Lumps / Bumps / Cysts

Lumps, Bumps and Cysts

Hundreds of different lumps, bumps and cysts associated with the skin can develop at any time. Generally, most of these are painless and cause no harm. The following list provides more detailed information about the most common ones:


  • Generally benign, brown, purple or red growth
  • Commonly occurs on arms and legs
  • Contain scar tissue and feel like hard lumps
  • Can feel itchy, tender and sometimes painful


  • Usually resolves without treatment
  • When necessary, removed often via surgical excision or freezing with liquid nitrogen

Epidermoid Cysts (Sebaceous Cysts)

  • Small, round bumps, often white or yellow
  • Develop from blocked oil glands
  • Normally found on the face, neck, back, trunk and genitals
  • Usually benign; occasionally leads to basal or squamous cell skin cancers
  • Become red and tender when infected
  • Produces a thick, yellow discharge if squeezed


  • Antibiotics for any underlying infection
  • Removal of the discharge and the sac that forms the cyst by a dermatologist to prevent recurrence
  • Laser surgery for sensitive skin areas, such as on the face


  • Red pimples that form in areas with hair
  • Inflammation of the hair follicles
  • Caused by infection, chemicals, or physical irritation (i.e. shaving, fabrics)
  • More likely in diabetics, the obese or anyone with a compromised immune system


  • Topical antibiotics
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Antifungal medications
  • Preventing further damage


  • Dome-shaped, thick, red growths with craters in the center
  • Often triggered by minor skin injuries like cuts or bites
  • Ultraviolet radiation from the sun increases your odds


  • Cryotherapy, freezing off with liquid nitrogen
  • Curettage, surgical removal by cutting out or scraping off

Keratosis Pilaris

  • Small, rough, red or white bumps
  • Do not typically itch or hurt
  • Often worse when the skin gets dry, like in winter or low-humidity climates


  • Doesn't usually need treatment
  • Typically resolves on their own by age 30
  • Intensive moisturizing first recommendation for treatment
  • Medicated creams with urea or alpha-hydroxy acids suggested in more serious cases


  • Subcutaneous nodules or tumors made of soft, fatty tissue
  • Usually benign and slow growing
  • Usually found on the trunk, shoulders, and neck
  • May appear as single spots or in groups
  • Generally painless, unless it putting pressure on a nerve


  • No treatment unless it causes cosmetic concerns or compresses surrounding tissue
  • Easily removed by excision


  • Soft, fleshy growths occurring on/or under the skin
  • Generally slow growing, benign and painless
  • May produce an electrical-like shock when touched
  • Any pain may signal a need for medical treatment


  • Usually requires no treatment, especially if no symptoms develop
  • Can be surgically removed if it aggravates a nerve

Skin Cysts

  • Closed pockets of tissue that can contain pus or fluid
  • May develop on any area of skin
  • Smooth when touched; like a pea underneath the surface
  • Generally, painless, slow growing and benign
  • Needs medical attention only in cases of infection or inflammation


  • Often needs no treatment and will disappear by itself
  • Can be drained by a doctor
  • An injection of cortisone will cause inflamed cysts to shrivel



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Coast Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center
21550 Angela Lane
Venice, FL 34293

P. 941-493-7400