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Though you may not be able to see bumps on your scalp due to the thickness of your hair, you may first feel the irregularities with your fingertips during shampooing, styling your hair or scratching your scalp. Various conditions can cause bumps to appear on and under the surface of your scalp skin. Contact your doctor for any unusual or persistent skin conditions, including bumps on your scalp.


Skin bumps occur for a variety of reasons. Determining the best course of treatment to eliminate the bumps depends on the underlying cause. Though a bump may form under your skin after hitting your head, scalp bumps that appear without trauma indicate the presence of a skin condition.

Common Causes

Skin conditions that cause bumps on other areas of your body may also cause bumps to form on your scalp; however, certain conditions affect the scalp more than other locations. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, sebaceous cysts commonly form on the scalp, creating the presence of slow-growing bumps under your skin. A common scalp condition that causes small bumps to form just below the outer surface of the skin involves the presence of small insects known as lice. Psoriasis may also affect the skin on your scalp, causing small bumps during the initial stages.


In addition to the presence of bumps, you may experience additional symptoms that can help provide an explanation for your scalp condition. Scalp cysts contain dead skin cells and tend to grow very gradually. An infected cyst may feel tender and painful to the touch. The bumps from head lice may feel itchy and turn red. These bumps can spread to the back of your neck and shoulders. Small red bumps that form scales can indicate the presence of psoriasis. You may also notice itching and burning with psoriasis bumps.


Your doctor can closely examine your scalp and hair or perform tests to help determine the reason for your scalp bumps.


If a lice infestation is responsible for your scalp bumps, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter treatment to remove the insects and their eggs. If these treatments don’t work, you may require a prescription-strength medication, such as malathion or lindane. Topical treatments or light therapy may help clear some cases of psoriasis. Surgical removal of sebaceous cysts may eliminate large or infected bumps that form on your scalp.