Forehead bumps are often caused by acne. But rosacea, folliculitis, and other skin conditions can also cause them. The bumps may disappear on their own with a few changes to your skin care routine, but talk with a healthcare professional if they don’t.
There are many possible reasons for tiny forehead bumps. Often, people associate these bumps with acne, but this isn’t the only cause. They could be related to things like dead skin cells, damaged hair follicles, or allergic reactions.
In general, small forehead bumps aren’t serious. But if you don’t like how they look, you can try to get rid of them.
In this article, we’ll explore possible causes for tiny forehead bumps, along with home remedies and medical treatments.
Since there are many causes of little forehead bumps, it’s important to pay attention to other symptoms. This may help you figure out what you have.
Forehead acne can appear as tiny bumps. It may be caused by the following kinds of acne:
- Comedones. Comedonal acne happens when dead skin cells and oil, or sebum, block your pores and form bumps on your skin. Whiteheads are closed comedones, and blackheads are open ones.
- Papules. If your pores become further inflamed or irritated, they can form larger bumps called papules.
- Pustules. These are red papules with pus on the top.
Small white forehead bumps might be milia. These bumps develop when dead skin cells are trapped in pockets under the skin’s surface.
Typically, milia affects newborns, but children and adults can get them too.
There are many kinds of milia, but the following types are most associated with forehead bumps:
- Primary milia. This kind often shows up on the forehead, eyelids, cheeks, and genitals. They usually clear up without treatment within several months.
- Secondary milia. If the skin is damaged, secondary milia can develop as it heals. This can occur after injuries like burns, blisters, or excess sun exposure.
Rosacea is a skin disease that causes redness and bumps. It usually affects the face, including your forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin.
In addition to facial redness and bumpy skin, rosacea symptoms include:
- acne-like papules and pustules
- skin thickening, such as of the nose
- visible red blood vessels
- dry, itchy eyes
- vision problems
Rosacea is most common in women and people with fair skin, but it can affect anyone.
Contact dermatitis happens when your skin touches a substance that causes a rash.
Allergic contact dermatitis is caused by a reaction to an allergen like nickel or poison ivy. Irritant contact dermatitis, which is more common, develops when a substance irritates the skin. It can also occur after frequently handling things like harsh soap or water.
If an allergen or irritant touches your forehead, you may get tiny red bumps. Other symptoms include:
- swelling and tenderness
- dryness and cracking
Small forehead bumps with pus may be caused by folliculitis, or inflammation of the hair follicles. In general, folliculitis occurs when bacteria infect damaged follicles.
You may irritate your follicles while shaving, waxing, or frequently touching your skin.
If you have folliculitis on your scalp, you might develop bumps on your hairline or forehead. They’ll look like clusters of tiny white or red bumps.
You might also experience the following symptoms:
- itchiness and burning
- pus-filled blisters
- a big swollen bump
Tiny bumps might be a sign of ringworm, a type of fungal infection. It causes a ring-shaped rash that may be clear or scaly on the inside.
Ringworm symptoms also include:
- slow-growing rash
- red or pink (on lighter skin)
- brown or darker pigmentation (on darker skin)
You can also get ringworm by touching someone with ringworm or something they’ve used, like a towel.
There are some things you can do to treat tiny forehead bumps at home. You can:
Cleanse your face
Washing your face with a gentle cleanser will remove excess oil, sweat, and other debris.
Be careful if your skin is irritated or inflamed. It’s best to use a cleanser that’s formulated for your specific condition.
After cleansing your face, moisturize with a gentle cream or lotion. This product should be oil-free and noncomedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores.
Moisturizing can help soothe bumps caused by irritation. It can also keep your skin healthy by retaining hydration and preventing dryness.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medications may help conditions that cause forehead bumps. These include:
- Medicated creams or gels. Skin care products with medication, like salicylic acid, might ease acne. OTC topical Differin is a powerful retinoid that can prevent future acne bumps. You can also buy anti-redness products for rosacea, such as green-tinted makeup.
- Antifungal creams. If you have mild ringworm, an OTC anti-fungal cream can treat it.
- Anti-itch creams. Contact dermatitis can be soothed with an anti-itch cream, like hydrocortisone. If you have allergic contact dermatitis, it’s important to identify and remove the substance that’s causing the reaction. If you have irritant contact dermatitis, avoiding the substance that’s causing the reaction, such as excessive exposure to water, is key to successful treatment.
- Antihistamine pills. Take an antihistamine if you have a mild allergic skin reaction.
If home remedies don’t work, visit a doctor. They can provide medical treatments, such as:
Topical or oral medication is stronger than OTC medication. Depending on the cause of your forehead bumps, your doctor might prescribe:
- antifungal medication
- more potent topical retinoids
- stronger topical corticosteroids
In some cases, a doctor may suggest more intense treatments, such as:
- Laser therapy. Different types of laser or light therapy might treat acne and rosacea. Laser hair removal, which permanently eliminates hair follicles, is sometimes used for recurrent and recalcitrant folliculitis.
- Chemical peel. This treatment uses a chemical to exfoliate the skin
- Extraction. If the bumps are milia, a doctor can physically remove them.
Typically, mild causes of forehead bumps can be treated at home. But if the bumps get worse or don’t go away, it’s best to see a doctor.
You should also seek medical help if you have additional symptoms, such as:
Even if the cause is mild, a doctor can provide a diagnosis and recommend the best treatment for you.
Some causes of bumps, like acne and rosacea, may be genetic. But it’s possible to minimize your risk of developing more forehead bumps.
To keep your skin healthy, follow these tips:
- Wash your face. Use a gentle cleanser to wash your face twice a day and after sweating.
- Moisturize. After washing your face, apply a noncomedogenic, oil-free moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.
- Protect your skin from the sun. Sun exposure can worsen conditions like rosacea. Wear sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat to avoid irritation.
Generally, small forehead bumps aren’t caused by a serious condition. Depending on the cause, home remedies may help remove them.
See a doctor if the bumps hurt or feel itchy. They can determine what’s causing the bumps and the best way to treat them.