Symptoms A-Z

What Causes Hard Scalp Bumps & When to See a Doctor

Hard bumps on the scalp usually occur due to skin infections,. Common skin infections for this condition include infected hair follicles, cysts on the scalp, or pimples on the scalp. Bumps on the scalp are also caused by traumatic injury or abnormal cell growth. Read below for more information on associated symptoms, other causes, and treatment options.

An image depicting a person suffering from hard scalp bump symptoms

Hard Scalp Bump Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you're having hard scalp bump

Contents

  1. 4 Possible Hard Scalp Bump Causes
  2. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  3. Statistics

4 Possible Hard Scalp Bump Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced hard scalp bump. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Skin cyst

A cyst is a small sac or lump, filled with fluid, air, fat, or other material, that begins to grow somewhere in the body for no apparent reason. A skin cyst is one that forms just beneath the skin.

It's believed that skin cysts form around trapped keratin cells – the cells that form the relatively tough outer layer of the skin.

These cysts are not contagious.

Anyone can get a skin cyst, but they are most common in those who are over age 18, have acne, or have injured the skin.

Symptoms include the appearance of a small, rounded lump under the skin. Cysts are normally painless unless infected, when they will be reddened and sore and contain pus.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination. A small cyst can be left alone, though if it is unsightly or large enough to interfere with movement it can be removed in a simple procedure done in a doctor's office. An infected cyst must be treated so that the infection does not spread.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: skin-colored armpit bump, marble sized armpit lump, small armpit lump

Symptoms that always occur with skin cyst: skin-colored armpit bump

Urgency: Wait and watch

Wart

Warts, also called common warts or verrucae, are small, rough, rounded growths on the top layer of the skin. They may appear alone or in clusters. Common warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and are contagious through direct contact. They may spread from one place on the body to another simply through touch.

Warts often first appear on the hands and fingers, especially near the nails or after any injury to the skin. This is why biting fingernails is a risk factor for warts.

Warts are benign, meaning they are not cancerous. But they can be unsightly and interfere with normal use of the hands, so treatment is often beneficial through a few different methods of removal.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: small facial lump, painless facial bump, skin-colored facial bump, scaly facial bump

Symptoms that never occur with wart: headache

Urgency: Self-treatment

Hard Scalp Bump Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you're having hard scalp bump

Lipoma

Lipoma is a word that translates as "fatty tumor," but a lipoma is not cancer. It is simply a growth of fat between the muscle layer and the skin above it.

The exact cause is not known. The condition does run in families and is associated with other unusual syndromes such as adiposis dolorosa, which is similar. Lipomas most often appear after age 40.

Symptoms include a soft, easily moveable lump beneath the skin, about two inches across. A lipoma is painless unless its growth is irritating the nerves around it. They are most often found on the back, neck, and abdomen, and sometimes the arms and upper legs.

It is a good idea to have any new or unusual growth checked by a medical provider, just to make certain it is benign.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination, biopsy, and imaging such as ultrasound or CT scan.

Most of the time, treatment is not necessary unless the lipoma is unsightly or is interfering with other structures. It can be removed through surgery or liposuction.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: skin-colored groin bump, marble sized groin lump, small groin lump

Symptoms that always occur with lipoma: skin-colored groin bump

Urgency: Wait and watch

Skin abscess

A skin abscess is a large pocket of pus that has formed just beneath the skin. It is caused by bacteria getting under the skin, usually through a small cut or scratch, and beginning to multiply. The body fights the invasion with white blood cells, which kill some of the infected tissue but form pus within the cavity that remains.

Symptoms include a large, red, swollen, painful lump of pus anywhere on the body beneath the skin. There may be fever, chills, and body aches from the infection.

If not treated, there is the risk of an abscess enlarging, spreading, and causing serious illness.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination.

A small abscess may heal on its own, through the body's immune system. But some will need to be drained or lanced in a medical provider's office so that the pus can be cleaned out. Antibiotics are usually prescribed.

Keeping the skin clean, and using only clean clothes and towels, will help to make sure that the abscess does not recur.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: rash with bumps or blisters, red rash, red skin bump larger than 1/2 cm in diameter, pus-filled rash, rash

Symptoms that always occur with skin abscess: rash with bumps or blisters

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Hard Scalp Bump

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • What color is the bump?
  • Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Are you experiencing a headache?
  • Do you feel pain when you touch the bump?

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Take a quiz to find out why you're having hard scalp bump

Hard Scalp Bump Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced hard scalp bump have also experienced:

  • 14% Headache
  • 8% Scalp Bump
  • 7% Painful Scalp Bump

People who have experienced hard scalp bump were most often matched with:

  • 100% Wart

People who have experienced hard scalp bump had symptoms persist for:

  • 43% Over a month
  • 27% Less than a week
  • 13% Less than a day

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Hard Scalp Bump Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you're having hard scalp bump