Ask the expert

Lump above eyebrow

28 July 2023

There are various possible causes for a small lump above your eyebrow, such as skin cysts, sebaceous cysts, folliculitis, lipomas, melanoma, and non-melanoma skin cancer. To ease your concerns, it would be a good idea to see your GP. They can examine the lump, determine what it is, and provide the appropriate treatment if needed.

For now, let's discuss some common conditions that can cause lumps to appear on or below the surface of the skin:

Skin cysts

These are small pockets of tissue under the skin that become filled with pus, fluid, or skin matter. They can occur anywhere on the body and are often caused by infection or blocked sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands are tiny glands near the surface of the skin that release an oil (sebum) that moisturises the skin and hair follicles.

Skin cysts usually feel smooth to the touch and don't cause pain. They develop gradually over time and can be treated by draining the cyst or using antibacterial creams or lotions. They are typically not cancerous.

Sebaceous cysts

These cysts form when a hair follicle becomes blocked. They are often tender when touched, and you may notice a dark area on the skin's surface. Treatment usually involves using antibiotic creams and removing the cyst to prevent it from returning. The discharge from these cysts often appears as a cheesy white fluid.


This is an inflammation of the hair follicles, usually caused by infection or a reaction to chemicals. It is common on the face. The affected area usually turns red and pimple-like. You may find hairs in the centre of the pimple, and the skin around it might also be itchy. Treatment usually includes antibiotics, antifungals, maintaining good hygiene, and reducing chemical use, for example, make-up.


These are fatty deposits under the skin. They feel smooth to the touch, are harmless, and generally do not need treatment.


This is a type of skin cancer. They can be identified as a new mole appearing or an existing mole changing appearance. They are usually irregular in shape, multi-coloured, can bleed easily, and be itchy.

Non-melanoma skin cancer

This is where there is a lump or an area of skin that is sore and doesn't heal. The lump tends to grow and often becomes scaly or ulcerated, and bleeds easily.

Remember that most lumps and bumps are harmless, but it's important to visit your GP to get this lump looked at as soon as possible, so the cause can be investigated, and treatment given if appropriate.

*Information provided and reviewed by the AXA Health 24/7 health support line team.

Sources and further reading:

Skin cancer causes and risks – AXA Health

Skin cyst – NHS Factsheet

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