Bumps on Head

Amina Ahmad   by Amina Ahmad, MS, Biotechnology    Last updated on March 4, 2019,

bump on head

Lump or knot on head

A lump is a swollen area which can appear anywhere on the body and in most cases, is harmless. Commonly, lumps or bumps appear on the skin or under the skin anywhere in the body but there is lesser chance that bumps will occur on bones to form such as lumps on head or skull. On or inside the skin, lumps appear as cysts, abscesses, lesions, warts, etc due to skin infections, allergies, ingrown hair, etc and on the bones lumps may appear due to injury, abnormal growth, etc.

Symptoms of lumps on scalp

Lump on head is very common due to several reasons. In most cases, a person might feel some localized pain in head which goes away itself in a day or two. In some cases, a knot on head might be felt for a long time which can cause severe problems such as a hematoma or concussion when detected. Such complications need immediate medical attention. The symptoms of lump on head caused due to various reasons are:

  • Round or oval shaped swellings are observed as lumps in or above the skin
  • Some lumps can be painful.
  • Lumps can sometimes even change their color and shape or become irregular in shape if irritated.
  • Lumps on skin which occur due to an infection form small lesions or hard clusters or bumps on the skin.
  • Continuous itchiness and redness is observed on the skin.
  • Minor head injury leaves bruises or bump on head.

Causes of bump on head

Round, raised areas on head are usually painless and in most cases are harmless. There can be multiple conditions which can cause lumps on head, such as:

Ingrown hair

Ingrown hair is that which grows into the skin, rather than growing through it. This leads to the formation of some small, red, solid bumps. Sometimes, ingrown hair on head can become infected and turn into pus-filled bumps but these are generally harmless.

Seborrheic keratoses

Seborrheic keratoses are very commonly observed on the head and neck in middle-age people. These bumps are non-cancerous skin growths (like warts). There are usually risk-free and are rarely treated. In uncommon situations, they are suspected to cause skin cancer therefore it is suggested by the doctors to remove these lumps using cryotherapy or electrosurgery.

Head injury

Due to some head injury, a lump on top of head can be felt. This should not be taken lightly as it leads to the formation of a blood clot. If it does not go away in two or three days, it can lead to several complications such as loss of vision, hemorrhage, intracranial hematoma, etc. Head injury should not be ignored as it can lead to permanent damage to the body.

Bone Tumors

Bone tumors often lead to the formation of lumps on head. Uncontrolled bone cell division leads to the formation of a lump or knot on head which is commonly benign (non-cancerous) in nature. Bone tumors should be treated even if it causes a minor discomfort.

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Pilar Cysts

Pilar cysts are round painless lumps on the skin (of head-scalp). They can be of variant sizes. Cysts are a collection of oil and dead skin cells under the top layer of the scalp and are more common in women. Head cysts can weaken the hair follicles and result in temporary falling of hair. Similar to pilar cysts are epidermoid cysts. Epidermoid cysts are harmless, small, hard bumps which usually form due to keratin settlement under the skin.


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Calcified Bone

Calcification is a process of accumulation of some amount of calcium in body tissues which lead to the formation of a hard lump in a particular area. When some calcium is collected in head tissue during the healing process of musculoskeletal injuries and is not excreted, it results in hardening of those tissues. Calcification cannot be revered and is generally not curable. However, preventive action can be taken to treat disorders associated with calcification.

Sometimes, exostosis occurs due to excess calcium. During exostosis, a bone grows on top of an existing bone. An X-ray is used to determine that the bump on head is an exostosis. Treatments for such bony growths depend on the complications which arise due to them.

There are some other causes which might lead to the formation of some kind of lump on head such as moles, acne or pimples on scalp skin, some cancerous growths on scalp, folliculitis, pilomatrixoma, etc.

Head bump treatment

A lump on top of head goes away itself in a few days. However, if it does not go away then it might cause a serious problem and needs proper medical attention.

  • Proper medications should be given to treat severe lumps on scalp. Some of them are malathion and lindane. Lumps that have some chances of developing into skin cancer can be treated by using the injections of cancer drug directly in to the cancerous growth on the scalp.
  • Sometimes liquid nitrogen is used to treat head bumps. Liquid nitrogen freezes and flattens the growth or lumps and inhibits them to spread to any other area. This type of treatment is also known as Cryotherapy.
  • Surgery is necessary to remove large or infected lumps, bumps or the cysts on or in the scalp. Electro surgery is preferred when a needle is used to send some electrical charges through the lump on head and vaporize the growth in such a way that the hardened tissue can be scraped off.
  • Other treatments which can be considered for lumps on scalp are light therapy which may aid in clearing some of the lumps caused due to skin problems like that of psoriasis, etc.
  • Some home remedies such as use of neem, heena, apple cider vinegar, nutmeg powder, essential oils, etc reduce infections on the scalp.
  • Greasiness in hair and scalp should be avoided to prevent skin diseases
  • Sulphur-based hair products reduce acne lumps on the scalp.