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Skin Lumps: Should I Be Worried Or Not?

Medically reviewed by Martha Juco, MD · Aesthetics

Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Aug 24, 2022

    Skin Lumps: Should I Be Worried Or Not?

    Skin lumps and bumps on different parts of your body may mean different things. Oftentimes, these are harmless but others may presume it to be something bigger such as a sign of cancer, especially when it is swelling. So, when is it normal and when should you be worried about it?

    Most Common Skin Lumps 

    There are several names and causes of the development of skin lumps. Some of the most common ones are:


    Hives are itchy red skin bumps that originate from allergic reactions or stressful situations.


    A skin lump that stems from an injured part of the body. Though keloids tend to grow larger than the original wound or injury, they aren’t harmful to our health.


    Lipomas or fatty skin lumps develop slowly along the trunk area and the shoulders.


    A rough, hard bump that is caused by a virus. It typically appears as a tiny black dot on on the face or neck but can show up on any part of the body. When a wart appears on the hands (palmar warts) or feet (plantar warts) it can be painful. Warts that appear on the groin or intimate area (genital warts) may be due to a sexually transmitted infection (STI).


    Cysts are little pockets of tissue that grow beneath the skin’s surface. They are filled with fluid that can be caused by infection, inflammation, or other plugged oil glands. 


    These are fluid-filled infected skin lumps enclosed in a space that it cannot move or escape from.

    When It Is Normal 

    Not all lumps lead to something bigger than it actually is. Most skin conditions produce such lumps that are normal. They usually appear on the surface parts of the body or just beneath the skin like some of the following:

    Breast Bud

    This small lump under the nipple area is normally experienced by girls who are undergoing their puberty stage (7-12 years of age).

    External Occipital Protuberance

    A normal skin lump found at the back of a person’s head, typically at the base part of the skull area. 

    Mastoid Process

    A bony lump seen behind the lower area of each ear.

    Xiphoid Process

    A skin lump at the lower breastbone (sternum) area.

    Many athletes also develop lumps from time to time in different parts of their bodies due to their physical training and activities. 

    Some other signs that visible skin lump is normal is if it:

  • Is usually soft
  • Is movable, changing its form when being touched
  • Can be a bump that grows over time when used for various activities; it can also decrease in size when at rest
  • Is found in the skin’s fat layer part
  • Skin Lumps: When It Gets Alarming

    Consequently, a skin lump may be a sign of more serious illness if it: 

    • Is firm and hard 
    • Does not move an inch
    • Gets itchy, painful, and red
    • Is swelling on unusual parts of the body (side of the neck, armpit, groin area, breasts, or testicles)
    • Lasts for more than 2 weeks


    Many skin lumps and bumps are not actually cancerous (benign) such as seborrheic keratosis or neurofibromas. 

    A sudden and painful appearance (over the last 24-48 hours) of a lump is often brought about by an injury or an infection in that particular part of the body. It can be treated by following the RICE acronym which stands for:

    R – est

    I – ce

    C – ompression

    E – levation

    However, other lumps should receive treatment from a medical practitioner. You should not solely rely on these easy steps especially when it follows through the things mentioned above about it being painful and so much more. 

    Skin Lumps Diagnosis

    The doctor may ask to run several tests, such as a biopsy or an ultrasound scan, to check for further signs, causes, and implications of the unknown appearance of a skin lump to be able to treat it right away. 

    Key Takeaways

    It is important to understand that skin lumps may come in different shapes, sizes, and even numbers depending on their root cause.
    Be it soft or hard, it is best to avoid self-diagnosing. Inform your doctor about it and have it checked as soon as possible to prevent further complications and serious issues that may arise once not taken care of seriously and immediately.

    Learn more about skin health, here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Martha Juco, MD


    Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Aug 24, 2022

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