When Is a Bump On the Forehead Serious? Everything to Know
This article discusses the causes of a bump on the forehead and when it needs medical attention. It also explains treatment options, how doctors diagnose the cause, and more.
Bumps that appear after an injury — such as a fall, car accident, or sports accident — may require emergency treatment.
Some head injuries do not appear serious from the outside. However, they may severely impact the brain.
Important symptoms that require emergency treatment include:
- dilated pupils
- loss of consciousness
- vision changes
- slurred speech
- severe headache
- memory loss
Many conditions may cause a bump on your forehead, including skin conditions, injuries, and other health conditions.
Acne occurs when your hair follicles become clogged. This may happen when your sebaceous glands produce too much sebum, an oily substance that lubricates your hair and skin.
Excess sebum can mix with dead skin cells and block the follicle, causing a white or black bulge. Sometimes, bacteria on the skin may cause an infection in the follicles. In turn, this can create larger acne, such as:
Injury or trauma
A head injury can cause a painful swollen bump to form in the affected area. The bump on the forehead may initially start small and grow over several hours or days.
A swollen bump from a head injury may resolve on its own. However, seek a medical evaluation if you experience other symptoms, such as:
Insect stings or bites
Insect stings or bites can cause bumps to form on the head. These may be painful, itchy, or red and discolored.
Sizes of bites vary depending on the type of bug and how your skin reacts. Sometimes, you may have multiple bumps from several bites.
Most bug bites go away on their own. However, if you are allergic to the biting or stinging insect, seek emergency medical care.
Be sure to clean bug bites with soap and water to prevent infection. Do not scratch the bite, which can encourage infection. Your doctor or pharmacist may recommend an OTC cream to soothe itchiness.
To prevent bug bites and stings, experts recommend applying a DEET-based bug repellent when going outside in areas with bug activity.
Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that can form anywhere in the body. Epidermoid cysts, sometimes known as sebaceous cysts, are fluid-filled sacs in the skin. These typically form on the face, neck, or torso. However, they can also form in other areas.
Cysts are typically slow growing and may appear as white, yellow, or skin-colored bumps. Sometimes, they become inflamed. Inflamed cysts are discolored or red, tender, and warm to the touch.
Lipomas are noncancerous growths of fatty tissue under the skin. They are typically painless and feel soft or rubbery when you touch them.
Lipomas typically grow on the torso or forearms, but they can also appear on the forehead and other areas.
The cause of lipomas is currently unclear. However, the condition does seem to have a genetic component.
Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the bump.
For minor injuries, you can try applying a cold compress or ice to help reduce swelling. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), can help with pain relief.
Surgical removal is an option for some cysts and lipomas. This procedure can be for cosmetic purposes or if the lump is pressing on surrounding tissues.
Your doctor will explain which treatments they recommend and answer any questions you may have.
Most bumps on the head heal on their own over a few days or weeks. However, other symptoms may indicate an infection or other complications. In these cases, seek medical care.
Symptoms that indicate complications include the emergency symptoms listed above, along with:
- redness or discoloration and warmth
To diagnose the cause of your bump, your doctor may ask about your recent symptoms and assess the area. They may also take a full medical history and ask about any medications you are currently taking.
Most bumps do not require further testing. However, if your bump results from an injury, your doctor may order additional testing to rule out internal injury.
If you have a bump on your head from an injury, you should rest, apply ice, and monitor for emergency symptoms.
If you have a bump on your head from another cause, monitor the bump for symptoms of complications, such as infection.
Seek medical advice for unexplained bumps, bumps that don’t resolve on their own, or other symptoms alongside the bump.
Here are some more frequently asked questions about a bump on the forehead.
Do forehead osteomas go away?
Osteomas, which are benign growths on the bone, may go away on their own after a few years. Another option is surgery to have the osteoma removed.
Is a cancerous lump hard or soft?
Depending on the type of cancer, these lumps may feel firm or soft. It is important to contact your doctor if you have concerns about either a hard or soft lump. They will be able to carry out tests to determine the cause.
What causes a sudden lump on the forehead without injury?
Bumps on the forehead may result from a head injury or various health conditions. Bumps that require emergency care typically occur after an injury.
Signs that you need medical attention after developing a bump on the forehead include symptoms of brain injury. These include neurological changes, such as dilated pupils, vomiting, and seizures. Severe headaches are another sign to seek emergency care.
Other causes of bumps on the forehead include acne, cysts, and lipomas. Bug bites can also occur on your head and cause a small bump.
Treating the forehead bump depends on the underlying cause. Applying ice to injuries can decrease swelling, while using OTC creams can relieve acne and bug bites.
If you have concerns about a bump on your forehead, seek medical advice.