered by blocked pores, bacteria and dirt. They manifest as blackhead, white head or red inflamed lesions.
Boil are red raised bumps due to bacterial and fungal infected hair follicle. Furuncle can be painful and they go away once the burst and release the pus of fluid.
They can erupt at any part of the body especially face and on neck.
They are clear liquid filled bumps caused by friction, contact dermatitis and other skin disorders. If they produce milky like fluid, there may be an infection.
This is a thick red rash that form as a silvery scales or with white patches on elbow, knee and lower back. The rash heal and recur once the immune system is compromised or under stress.
16. Chicken pox or Shingles
Shingles are raised tingling rash that transform to painful, itchy blisters on torso and buttocks for weeks before they go away.
If affected by chicken pox at early ages the risk of occurrence at later stage increases.
Carbuncle is a skin infection that form bump when infection of hair follicle go deep in the skin. Usually, they form pus or mass filled bumps that can cause permanent scaring on any part of the body they affect.
It is a very contagious skin infection that affect the babies. The infections occur due to diaper irritation or bacterial infection. Staphylococcus pyogenes and streptococcus aureus bacteria are the main pathogens. It can spread through personal contact, sharing clothes or bedding’s with the infected person.
This is a common painful bacterial infection that form red swollen area. The bump area may feel hot or warm, painful, swollen, inflamed and tender to touch. The infection happens in deeper layers of the skin and may become life threatening if left untreated and spread deeper in to the body.
The infection can occur around the eye, nose, breast and anal orifice. The risk factors increase with burns, cuts, ulcers, grazes, bites, weakened immune system, diabetes and other skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema.
Moles are flat raised small tan or brown lumps on skin. They are sometimes mistaken with freckles and other skin growths like skin tags, benign lentigines and seborrheic keratosis. They are common on the first 25 years of person’s life and keep changing slowly to become raised or color change. Sun exposure and genetics increases their risk.
21. Swollen lymph nodes
Lymph nodes are small bean shaped glands throughout the body. They are part of the lymph system that carry fluid, nutrients and waste between blood stream and body tissue. Lymph nodes filter the fluid that circulate through the lymph system. In the process they may get infected and swell.
They may become inflamed when faced by illness, injury or accumulate a lot of debris of bacterial, viruses, dead and diseases cells. They are found under the skin like in the armpit, under the jaw, on either side of the neck, on either side of the groin and above collar bone.
22. Cherry hemangioma or angiomas
Angiomas are red moles skin growth made up of small blood vessels or capillaries. They are harmless tumors (benign) and increase with age, especially those above 30 years. However, see your doctor if they bleed often or change in appearance, color, shape or size.
They are triggered by liver dysfunction, hormonal changes, toxins and chemical and exposure to certain weather conditions.
23. Keratosis pilaris
Keratosis pilaris is a common harmless non itchy tiny bumps. It usually occur at any age, although more common in young children. It is characterized by dry, rough, painless tiny bumps that resemble goose flesh.
The condition worsens with seasonal changes like low humidity when skin tend to be drier. This condition is inherited and cannot be cured but improves over time. It makes the skin appear as sandpaper.
24. Seborrheic keratosis
Generally referred as “barnacles of aging”. They are harmless growth that appear in range of color; white, black, tan or brown. However, they may look worrisome like precancerous growth or warts. They may erupt on chest, face, neck or back as well as anywhere else on the body.
25. Actinic or solar keratosis
Actinic keratosis are crusty scaly growths on skin caused by years of exposure to ultraviolet radiation. They commonly appear on face, years, lips, forearms, scalp, neck or back of your hands. They are precancerous skin lesions if left untreated.
They are small soft rounded or lobulated, slow growing or fatty lump that have doughy feel and affect middle aged individuals. They are usually non-cancerous, harmless although painful at times and situated just under your skin and muscle layer.
Their causes are unknown but risk factors are age and certain disorders like Cowden, Gardner’s and adiposis dolorosa syndromes.
27. Molluscum Contagiosum
Also called water warts, is a viral skin infection. It is characterized by raised pink flesh colored benign lesions on the upper surface of the skin. They may last between 2 month to 4 years. They are normally painless lumps that go away on their own without treatment and leaves no scars or marks.
However, they are very contagious and spread through personal contact, in gymnastic and using contaminated items like towels, clothing etc. According to Healthline, medication and surgical treatment may be used although in many cases not necessary.
Nevertheless, compromised or weakened immune system may make it difficult to treat the virus.
Nodules are solid, fluid or pus filled lesions on the skin. They may form on tendons, muscle due to injury. In many cases they are harmless, painless but can affects the functioning of the body part they have developed on.
Sometimes thyroid nodule may be cancerous at the extreme of age, and exposure to radiations especially on men.
Cancer is a class of diseases due to abnormal cell growth with a potential to spread to other parts of the body. It is characterized by a bump or lump, unexplained weigh loss, abnormal breeding among other depending on where it occurs.
Tobacco use, obesity, poor or lack of physical exercise, radiations and exposure to other environmental pollutants are risk factors.
Benign cancer stays in one area. Dangerous malignant tumors move throughout the body destroying health tissue (invasion) and the cells divide and grow making blood vessels to feed them (angiogenesis).
Gout is a type of a complex arthritis which can affect anyone. It causes sudden severe pain, swelling, redness and tenderness in the joints. It is caused by buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints affected.
Dermatofibroma is a common form of benign fibrous nodule. It is more common to women than men of all ages and every ethnicity. It more attributed to insect bites, thorn injury and weakened immune system.
32. Canker sores
Canker sores are small, painful shallow shaped ulcers with red border and yellow or white center. They may occur inside the mouth, around the mouth, throat or on tongue. Canker sore may be accompanied by fever. Injury, spicy food, stress, hormones, vitamin deficiency and autoimmune disorders may cause simple or complex canker sore.
33. Staph infection
Staph infection may cause diseases directly or through toxins released by staphylococcus. Boils, cellulitis, food poisoning are some of diseases that may occur.
34. Scarlet fever
This is an infection that develop in people with strep throat. It is characterized by red bumps or rash, headache, swollen lymph nodes, fever and sore throat. Mainly on children aged 5-15 years.
Neurofibroma is a non-cancerous nerve tumor. They are characterized by soft ingrown or external bumps.it is an incurable genetic disorder of the nervous system. They may be harmless or lead to serious tissue and nerve damage.
Acrochordons are skin colored growths that hang from the surface of the skin. They appear more on older people especially due to weight gain or pregnancy. They can form in the skin fold of neck, torso, chest armpits or even genitals.
These bumps do not cause pain or any medical concern however they may have cosmetic concerns. Skin tags cannot become cancerous.
37. Basel cell carcinoma
These are pink colored growths, open sores, shiny bumps or red patches of lesion on skin. These growths are cancerous, and caused by intense sun exposure.
Types of bumps that blemishes
Blemishes may occur as skin discoloration cause by acne pimples breakout. These breakouts may be attributed to a lot of factor like: genetics, poor diets, poor hygiene, sun exposure, aging, allergic reactions, skin infection and hormonal changes.
What types of bumps blemishes? These bumps do blemish and should not be popped or squeezed.
- Ingrown hair
- Blind bumps
- Cold sores
- Skin tags
- Chicken skin or Keratosis pilaris
- Cystic acne
Itchy bumps on skin
What causes itchy bumps on my skin? Itchy bumps on skin can be caused by numerous and varied reasons. These causes may range from internal illness to skin surface irritation. The causes of itchy skin include:
- Eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis infections
- Anxiety and stress
- Medication such as antifungals, antibiotics, anticonvulsant and narcotic painkillers
- Hepatitis C
- Nervous system disorders like shingles, neuropathy etc
- Insect Bites and stings such as bedbug’s bites and mosquito stings.
- Internal disorders like Bile’s blockage, anemia kidney failure, liver diseases etc
- Pregnancy and other causes of hormonal fluctuations
- Dry skin
- Jock itch, diaper rash and yeast infection
Red bumps on skin
You may wake in the morning and notice sudden red spots or bumps that may itch or not. These bumps may crop on face, legs, hands, chest thighs and any other place on your skin. You may develop these red lumps for various reasons.
Itchy red bumps on you may occur due to insects bites like bed bud and skin irritation. Irritation may arise due to heat rash, contact rash. In addition, non-itchy blisters may also turn and trigger itchy and painful bumps if left untreated.
According to Medline plus not itchy red bumps may in children and adults due to folliculitis, eczema and allergic reaction to cosmetics and beauty products. Live strong highlights Psoriasis, keratosis pilaris, cherry angiomas, sebaceous cyst, folliculitis, broken capillaries and pre-diabetes as other feasible causes of red bumps on skin.
Dermatologists says fever and lack of specific appearance pattern may accompany these rashes. However visual examination of your bumps, accompanied by medical history will help your doctor treat your skin condition. In some conditions, you may require lab test to identify bacteria and fungus in case of suspected folliculitis.
On other hand, trained eye of most doctor may require lab test to help identify the allergens causing suspected eczema.
How to get rid of bumps on skin?
1. Lemon juice
Lemon juice has natural acidity that help bacterial infections on ingrown hair follicle. It may also help reduce redness and infections on razor burn.
How to use
- Squeeze out some fresh lemon.
- Use cotton pad to apply on affected area.
- Leave it for about 5 minutes.
- Rinse with water and pat dry before you moisturize your skin.
- Repeat twice daily.
2. Coconut oil
Coconut oil moisturizes your skin, reduce reed spots and give a young look. It also helps to cleanse the clogged pores rather than clogging.
How to use;
- Cleanse the affected area with mild soap and water.
- Pat it dry and gently massage with a few drop of virgin coconut oil.
- Leave it overnight and rinse of in the morning.
- Repeat every night until improvement.
3. Coco butter
Cocoa butter contain phytochemicals that help alleviate inflammation and lighten red spots. It’s a good moisturizer and help repair skin damage from free radicals.
How to use
- Gently massage the affected area with small amount of coco butter.
- Leave it overnight and rinse of in the morning.
- Repeat every night.
4. Use Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains mild acid that tone and restore skin pH. Antioxidants presents also help in healing of inflamed and irritation area.
How to use
- Apply dilute apple cider vinegar on the affected area.
- Let it dry before rinse with water.
- Pat dry and Moisturize your skin.
- Repeat twice per day.
5. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a good natural antibacterial agent.
How to use
- Dilute tea tree oil with water and apply on the affected area.
- Let it dry before rinsing it with water.
- Repeat daily.
6. White tea
Ordinary white tea bags contain tannic acid that can help reduce inflammation, redness and swelling.
How to use it
- Wet the tea bags and press on the affected area.
7. Hot compress
How to use it
- Boil water.
- Soak a cotton wool in hot water and press it gently o the affected area.
- Repeat regularly.
8. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera has healing compounds, antioxidants and essential nutrients that reduce and make your skin glow. It has a healing and soothing effects on skin ailments and irritation.
How to use
- Snip of the tip of a leaf.
- Squeeze the gel and apply directly on the affected area.
- Let it dry before rinsing with water.
- Pat dry and apply moisturizers.
9. Apply hydrocortisone cream
Hydrocortisone cream has anti-inflammatory effects on your skin. Apply small amount on the inflamed and irritated area.
10. Use Vitamin A
Vitamin A capsule contain retinol that promote cell turnover and prevent plugged hair follicle.
How to use it
- Break open one vitamin A capsule.
- Squeeze the oil and apply on the affected area directly.
- Gently massage for a few minutes.
- Leave it for 15-20 minutes and rinse of with water.
- Repeat regularly.
11. Dandelion root
Dandelion root tea help remove accumulated toxins from the body and improve liver function. Detoxification help clear bumps and makes your skin glow.
How to use it
- Brew fresh dandelion root by steeping it in hot water for few minutes.
- Strain and drink 1-2 cups of the tea.
- Repeat for a few days.
Prevention is better than cure.
- Gentle cleansing with lukewater with a limited exposure of max of 10 minutes.
- Avoid harsh soap agents like sodium lauryl sulfate.
- Exfoliate regularly with chemical exfoliant such as alpha hydroxyl acid rather than scrubbing.
- Moisturize with a deep hydrating agent.
- Take sunshine while wearing sunscreen. This may help synthesis vitamin D and shed off excess keratin.
- Use the correct shaving cream and after shave oil to prevent inflammation and irritation.
- Use good cosmetics and personal hygiene products.
- Proper balanced diet.
Sources and References
Everyday health: What causes skin rash?
Healthline: What causes raised bumps on skin?
Mayo clinic: Common skin rashes?
WebMD: What causes cellulitis?
Medicine news today: What is cellulitis?
E-Medicine: Symptoms of staph infection?