Definition- What is a bump under the skin?

A bump is basically a protrusion. If you call them a bump under the skin, you express that this bulge is closed and there is no open skin over it. This bump can be of a different nature depending on what the cause of the bump under the skin is. Thus, the bump may consist of a fluid accumulation, which may be pus, blood or free tissue fluid. Such a bump may also consist of subcutaneous fatty tissue or the skin itself.


Causes of a bump under the skin can be very different. The typical bump occurs when you bump somewhere, such as on the forehead. The impact injures the tissue and can cause bleeding under the skin. The body sends cells to the affected area to heal the injuries. That's why there is a bump. Also, a pimple that arises, for example, when a gland outlet clogged on a hair root, look like a bump. This gland often becomes inflamed and then turns red and painful. In case of severe inflammation, a real pus cavity can develop, which also looks like a bump. This is called an abscess. Also neoplasms of the skin or the Unterhautfettgewebes can form a bump.


A lipoma is a benign neoplasm of fat cells in the subcutaneous fatty tissue. It is therefore a tumor of the adipose tissue cells. In contrast to the much rarer liposarcoma, a lipoma is a benign tumor. New cells form at a certain point, but this tumor does not affect the whole body and it does not spread to other parts of the body. A lipoma does not necessarily have to be treated, but it can be removed for aesthetic reasons. In addition, it is possible that the lipoma may press on structures such as nerves under the skin or cause sores when in an unfavorable location. In this case, removal is also advisable.


An abscess is a pus cavity that accumulates in a place where there was no cavity before. Mostly it is caused by an inflammation, which "eats" its own cavity under the skin. The body sends inflammatory cells to the abscess, which are supposed to fight the infection. The accumulation of inflammatory cells and infectious material forms the pus. Larger pus accumulations may be a bump under the skin. An abscess usually needs to be opened to allow the pus to drain. Only then can the focus of inflammation be removed and the affected area healed in peace.


A tumor is a swelling in the broadest sense. Thus, a bump under the skin is always to call a tumor. Mostly, however, in colloquial use with tumor, a neoplasm of tissue is meant. These neoplasms distinguish between benign and malignant tumors. Benign tumors such as the lipoma (from fat cells), the fibroma (connective tissue), the hemangioma (also known as blood sponges) or a pigment nevus (liver spot) are harmless, but can bump through excessive cell formation, which interfere mechanically or aesthetically. Malignant tumors include liposarcomas (from fat cells), hemangiosarcomas (from the smallest blood vessels), and various types of dark skin cancers (melanomas).


Sebum is a specific fat that is made by the body to protect the hair. For this purpose, the sebum is secreted by the talar glands on the hair roots. These sebaceous glands can easily clog, leading to increased accumulation of sebum. This collection, if sufficiently large, can make a bump under the skin. If the sebaceous gland is additionally infected by bacteria on the skin, it leads to a small inflammation. The sebaceous gland swells, causing a big, red and painful bump. As a rule, both the infected and the blocked sebaceous glands disappear within a few days on their own.

Bump under the skin after a vaccination

Immediately after vaccination, the bump under the skin may be caused by the vaccine itself. The vaccine is then usually taken up by the tissue within a few minutes, so that the Impfbeule disappears. A vaccine always provides an incentive to the immune system to fight the substance. Only then can the immune cells become acquainted with the attenuated pathogen and form specific antibodies.

Thus, the immune system is well equipped when it hits the actual pathogen and can ward it off so well. After vaccination there is a lot of the vaccine at the injection site. The body reacts not only systemically but also at the place of vaccination. There are particularly many immune cells sent, so it can come to a local inflammation. This impresses as a bump under the skin.

Accompanying symptoms

The accompanying symptoms of a bump under the skin are highly dependent on the cause of the bump. In a bump by, for example, the bumping of the forehead, it usually comes in addition to pain in the area. Headaches are also possible. It can also bleed into the bump if the impact was strong enough to burst a small blood vessel. Then normally a bruise is created.

Bumps caused by infections, such as an infected congested sebaceous gland or a resulting abscess are usually painful. The inflammation also leads to redness and overheating of the affected area.

Tumors that cause a bump under the skin usually do not or only very unspecific symptoms. Benign tumors can locally squeeze structures under the skin, such as nerves or blood vessels, causing decreased skin perfusion or discomfort, but usually are only aesthetically disturbing. Malignant tumors can hurt or itch, and if they have been growing for a long time, they can also affect the entire body. It leads to increased tiredness, also nocturnal sweating, fever and weight loss are possible.


A bump under the skin can quickly cause pain. These come about either because of the cause of the bump, as happens, for example, when you hit a body part. But even infectious causes of a bump, which lead to local inflammation of the skin, usually bring local pain with it. Bumps, which are particularly large, can press on small nerve branches under the skin and there also cause pain by an irritation.


The diagnosis of a bump under the skin is usually based first on a medical history in which the doctor asks the affected person the timing of the bump and brings any connections in experience. A bump caused by bumping on a part of the body or immediately after vaccination usually requires no further diagnosis and heals after a few days. Even small bumps due to clogged sebaceous glands only have to be looked at and otherwise not further diagnosed. If there is an abscess, usually a smear is sent to the laboratory to find the pathogen that triggered the inflammation. When neoplasms of tissue usually a sample under the microscope is examined. As a result benign can be distinguished from malignant tumors.

Treatment / therapy

The treatment of a bump under the skin is quite different. In most cases, no special therapy is needed. So it is for example in bumps by bumping, immediately after vaccination or a clogged sebaceous gland the case. These bumps disappear after some time by themselves. Infected sebaceous glands and abscesses may need local antibiotic treatment. In addition, an abscess often has to be opened so that the pus can drain and a normal healing of the tissue can take place.

Even benign tumors of the skin usually need not be treated, but they can be removed if they are aesthetically disturbing or their size causes further complications. In malignant tumors usually an extended therapy is necessary. As a rule, the tumor must be excised so that no malignant cells are left in the body. In the case of particularly aggressive tumors, chemotherapy or irradiation of the affected body site may even be necessary. This is the only way to ensure that no malignant cells remain in the body. Other treatment options for the bump under the skin are directed against the accompanying symptoms. For example, if the bump is painful, cooling and analgesics are usually useful.


Most of the bumps under the skin disappear by themselves within a few days to a few weeks. The healing of an abscess can take several weeks. Benign tumors, on the other hand, usually grow for weeks to months before being removed. Malignant tumors are often present for a long time before being removed. Without treatment, the tumors would persist and continue to grow.

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