From moles to warts, acne to milia, skin tags to cysts; lumps and bumps on the skin can appear in all sorts of shapes, sizes, colours and numbers. Discovering a new lump or bump can be quite a worrying experience, especially if you don’t know what it is.
For that reason, it is essential any lump or bump is correctly diagnosed by a medical professional, so that the correct treatment is recommended, a biopsy is organised following removal (if required) and so that the condition isn't aggravated.
WHAT CAUSES LUMPS AND BUMPS?
Lumps and bumps on the surface of the skin can appear for a number of reasons. It may be a buildup of dead skin cells or keratin which forms a spot, cyst or milium, or it could be an overproduction of cells forming a mole, skin tag or keloid scar.
SYMPTOMS OF LUMPS AND BUMPS
As there are many reasons why lumps and bumps may occur, there are various symptoms associated with this skin concern.
Warts and Verrucae
Warts are benign (non-cancerous) lumpy skin growths, most commonly found on the hands and feet. They are caused by viruses and are highly contagious.
Veruccae only tend to appear on the feet. They are flat and thick in appearance, hard around the edge and have a small black dot in the centre. Often, they feel sore when touched or stood upon. Like warts, they are highly contagious, but benign.
Moles are small patches or marks which are usually brown or black in colour and form on the skin. They are caused by skin cells that form in clusters called 'melanocytes', which produce the colour in your skin. They vary in shape and size, can be flat or raised, and some even have hair growing from them. Changes in the texture, size and colour of a mole could indicate skin cancer, so consult your GP if you are concerned.
Milia are small white or yellowish raised bumps or spots on the skin, normally found around the eye area and cheeks, but can appear anywhere on the face or body. Unlike a pimple or spot, milia feel quite hard, almost like a small piece of grit under the skin. Milia are not contagious or harmful.
Skin tags are small brown or flesh-coloured growths that hang from the surface of the skin. Although skin tags are common, they are not contagious and are completely harmless. They do not usually cause any pain or discomfort, however depending on where they are on the body, they can snag on clothing or jewellery and may bleed as a result.
There are different types of acne, but the most common include spots such as whiteheads and blackheads, or more severe spots like cysts and nodules. Acne is not dangerous, but it may leave scars and can be painful and distressing.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can lumps, bumps and growths be prevented?
Prevention of skin growths isn't always possible and depends upon the type of lump or bump. Once your practitioner has diagnosed the type of skin growth you have, they will also be able to advise whether there is anything to help prevent the condition recurring.
What are these bumps on my arms?
The little bumps in the skin on the back of your arms could be caused by a common condition called keratosis pilaris (often referred to as ‘chicken skin.’) It may also affect the skin on your thighs, face and buttocks, and is caused by a buildup of keratin in the hair follicles. It is not a serious or harmful condition and it isn’t contagious.
What causes itchy bumps on the skin?
Itchy lumps and bumps on the skin are usually caused by dermatitis such as eczema or psoriasis. They may also be an allergic reaction to washing powder, cosmetics, skin products, perfumes, pets or plants.
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR LUMPS AND BUMPS
Improving the overall texture and condition of your skin can help alleviate lumps and bumps. Regular exfoliation and use of natural, gentle moisturisers such as coconut oil and aloe vera can help to soften the skin and avoid buildup of dead skin cells.