Bumps on Face: Causes and Effective Treatments (Science Based)

Bumps on Face: Causes, Treatments and When to See a Doctor
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Bumps on the face can come in many shapes and sizes. Skin conditions like acne can cause red bumps that may have a pus-filled white center. Or, you may notice that little white bumps around your eyes or cheeks have appeared. Other types of facial bumps could look like a bumpy rash that isn’t acne with hard, flesh-colored bumps that won’t pop, or you may notice a dark mole appearing that needs to be examined by a dermatologist.

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Noticing any kind of bump on your face can be a cause for concern, at least from a cosmetic point of view. A large red bump on your face will make you very self-conscious. Even just having clusters of tiny blackheads or whiteheads is enough to reach for concealer to cover up the unsightly spots.

The causes of bumps appearing on your face are many and varied. Having an oily complexion or too much sebum on your face can block pores that become infected and inflamed. Or, having an oily face could result in groups of blackheads on your nose, cheeks, or forehead. A viral infection could also cause sore bumps on your lips that ooze fluid before crusting over.

How can you get a clear complexion and get rid of bumps on your face? Should you try to pop bumps on your face to remove them?

In this article, you will learn about facial bumps and what to do to get rid of them from your face.

How do Bumps on Face Look Like?

You might have large red facial bumps if they are caused by infected or blocked pores on your forehead, cheeks, chin or nose, These can appear as just one or two pimples or you may have a cluster of inflamed and swollen red pores. These pustules may be tender to touch and become filled with pus.

Not all bumps that appear on your face are caused by acne and become red pimples that look unsightly. Raised skin bumps can sometimes be a result of a keratin buildup under your skin that causes small white bumps or skin colored bumps on your face. These types of spots generally don’t have other symptoms other than giving your face a bumpy appearance.

Causes of Bumps on Face

What can be causing the outbreak of bumps on your face and how can you prevent these facial bumps becoming worse?

Razor burn and razor bumps on face

Shaving facial hair is one reason why many men get red sore bumps on their face.

Razors bumps (medical name: pseudofolliculitis barbae) are small red bumps that appear on shaved areas of the face. According to dermatologist Dr. Amanda Oakley, razor bumps occur when ingrown facial hairs cause inflammation when the hair has been shaved. This can cause a red bumpy rash that looks like acne on the cheeks, chin, and neck after shaving.1

Razor burns can cause an irritating red rash with tiny red bumps on the shaved facial area. The irritated skin can be tender to touch and start itching. Depending on the severity of razor burns, dead skin cells can also block pores and cause larger pus-filled pimples on your face.

Of course, razor bumps and razor burns can affect any shaved area of your body.

To help prevent razor bumps appearing, dermatologist Dr. Wendy Levinbook from Hartford Dermatology Associates recommends to always shave in the direction of the growing hair. You should also avoid shaving too closely and use as few shaving strokes as possible.2

These same principles apply if you shave your bikini area, armpits, or legs. Using the correct shaving techniques can help avoid ingrown hair and bumps.

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Facial acne

Acne is a common reason for lots of red bumps on your face and can affect men and women alike.

Acne bumps on the face form when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. According to doctors from the Mayo Clinic, plugged hair follicles then become inflamed when bacteria cause an infection. This can result in raised red spots that have a white center and are sore to touch.3

To get rid of acne bumps, you should always resist the temptation to pop a pimple. If you squeeze an infected hair follicle too much, this could force the infection deeper into your skin and cause large painful cysts on your face.

There are many great and effective ways to get rid of facial acne. At the end of this article, you can see how to use tea tree oil for acne and what ingredients make excellent natural skin toners for acne-prone skin. This can help you avoid causing acne scars on your face and keep your complexion clear.

Blackheads and whiteheads cause tiny bumps on face

One reason for tiny bumps on your face caused by blocked pores is blackheads or whiteheads.

Blackheads and whiteheads are both caused by the same reason – plugged pores on the skin. The reason that blackheads look like small black dots is that the oil plugs oxidize with the air. Dr. Debra Jaliman on WebMD reports that whiteheads and blackheads are both a form of acne, however, they are not infected with bacteria.4

There are many ways you can get rid of whiteheads and blackheads. For example, facial steaming can help to unclog pores naturally and give you a brighter, clearer complexion.

Cold sores causing bumps on lips

Cold sores, or fever blisters, will cause sore bumps on your lips that blister and then crust over.

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex type 1 virus (HSV-1) and can cause lip sores if you are under stress, have a weakened immune system, or have been exposed to strong sunlight.

According to Dr. Neha Pathak on WebMD, cold sores generally show up on the outside of your mouth and lips, although they can also appear in the nose. The first signs of a fever blister might be a tingling sensation. Then a cluster of blisters will form on your lip. They will ooze fluid and then form into a scab.5

One way to get rid of a cold sore bump on your lip naturally is to apply raw honey. The journal Medical Science Monitor reported on a study showing that raw, natural honey can act as a natural antiviral treatment. In fact, research has shown that raw honey for cold sores is just as effective as acyclovir, which is an antiviral medication commonly used to treat cold sores.6

All you need to do to get rid of cold sore bumps is to dab a little raw honey 3 to 4 times a day to help speed up the healing time and soothe discomfort the lip bump causes. The best honey to use is Manuka honey for its healing and antimicrobial properties.

Allergic reactions

An allergic reaction could cause bumps on your face and swelling around your eyes that may itch and make your eyes water.

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Allergic reactions are a result of your immune system reacting to allergens. Dr. John Cunha on eMedicineHealth reports that allergic reactions can cause bumps on the face or neck. These bumps can show up on the eyelids, lips, tongue, or throat. Other associated symptoms of an allergic reaction are skin irritations or hives, shortness of breath, nausea and/or vomiting.7

If you suffer from an allergy, you can try some of these essential oils for allergy or natural antihistamines to help reduce the severity of allergic reactions.

If you feel that your throat is closing due to an allergic reaction, you should visit the emergency room at your nearest hospital.

Milia causes white bumps on face

Tiny white bumps on your face around your eyes that give your skin a bumpy appearance could be milia.

Milia is described as small, pearly-white bumps that are just under your skin’s surface. Specialist in dermatology, Dr. Monisha Gupta says that these bumps are formed by keratin, a skin protein. Milia often affect newborn babies. In adults, Dr. Gupta says that tiny white bumps are usually found around the cheeks, forehead, and eyelids.8

These hard, white bumps may look like whiteheads but they can’t be popped and are not itchy or painful. According to doctors from the Mayo Clinic, milia will usually go away on their own and medical treatment isn’t recommended.9

Xanthelasma

A yellowish bump around your eyelids that isn’t painful or itchy could be a sign of xanthelasma.

Doctors at the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology say that these bumps on your face are made up of cholesterol deposits. They are often associated with people who have liver disease or high cholesterol. Some reports say that these yellowish bumps around your eye could be a sign that you are at risk of coronary heart disease.10

According to Dr. Alan Kozarsky, xanthelasma bumps don’t go away on their own. If they are causing you distress, you should see your doctor to discuss options for removing them.11

Fordyce spots on the face

Fordyce spots appear as white bumps around the edges of the lips and are completely harmless.

Many people have Fordyce spots (sometimes called Fordyce granules) and they don’t cause any other symptoms. The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology says that usually these tiny white bumps are seen on the border of the lips. However, you may also notice them in your lip or inside the lining of the cheeks.12

Other Types of Bumps That Can Appear on Face

There are other types of bumps and skin lesions that can show up on your face as well as other parts of your body:

Warts

Warts can appear as a bump on your face if you have been infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV). Dr. Stephanie Gardner on WebMD says that flat warts are more commonly found on the face. These have a smooth and flat appearance and they are not as large as other warts.13

Skin tags

Skin tags are common types of bumps on the face and other parts of the body. Dr. Gary Cole on MedicineNet says that skin tags are soft skin growths that are harmless but annoying.14

To find out how to get rid of these skin bumps, please read my article on how to remove skin tags and warts naturally.

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Moles

Moles are also a common skin growth that cause brown, black-colored or red bumps on your face or body. Moles can change in appearance over time. Dr. Stephanie Gardner on WebMD says that it’s important to be observant to any changes in the appearance and color of a mole. Some changes to a mole could be the start of skin cancer and it’s important to visit a dermatologist if you are concerned.15

Bug bites

A lump that quickly appears on your face and is itchy and red could be because of a bug bite or sting. Doctors from the National Health Service say that insect bites or stings can cause a small red lump on your skin. Bites on your face from mosquitoes and bed bugs can be a reason for itchy red lumps that are irritating.16

There are many natural home remedies that are great to soothe insect bites discomfort.

Calcium deposits

Small deposits of calcium salts can happen anywhere on the body, but calcium deposits on the face can be especially distressing. Facial calcium deposits can look like small white bumps on the cheeks, forehead, around the eyes, and near the ears. These groups of whitish pimple-like nodules, known as calcinosis cutis, occur just under the skin and can be caused by acne on the face, trauma to the facial skin, an overactive thyroid gland, or other underlying medical conditions.

You can find more information about calcium deposits in my article about common causes of calcium deposits on face and effective treatments.

Natural Home Remedies to Get Rid of Bumps on Face

Let’s look at some natural ways to get rid of bumps on your face and help you get a more youthful complexion.

Sugar scrub

A sugar scrub can help to get rid of bumps on your face that are caused by razor bumps, blackheads or whiteheads.

A study published in the journal Cutis found that glycolic acid can help to reduce inflammation caused by razor bumps by 60%.17 Sugar cane and milk are natural sources of glycolic acid and can be combined to make a natural face mask.

How to make a sugar scrub for inflamed bumps:

It is very easy to make your own sugar scrub if you need to get rid of razor bumps and blackheads or whitehead pimples quickly. This is what you should do:

  1. Put 2 tablespoons organic, raw sugar into a blender or coffee grinder until you have a fine powder.
  2. Mix the sugar with 2 tablespoons raw honey and add the juice of half a lemon. Mix well.
  3. Apply the sugar scrub remedy to your face with gentle circular motions.
  4. Leave for 5-10 minutes and rinse off with warm water.
  5. Use 1-2 times a week to help prevent bumps on your face from shaving or pimple infections.

Baking soda and coconut oil

Another way to naturally exfoliate your face to prevent skin pores becoming clogged and infected is to use a baking soda and virgin coconut oil remedy.

The grainy texture of baking soda can help to lift ingrown hairs and remove dead skin cells, as well as generally improve your skin appearance. Virgin coconut oil also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to soothe skin and prevent infections.

How to use:

To make your own baking soda scrub at home to help remove bumps on your face, this is what you should do:

  1. Mix well 1 tablespoon baking soda with 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil to make a thick paste.
  2. Gently massage the remedy onto the areas of your face where you have red bumps and leave for a few minutes.
  3. Rinse off with warm water.
  4. Use the natural scrub 1 or 2 times a week to help unclog pores and prevent sore red bumps on your face.

Tea tree oil for acne bumps on face

Tea tree oil is an effective natural remedy to clear up acne bumps or pimples on your face and prevent pores becoming infected.

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For example, a research published in the Medical Journal of Australia found that tea tree oil is a natural acne treatment. Researchers found that the antimicrobial properties of tea tree oil help to get rid of inflamed pustules and pimples on the face caused by acne. In fact, tea tree oil was as effective as some pharmaceutical acne treatments but with fewer side effects.18

You can also use tea tree oil to treat mite bites or help get rid of a bed bug rash naturally.

How to use tea tree oil for getting rid of facial bumps:

You can use tea tree oil as a spot treatment on one or 2 large bumps or make a facial cleanser. This is what you should do:

  1. Mix 3-4 drops of tea tree oil with a tablespoon of a carrier oil.
  2. Using a cotton ball, gently apply the tea tree oil cleanser to patches of bumps on your face.
  3. Leave for 15-20 minutes and rinse off with warm water.
  4. Repeat 2 times a day and continue using until the infected bumps on your face have gone.

Witch hazel

You can use the natural astringent power of witch hazel to get rid of bumps or rashes on your face.

Witch hazel has many properties that make it a great remedy for treating skin inflammation. For example, the publication Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects reports that the high levels of tannins in witch hazel help to soothe skin inflammation and can get rid of infected bumps. Witch hazel is also a natural antiseptic and can fight bacteria on your skin to prevent pimples, pustules, whiteheads, and blackheads.19

How to use witch hazel:

To use witch hazel to remove small and larger bumps from your face that are caused by clogged pores, this is what you should do:

  1. Buy pure witch hazel (make sure it is alcohol-free).
  2. Mix 1 oz. witch hazel with 3 drops tea tree oil and 3 drops lavender essential oil.
  3. Apply the witch hazel remedy to the bumps on your face using a cotton ball.
  4. Repeat 1-2 times a day to help get rid of acne bumps, whiteheads, and blackheads.

Apple cider vinegar for facial bumps

You can use raw unprocessed apple cider vinegar as a natural remedy for facial bumps that are caused by inflammation or bacterial skin infections.

The benefits of using apple cider vinegar on your skin come from its high levels of acetic acid. For example, the journal Advances in Wound Care reported that acetic acid applications can help to kill off bacteria on the skin and soothe inflammation.20 Also, the Journal of Dermatology reported that acetic acid acts as a peeling agent that can help to rejuvenate the skin’s appearance.21

How to use apple cider vinegar on your face:

This is how to cleanse your face using apple cider vinegar to help reduce bumps on your face:

  1. Mix equal parts of water and raw apple cider vinegar.
  2. Dip a cotton ball to apply the natural remedy to sore bumps on your face.
  3. Leave to dry and then rinse with warm water.
  4. Repeat 2 times a day until you no longer have irritating bumps on your face.

The apple cider vinegar remedy may sting a little at first. This is normal. However, if it stings too much, try diluting the apple cider vinegar with more water.

Face mask to get rid of bumps on face naturally

There are a number of natural face masks that you can use to get rid of unsightly bumps on your face that show signs of inflammation.

Please read my article on how to make your own face masks for acne at home. There you will find how to use ingredients like oatmeal, clay, green tea, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, and honey to keep your facial skin looking and feeling great – and of course, bump-free!

When to See a Doctor for Facial Bumps

Most bumps that appear on the face are harmless and can be treated with natural remedies.

However, you should see a doctor or dermatologist for any irregular or irritated bumps on your face. Doctors from WebMD recommend visiting your doctor for bumps on your face in the following circumstances:22

  • You notice changes in the size, shape, or color of a mole or skin growth.
  • A bump on your face is red, tender, and bleeds easily.
  • A patch of skin on your face that looks like a scar and is firm to touch.
  • Bump that itches, bleeds, crusts over, and then repeats the cycle and has not healed in 3 weeks.

Read my other related articles:

Article Sources

  1. DermNetNZ. Folliculitis barbae.
  2. MerckManuals. Ingrown beard hairs.
  3. MayoClinic. Acne.
  4. WebMD. Understanding acne symptoms.
  5. WebMD. What are cold sores?
  6. Med Sci Monit.2004 Aug;10(8):MT94-8.
  7. eMedicineHealth. Allergic reactions.
  8. DermNetNZ. Milum, milia.
  9. MayoClinic. Milia.
  10. AOCD. Hanthelasma.
  11. WebMD. Hanthelasma.
  12. AOCD. Fordyce spots.
  13. WebMD. Skin conditions and warts.
  14. MedicineNet. Skin tag.
  15. WebMD. Moles, freckles, and skin tags.
  16. NHS. Insect bites and stings.
  17. 1993 Oct;52(4):232-5.
  18. Med J Aust.1990 Oct 15;153(8):455-8.
  19. NCBI. Herbal treatment for dermatologic disorders.
  20. Adv Wound Care (New Rochelle). 2015 Jul 1; 4(7): 363–372.
  21. J Dermatol.2006 Jan;33(1):16-22.
  22. WebMD. When to call a doctor
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