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The Real Reason Your Skin Feels Bumpy

It’s not often we talk about the texture of your skin in great detail, but a bumpy forehead and rough cheeks can be a real blow to an otherwise great complexion. Especially when you’re not sure exactly why your skin feels so below par.

Thankfully bumpy skin is, more often than not, totally harmless. However, a soft, smooth complexion is always more preferable to skin that would never be described as anything close to a baby’s bottom...

So here, we talk you through the six most common causes of bumpy skin – plus what you can do to help treat them with some HIGHBORN favourites and a few tweaks to your skincare regime.

Of course, a trip to your GP or a qualified dermatologist is always the best way to diagnose bumpy skin, but still, knowledge is power, right?


Acne occurs when excess oil builds up in your pores where it combines with dead skin cells and bacteria. It then becomes inflamed and forms a kind of ‘plug’ which bulges out from the surface of your skin. Acne spots can take on many forms, but they’re usually red from the inflammation and may or may not contain a yellow pus that’s oh-so-tempting to squeeze. 

Tell-Tale Signs: Red, sore bumps and excessively oily skin.

How To Treat Acne Pimples: Gently cleanse your skin twice a day to avoid build-up but steer clear of products that contain harsh chemicals and strong sulfates that strip your skin of oil – these will just make your situation worse. Instead, use our Crystal Cleanser and follow with Diamond Toner and a light moisturiser.

Moisturising is vital, but heavy formulations that contain pore-clogging oils or rich butters should be avoided at all costs.


Atopic dermatitis (AD) usually strikes during childhood but can occur at any age and often comes hand in hand with asthma and/or hay fever. It’s the most common form of eczema and although its specific cause is not fully understood, it’s known to be partly genetic and is due to a compromised immune system that triggers inflammation and damages your all-important skin barrier.

One of the most frustrating things about AD? It comes and goes without warning and may clear up for a couple of years before returning when you least expect it.

Tell-Tale Signs: Raised bumps that weep or crust, patches of extremely dry skin, plus redness and itching.

How To Treat Atopic Dermatitis: Emotional stress is one of the main triggers for eczema so anything you can do to reduce your stress levels will work wonders. Stick to a basic skincare routine that’s high in hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, oat extracts and aloe, but low in common irritants such as fragrance, alcohol, sulfates and parabens. 

Our Organic Hydration Gel is particularly great for soothing and nourishing eczema flare-ups. You could also try investing in a humidifier for your bedroom to help reduce dryness as you sleep. 


Although the symptoms are similar to atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis is not genetic and occurs when your skin has an allergic reaction to something it’s had direct contact with. Think detergents, soaps, solvents and certain metals.

Maybe you’ve bought a new necklace and the skin on your neck has completely freaked out because it’s allergic to the metal (usually nickel). Or perhaps an ingredient in a new skincare or make-up product has made your cheeks angry and inflamed. 

Tell-Tale Signs: Rash-like redness that often comes with swelling, dry skin, blister-like bumps and itching.

How To Treat Contact Dermatitis: Knowing the cause of contact dermatitis is key, so speak to your GP if you’re concerned and ask about an allergy test to determine the culprit. Then you can eliminate whatever’s giving your skin grief. Your doctor can also prescribe topical steroids to relieve any itching.

In the meantime, pare back your skincare routine, use fragrance-free laundry detergents and try not to scratch your skin as this will exacerbate inflammation and could cause infection.


Comedones come under the acne umbrella, but unlike pimples which are red and inflamed, comedones are either black or skin-coloured and rarely hurt or itch. Yes, you’ve got it, these are the blackheads and whiteheads of the outfit.

Just like regular zits, comedones appear when excess oil combines with dead skin cells and blocks your pores. If the pore then opens up, this oil and dead skin combo oxidizes, turns black and becomes a blackhead. If the pore stays closed, however, it becomes a skin-coloured bump called a whitehead.  

Tell-Tale Signs: Seemingly innocent-looking flesh or dark-coloured bumps on your face and/or body, often combined with oily skin. 

How To Treat Comedones: Cleanse twice daily and make sure you exfoliate regularly with Natural Luminosity Scrub to deeply clean your pores without over-drying your skin. Massage it gently over moist skin before bed and pay extra attention to your t-zone which is where comedones are most common. Retinol is also great for improving cell turnover and keeping your pores clear, so get your fix by applying Pre-Eminent Beauty Serum to cleansed, dry skin before moisturising.


While we're encouraged to continue to wear masks in certain environments, we thought it handy to delve into this. So 'maskne', a type of acne mechanica and, until the start of 2020, something only health workers were aware of. It's a term for those acne-like spots that creep up on your skin after wearing a facial mask for long periods of time.

The continued rubbing, friction and pressure of mask against skin, along with warm, moist breath, irritates your hair follicles, causing dirt, oil, sweat and bacteria to build up and block your pores.

Tell-Tale Signs: Red, sore bumps that are localised to the areas underneath your mask – ie: your lower cheeks, chin and jawline.

How To Treat Maskne: Cleanse and tone your skin twice daily to reduce build-up and avoid wearing heavy make-up underneath your mask. Also, avoid masks made from synthetic fabric.

Instead, choose cotton options that are comfortable and breathable but still adhere to the government’s guidelines of forming a good fit around your face and being made with at least two layers. Wash your masks regularly, preferably daily, and give your skin a break whenever it’s safe to do so.


According to the NHS, around one in 10 people in the UK have rosacea. A frustrating and persistent skin condition that mostly affects middle-aged women, rosacea is a bit of a mystery but it’s thought to be linked to the vascular system.

Rosacea is most commonly seen on your t-zone and usually comes in waves depending on your triggers which include things like extreme temperatures, sunlight, stress, spicy food and alcohol. 

Tell-Tale Signs: Facial redness, itchy bumps, swelling, burning and dry eyes that may be coupled with blurry vision.

How To Treat Rosacea: As with contact dermatitis, it’s important to identify and avoid your triggers. This may be easier said than done, but try keeping a food and alcohol diary to start off with as this may help you eliminate something from your diet.

Use gentle cleansing and moisturising products and make sure you always protect your skin from the sun as UV radiation can exacerbate redness and flushing. Apply Organic Tinted Moisturiser with SPF 25 every morning without fail.

An Important Note Before We Go…

While most bumps rarely cause a risk to your health, it’s important to be aware of any lumps and bumps that bleed, darken, grow quickly and/or change in shape. These could be signs of underlying health issues, so if you notice anything untoward happening with your bumpy skin, always get it checked out by your GP.



Heather Herbert on October 05 2021 at 10:26PM

Thank you for your article on face lumps and bumps! I have rosacea, occasionally, and I will start keeping a diary! Never thought of doing that before. Many thanks!

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