Lumps & Bumps

When it comes to lumps and bumps, the condition can be pretty difficult to identify simply because cysts, abscesses and lipomas all have one common feature: they cause a lump or bump on the skin. 


Here’s an easier way for you to identify these various types of skin lumps and seek treatment where necessary



Lipoma, Lumps and Bumps

A skin lipoma is a soft, fatty growth which develops under your skin. It can be found anywhere on your body, but usually forms on your neck, shoulders or back. A lipoma typically feels soft and does not cause any pain.


A lipoma also occurs just under the skin, is soft to the touch and moves easily if prodded with the finger. Other distinct features of a lipoma include it being pale and colourless and grows very slowly.


Sebaceous Cyst

Sebaceous Cyst, Cyst, Lumps and Bumps

A sebaceous cyst is a small lump or bump on the skin which is non-cancerous. It is most frequently found on the face, neck, upper chest and upper back. However, they can occur anywhere else on the skin.


Usually, a sebaceous cyst grows gradually and does not cause any pain. However, they may become infected or inflamed, and the overlying skin turns red, sore and tender. A bad-smelling, cheese-like material can sometimes also drain from your cyst. In these cases, treatment can reduce the discomfort you experience and improve the appearance of your skin.


Skin Abscess

Skin Abscess, Abscess, Lumps and Bumps

A skin abscess is a bump on your skin which contains a collection of pus. It usually develops from a skin infection or the introduction of foreign matter under your skin. A typical skin abscess is painful, swollen and warm when you touch it. The skin surrounding your abscess appears pink or red. Skin abscesses may occur in any part of your skin. Common places of skin abscess include your underarms and groins, face, chest, back and buttocks.


It is important to note that though unlike skin cysts which are fluid-filled lumps which are not infected, skin abscesses are infected areas of skin. It is possible for skin abscesses to develop from skin cysts.



Any new lumps or bumps that you develop should be brought to the attention of a medical professional. While rare, lumps and bumps can be an indication of cancer (lymphomas or metastatic cancer from other sites), infections such as cat-scratch fever, or old trauma scars and other problems.


Although it is impossible to know what something is until it is out and looked at under the microscope, doctors are usually able to determine if the lesion is a classic cyst, lipoma, or abscess and whether it needs to be biopsied or removed.


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The information provided on this website is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. G & L Surgical makes no representation and assumes no responsibility if the information, contained on or available through this website, is taken without our specialists’ consult.