Although your skin may be home to all kinds of bumps, bites, and scratches – many of which can be harmless – there are some worth keeping an eye on and even getting checked by a doctor.
Here are some common causes of skin bumps as well as signs your skin bump can be a sign of a more serious health condition.
It’s worth noting that this is just a general outline of symptoms and certain skin conditions – you should always speak with your health care provider to receive a proper diagnosis. And whether you experience certain symptoms or not, it’s always a wise idea to have a regular skin checkup since a doctor can help you keep track of your skin’s health and possibly find bumps you did not notice.
Some moles and cysts are just benign skin growths
“The most common papules (bumps) we see are benign skin growths such as moles and cysts,” explained Dr. Donna Hart, board-certified dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology.
Moles often appear as small, light-brown bumps and cysts are sac-like pockets of tissue that can contain things like fluid or air. Hart said that if your benign moles or cysts are bothersome to you, they can typically be removed.
Inflammatory conditions like acne and rosacea can cause treatable bumps
Hart said inflammatory conditions such as acne and rosacea (a skin condition that often causes redness and visible blood vessels) can create papules, cysts, and pustules (tender red bumps that are often filled with pus).
These conditions can typically be treated with a variety of topical creams and sometimes oral medications.
Keratosis pilaris is a harmless and fairly common condition
A condition called keratosis pilaris (KP) is somewhat common in adults. Hart explained that KP causes rough, small bumps to appear on one’s skin, most often on the upper arms and sometimes on the face, thighs, or back. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), these bumps are just “plugs of dead skin cells.”
This condition is generally harmless but there are some topical treatments that can help smooth out the rough texture of the bumps and decrease skin redness.
Folliculitis can be irritating but it’ll often resolve itself
Folliculitis is an inflammation around a hair follicle that’s often partially due to an ingrown hair. This condition often appears as a small, red, inflamed bump that can resemble acne. Fortunately, most cases of folliculitis resolve themselves in time.
Dr. Susan Massick, a dermatologist with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, told INSIDER that if you experience this bump, try to avoid irritating it further and make an effort to clean it with an anti-bacterial wash.
Skin tags are typically benign and painless
Skin tags are fleshy growths of skin that are commonly seen on the neck, armpits, under breasts, and between thighs. They often appear as people get older.
Massick said skin tags are benign and painless so no treatment is needed for them. She also said that if you have a skin tag that is bothering you, it’s often possible to have it removed.
Epidermoid cysts are generally benign but they can be removed if they bother you
“Epidermoid cysts are movable bumps under the skin that are filled with keratin material,” said Massick. They are usually small, hard lumps. Generally, they do not require treatment since they are benign, but Massick noted that they can be removed or excised (cut out) if they bother you.