If you notice a few small bumps on your face that occurred for unknown reasons, you’re not alone. The good news is that most of these bumps are absolutely harmless. You might easily identify some of them as acne while others can take some detective work and a doctor to know why they appeared on your face.
If a bump on your face isn’t bleeding, changing its color or shape, it probably doesn’t require any type of medical treatment. Certain bumps, such as acne, can often be managed at home or with your dermatologist through a skin-care regimen.
If your bump changes in color or shape, bleeds, or increases in size rapidly, you should see your doctor immediately. Those are signs that the bump could be linked to an underlying health problem.
But again, most small bumps are harmless. Keep reading to know the most common reasons for small bumps on your face:
1. Keratosis pilaris
Keratosis pilaris usually occur on the thighs and upper arms but these bumps can also appear on your face. They can also sometimes be hereditary, and though they can occur at any age, they are typically more prevalent in children.
Keratosis pilaris bumps can be confused with ‘goosebumps’ or even pimples but are actually provoked by small plugs of dead skin cells that block the hair follicle. Fortunately, they do not carry any health risk and don’t require treatment necessarily.
2. Allergic reaction
Sometimes small bumps on the face or other parts of the body might stem from an allergic reaction to something you consumed or wore, or to a product you applied.
Marks on your body might sometimes be hives (also known as urticaria), which is characterized by reddened, itchy bumps or welts that appear suddenly upon exposure to an allergen. If the hives are mild, you can treat them at home with a cool bath, over-the-counter allergy medication, or applying a cool compress to the site. But if the hives are more severe or you’re also experiencing shortness of breath, swelling, or having trouble breathing, call your healthcare provider or go to an emergency room if you don’t have one.
A lipoma is a growth of fatty tissue that can appear almost anywhere on the body (including the face), but most commonly on the chest, back, shoulders, neck, and armpits. They can vary in their size but they tend to grow slowly, often over a period of months or years.
Fortunately, lipomas are benign which means they do not cause cancer or don’t indicate something serious. However, an extremely rare type of cancer known as liposarcoma occurs within fatty tissue and might look like a deep lipoma. Therefore, if you notice something that looks like a lipoma that’s painful or growing quickly, it should be checked out by a dermatologist.
4. Dermatosis papulosa nigra (DPN)
Bumps that occur due to dermatosis papulosa nigra (DPN) are absolutely benign and harmless skin spots that are characterized by skin discoloration, small size, and usually run in families. These spots are technically not moles and cannot become cancer.
6. Bumps due to eczema
Eczema is a common skin disorder, also known as atopic dermatitis, that typically shows up before age five, but can actually occur at any age. Eczema is characterized by oozing or crusted bumps, patches, or plaques, and even as thick scales, and if chronic, it arises from an interaction between both genes and the environment.
7. Bumps due to ingrown hairs
Most people have had an ingrown hair on the body or face at some point due to hair removal. Usually, when hair regrows, it grows up and above the skin. However, if it starts to curl instead, it might get trapped and form a small, raised, reddened bump that may or may not be filled with pus.
8. Skin tags
Skin tags are typically oval-shaped, benign skin growths that connect to the skin on your body or face, via a stalk. They are soft and tend to occur on the neck, upper chest, eyelids, groin area, and underarms. Older adults are more prone to skin tags, which specialists suggest might form when skin rubs together.