Most of the time, white bumps under the eyes are harmless and will go away on their own. However, anyone who is concerned about their appearance or health may wish to speak with a doctor.
Although bumps and lumps under the eyes are common, they may trigger fears of cancer, a serious infection, or a condition that might disfigure the eye.
Tiny white bumps can look similar to chicken skin under the eyes.
Although it is important to contact a doctor for any skin growth that does not go away, these bumps are usually harmless.
The most common causes of white bumps under the eyes include the following.
Milia may look flat or similar to tiny whiteheads, and they often appear in rows.
Some other indicators of milia include:
- very small white or skin colored bumps
- bumps that are slightly swollen
- pointy bumps
Popping milia can increase the risk of skin damage or infection. Milia often go away on their own, and they almost never signal a serious health condition.
In some cases, however, milia may appear following a skin injury or taking a new medication.
Treatments for milia
Milia are harmless and do not require treatment. However, some people do not like the appearance of these bumps, and they may seek treatment to make them disappear.
Milia sometimes go away on their own, or they may improve if a person stops taking a medication that caused them to develop.
When this does not work,
- topical creams to help exfoliate the skin
- warm compresses to bring the milia to the surface and open them up
- laser treatment
- surgery to drain and remove the milia
A syringoma is a harmless growth in a sweat gland. These can be white, yellow, skin colored, pink, or brown, and they often appear in clusters under the eyes or on the cheeks.
Syringomas do not normally cause pain. They are more common in women than in men. Sometimes, they grow larger or create large clusters, but they are otherwise harmless.
Some other indicators of syringomas include:
- small, fleshy growths under the eyes
- growths that are flat
- growths that are irregularly shaped
- growths that appear in groups
Syringomas can appear anywhere on the body. For example, some people notice them near their genitals.
Treatments for syringoma
Like milia, syringomas are harmless, and they do not require treatment. However, some people may seek treatment to make them disappear for cosmetic reasons.
Syringoma treatment options include:
- laser therapy
A stye is a flushed, painful bump that is similar to a pimple. These develop when a hair follicle becomes infected.
Styes often appear on the external surface of the eyelid, causing a pimple-like mass with a head. They can also develop deep in the eyelid, which may cause swelling.
Treatments for styes
Styes do not usually need treatment, though applying warm compresses can help them go away more quickly.
However, some styes can become very painful. Rarely, the infection may spread. When this happens, a doctor may recommend antibiotics. They may also suggest an in-office procedure to remove the stye.
Otherwise, applying warm compresses can help with swelling and shorten the time to recovery.
Also, because makeup can clog the pores, people may wish to avoid wearing makeup around styes. This can make the infection and pain worse.
A chalazion is a bump due to a clogged oil gland. Unlike a stye, a chalazion does not indicate an infection. Chalazia may last much longer and sometimes appear after styes go away.
Both styes and chalazia typically cause just a single lump, but a group of styes or chalazia may sometimes grow and look similar to chicken skin.
Some differences between styes and chalazia include the fact that:
- Styes are usually painful, but chalazia are not.
- Styes may look flushed, while chalazia tend to be skin colored.
- Styes usually go away on their own, while chalazia can last for weeks or months.
Treatments for chalazia
Chalazia may respond to warm compresses. When they do not, a doctor may recommend draining or removing them.
Very rarely, a new growth on the eyelid or around the eye may be a symptom of cancer. This is often skin cancer that affects the eye.
Cancer is the least likely culprit when bumps develop under the eyes, but if a bump grows, bleeds, or does not go away on its own, it is important to contact a doctor to rule out cancer.
Some other symptoms of eyelid cancer include:
- a lump or bump that bleeds, crusts, or does not go away
- a lump that goes away then comes back
- a bump that keeps changing size, color, or shape
Treatments for eyelid cancer
Eyelid cancer is highly treatable, especially if a doctor catches and treats it early.
The right treatment for cancers of the eyelid depends on the type of cancer, whether or not it has spread, and other health factors.
A person who is concerned about bumps under their eyes should contact a doctor immediately. They should not pick at or pop the bumps, and they should avoid putting anything on them unless a doctor suggests otherwise.
The development of bumps under the eyes can be concerning. Some people may also worry about how the bumps will affect their appearance.
In many cases, these bumps go away on their own. When they do not, there are many safe options available for removing them.
In rare cases when a bump may be cancer, seeking prompt medical care can reduce the risk of serious illness or death.