Small Bumps on Hands: What Do They Mean?

Small Bumps on Hands: What Do They Mean?

Small bumps on hands are common. In some cases, these bumps are harmless and can be caused by numerous conditions. These include allergic reactions, skin disorders, and infections. In worst-case scenarios, skin cancer could be the reason for raised bumps on the skin.


The appearance of small bumps on hands varies in quantity and appearance. It depends on the root cause. While others may be the same color as the skin, some may be red or brown. Others can be itchy, movable, and soft.



Most raised bumps on the skin are harmless. Medical treatment is not even required unless there is pain or discomfort felt. Some reasons for small bumps include:

  • Acne

The American Academy of Dermatology claims acne is the most common condition affecting the skin in the United States alone. Bumps may be small to large in size. Some may also be painful and be inflamed and red.

  • Boils

Infected hair follicles turn into boils that appear inflamed and red. The bumps are small but are painful. Once the boil is burst, and the fluid is released, the pain and the bump go away.

  • Bullae

Contact dermatitis or chickenpox can cause fluid-filled bumps on the skin. These are also red and inflamed in appearance.

  • Cherry Angiomas

It is a skin growth commonly found on the body. This happens when blood vessels are clumped together and leads to bright-red, raised bumps on the skin.

  • Contact Dermatitis

This is the reaction of the skin to an allergy-inducing agent. The bumps are red, raised, and itchy. It may also form crusts around the bumps.

  • Calluses

These bumps can be found on the hands and feet. It is characterized by a thickened patch of skin that feels rough when touched.

  • Cysts

These are skin growths that may contain air, fluid, or another substance. It appears like a small ball on the surface of the skin and is moveable.

  • Dyshidrosis

This is also called pompholyx or dyshidrotic eczema. It is characterized by fluid-filled bumps on the palms of one’s hands. The blisters are small and can also spread to the soles of the feet. These can be itchy and appear scaly once dried up.

  • Keratosis Pilaris

This skin condition is due to keratin overgrowth. It is characterized by small bumps on hair follicles.

  • Molluscum Contagiosum

It is another small bump that is flesh-colored which appears all over the body.

  • Warts

These are rough and raised bumps that may develop on the feet and hands. Color may be brown, pink, or skin-colored. Some bumps can be caused by other conditions that need treatment. These include the following.

  • Chickenpox

The bumps are itchy and red. It is a childhood virus that appears all throughout the body.

  • Impetigo

This infection is caused by bacteria and commonly affects young kids. It is contagious and is manifested by red blisters. These blisters may ooze and crust.


When to See a Doctor



As mentioned, some bumps on the hands and skin are harmless. However, medical attention is needed if the following are observed.

  • Bumps Worsen or Change in Appearance
  • Bumps Last for a Long Time
  • Bumps Are Painful or Cause Discomfort

Bumps should also be checked by a doctor if the cause is unknown or if an infection is suspected. A doctor will inspect the said bumps and will carry out a physical examination. An individual will be asked about their lifestyle, medical history, and details about when and how the bump appeared.

If a doctor suspects the bump is cancerous, then a skin biopsy is performed. A skin biopsy involves taking a tiny sample of the tissue from the area affected. The doctor may then refer the individual to another specialist for further tests, depending on the results of the biopsy.



Treatment wholly depends on the cause of the bumps.

  • For Warts, Cysts, or Lipomas

Treatment involves freezing warts. On the other hand, for lipomas and cysts, surgery is needed to remove them.

Corticosteroids in ointment or cream forms help in reducing the blisters associated with dyshidrosis. If corticosteroids fail in treating the blisters, then phototherapy is utilized which involves exposure of the skin to ultraviolet light combined with drugs. Other treatment methods include injections of botulinum toxin and immune-suppressing ointments. For home remedies, using a cold compress can reduce itching. Applying witch hazel on the bumps can also hasten wound healing.

  • For Itchy or Irritated Bumps

Creams and topical ointments are used to lessen the inflammation and reduce itchiness. Antihistamine drugs can also be taken as this help reduce itching.

  • For Bumps Caused by Bacteria or Virus

Prescription medications are given by a doctor for bumps caused by a bacterial infection. However, for viral infections, medications are prescribed to ease the symptoms, specifically for bumps like herpes.

  • For Bumps That Are Precancerous or Cancerous

The bumps are entirely removed. Follow-up appointments are required to ensure that cancer in the area does not return.



As most of the underlying causes of bumps on the hands are due to infections, proper hygiene should be followed. Caring for the skin is also a must. Here are a few practices to keep in mind to prevent the occurrence of bumps on the hands.

  • Moisturize the skin and keep it well lubricated. Use lotions and creams. The lotions or moisturizers used should be free of fragrances, dyes, alcohol, and scents.
  • Make it a habit to wash both feet and hands every day. Lukewarm water is best. Also, use soap that has a mild scent. Pat the skin dry and do not rub.
  • Rings or other accessories should be taken off from the hands when washing. Moisture can be trapped in these areas and cause further blisters.
  • If allergies are the likely cause of eczema, then steer clear of what triggers the allergies.
  • If there are already blisters on the skin, then stop scratching it to prevent it from getting worse.
  • Wear gloves when washing dishes or whenever the hands need to be in the water.


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