Lump On Back Neck Hairline: What’s Causing It?

If your lump has a fleshy feel and is on the top of your skin, instead of beneath it, you could be dealing with a mole. There is hardly anyone who does not have any mole on his or her body.

woman showing back of neck with lump

Lump on back of neck hairline is quite common. But then, what is the cause of these lumps? They can occur due to various reasons. Some of the possible causes are skin irritation, lymph nodes enlargement, cysts, acne, muscle knots, and boils. Remember that the skin behind your neck, at the hairline, is usually exposed to many potential irritants.

These include shampoo, sweat, clothing detergent, hair-care products, and the likes. Aside from that, this same area is prone to lots of friction from both your clothes and hair. Both friction and irritation can also cause lumps and bumps, as wells as other skin issues sometimes.

As you read this article, you will learn some common conditions that may cause lumps behind your neck along your hairline. But to put your mind at rest, most of these lumps near your hairline are not worrisome. They should not call for any serious concerns. They are usually not painful. But then, that doesn’t mean you should not talk to your doctor.

Even if the lump is painless, visit your physician and get professional help. But this is more necessary for painful lumps; especially those that refuse to go away and persist for more than 3 days. Also, check for any other symptoms that may accompany the lump. They are usually pointers to what the underlying condition is.

Causes of Lumps on Back on Neck Hairline


You can have lumps behind your neck due to acne. This is one of the very common skin conditions. It occurs when oil, debris, or bacteria clog your hair follicles or pores.

Acne often develops on different body parts. It can develop wherever hairs grow on your body. But the common sites of acne include the neck, face, and shoulders. The season of puberty is the time when acne outbreaks become most rampant, as well as during adolescence. These are usually as a result of hormonal changes.

Don’t think that only adolescents and those at the stage of puberty have acne. Anyone can get that regardless of age. But then, acne lesions are of different types. They include:

  1.  Whiteheads and blackheads
  2. Papules
  3. Nodules
  4. Pustules
  5. Cysts

More so, any irritation behind your neck, probably from sweat, clothing, and hair products, can worsen acne. Acne is not usually anything serious. You can treat it easily with home remedies or over-the-counter drugs.


Boils are usually red, painful, and filled with pus. So then, the bump behind your neck might be a furuncle (or boil). They usually occur due to bacterial infections in the local area. This means that the infection does not spread to surrounding tissues or skin.

Cysts and acne can get infected and become boils. If you squeeze the boil, the infection may spread or get worse. The best thing to do, instead, is to ensure that the area remains clean always and apply warm compresses. These will ease any discomfort and foster quick healing.

But you may have to visit the doctor in case your boil persists beyond a week, is extremely painful, or you develop a fever. Doctors may sometimes have to prescribe antibiotics or choose to drain the pus from the boil.

Other Common Causes

Lymph nodes enlargement

If there is an infection, your lymph nodes may swell. Your lymphatic system is a part of your immune system. Your lymph nodes assist your body in killing germs. They also filter harmful substances out of your blood.

When your lymph nodes enlarge, it often indicates that your body is fighting something off. It could be an infection like the flu or common cold. And since many lymph nodes course through your posterior neck area, a swollen node may cause a lump in the area.

The size of lumps from lymph node enlargement usually feels tender and is usually not too big. Such lumps also move slightly when you touch them. Lymph nodes enlargement behind your neck may signal a throat or ear infection. But as soon as the infection goes away, the swelling will also go down.

In rare occasions, lymph node enlargement may indicate other conditions like cancer or rheumatoid arthritis. And sometimes, lymph nodes enlargement occurs for no known reason whatsoever. You should consult with your physician if the enlargement worsens or persists.

Skin irritation and allergic reactions

Skin irritation also causes the appearance of lumps. Some of the substances that might cause irritation behind your neck include shampoo, sweat, hair products, clothing detergent, and even sunscreen.

Friction from your clothes can also cause irritation sometimes. This often causes a rash. In case the lump is small-sized, red, and is itchy, or if your notice dry skin patches on your neck, then there may be an irritant or you’re having an allergy. For severe irritation or allergies, you should visit the doctor.

Should You Be Afraid of Cancer?

If your lump has a fleshy feel and is on the top of your skin, instead of beneath it, you could be dealing with a mole. There is hardly anyone who does not have any mole on his or her body. Moles of these moles usually appear during the stage of childhood. But then, new moles may still develop in adult years.

Most moles will cause no harm. But sometimes, they may become cancerous. As such, you must monitor moles, especially new moles. Check for any cancerous changes.

A cancerous mole is usually asymmetrical. This means that you can’t divide the moles into two equal regular halves. Also, check the border. Cancerous moles usually have irregular or uneven edges or borders. Even the color of cancerous moles is typically uneven, with quite unusual shades.

If your mole becomes malignant, the diameter would be wider than 6mm. More so, such moles evolve. Their appearances change over time. If you suspect that the lump on back of neck harline is cancerous, you should speak with a licensed dermatologist. You may even want to schedule annual checkups with an expert dermatologist just to make sure all your moles remain healthy.

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