Swelling of the forehead can occur as a result of a wide variety of conditions. It is typically a symptom of an another underlying problem and is generally not considered serious or life-threatening. Some of the common causes of forehead swelling include skin issues, but the swelling may also be a sign of an internal condition affecting the head.
One of the most common causes of forehead swelling is contact dermatitis, an allergic reaction that occurs when the skin touches a substance it finds irritating. Irritants that can aggravate the skin and result in contact dermatitis may include cosmetics, fragrances, metals, or fabrics. If one of these irritants has contact with the forehead, such as in the case of cosmetics or the fabric lining of a hat, it can cause the area to become red, itchy, and swollen. Contact dermatitis can usually be treated with the use of topical corticosteroid medications, which soothe the symptoms of the reaction.
Another skin condition that can contribute to forehead swelling is sunburn. Overexposure to the sun can result in serious sunburns that may actually cause blistering, as well as slight swelling of the affected area. The skin has to regenerate new cells in order to heal the burns, but certain treatments may be used to soothe the pain, including applying cold compresses or aloe vera gel to the sunburn.
Forehead swelling may also be caused by a skin condition known as sebaceous cysts. A sebaceous cyst is a small growth that develops when the skin’s sebaceous glands produces excessive amounts of oil. The oil can then collect underneath the skin and form a cyst. The forehead is one of the areas of the skin that tends to be most prone to excess oil; therefore, it is one of the most common places on the skin for these cysts to form. Sebaceous cysts can form underneath the surface of the skin on the forehead and cause pain and swelling of the area.
Although most cases of forehead swelling are due to skin conditions, the swelling can also be caused by a physical injury to the forehead. If a person experiences trauma to the forehead, fluids may build up in the area and cause swelling. Applying a cold compress to the forehead is generally recommended as enough treatment to reduce the swelling; however, is a person who has experienced forehead trauma also has other symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, fever, or disorientation, it could be a sign of a concussion or other serious head injury and medical attention will typically be recommended.