Can Acne Cause Swollen Lymph Nodes?

A swollen lymph node denotes bad things. In this article, we will explore the topic – “can acne make lymph nodes swell?”

The lymph nodes consist of small glands that filter the liquid distributed through the lymphatic system.

Along with the fluid and the lymph channels, the nodes form the lymphatic system that forms part of the immune system of the body.

The lymph nodes, numbering over 600 and spread throughout the body, can become swollen in response to tumors or infection.

So, can cystic acne cause swollen lymph nodes?

In short, acne can cause swollen lymph nodes. Acne is just one of many conditions that can cause swollen lymph nodes. If the acne reaches deep into the skin, it can also draw out toxic bacteria, which may lead to infection and extra inflammation. The bottom line: unhealthy skin may cause swelling in a nearby lymph node or gland.

What Are Lymph Nodes And What Do They Do For The Body?

picture of lymph nodes

Lymph nodes are important in the immune system.

They mainly filter out and eliminate infected cellular debris.

It’s kind of like drainage for the body that filters out potentially harmful things from your bloodstream, to make sure they don’t cause trouble by affecting parts of the body that may not be able to deal with them as well.

Think about how it is with a plumbing problem in your house.

The water has an issue so it backs up and starts flooding into other areas instead of just emptying away like we want it to do.

The same thing may happen inside our bodies if something goes wrong there and lymph nodes act as a safeguard against such mishaps happening since they can essentially drain any water without causing further problems for us.

Can Acne Cause Swollen Lymph Nodes Under The Chin?

can acne cause lymph nodes to swell

Yes. Acne does cause the lymph nodes under the chin to swell up. Put simply, the stagnation that is caused by acne causes toxins to fill the lymph, and a build-up can occur in the nodes. The nodes function as filters that trap infectious agents before they can infect healthy parts of the body.

Acne fulminans, a rare disease, manifests as inflammation and pain in the joints.

Gradually, it progresses into a swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck.

As a result, it causes inflexibility in the neck. Although the swelling decreases after a while, it is accompanied by complete loss of appetite, extreme loss of weight, and atrophy of muscles.

This condition occurs after unsuccessful treatment of another form of acne, called acne conglobata.

Remember that the lymph node’s function is to trap bacteria and viruses before they can infect other parts of the system.

Acne fulminans is believed to be immunologically induced when an increase in testosterone levels causes cutibacterium acnes bacteria to increase. C. acnes bacteria live in the pores, follicles, and skin surface.

In their natural habitat, the bacteria use oil, metabolic byproducts, and cellular debris as sources of food, nutrients, and energy.

However, when testosterone increases cause oil production to increase rapidly, the bacteria feed on the blockage caused by oil and dead skin cells.

As a result, rapid growth and multiplication cause acne.

The rapid increase in the number of bacteria triggers an immunological reaction in some individuals that may cause the lymphatic system to swell.

Apart from hormones, acne medications like isotretinoin can also cause acne fulminans, possibly because of increased C. acnes antigen levels in the immune system.

So, as we saw, acne-causing bacteria and hormonal fluctuations are some of the causes of swollen lymph nodes under the chin.

Other Causes Of Lumps Under The Chin

swollen lymph nodes under the chin

Benign Tumors

Benign tumors don’t spread to different body parts and won’t invade neighboring tissues as malignant tumors do.

However, growth can form a lump under the chin.

Some popular types include lipomas, fibromas, and cysts. Good news, though, they are all treatable and harmless.

Lipomas are soft and move considerably easily. Plus, they don’t have coloration and result from the growth of fat cells under the chin.

Since they grow very slowly, they don’t always attract other symptoms and are rarely cancerous.

Fibromas, unlike lipomas, are round and can be hard or soft.

Although they are common around the mouth, there are still cases of occurrence under the chin.

However, it could be a symptom of an underlying condition like Cowden’s disease when it occurs.

Benign tumors are rarely painful; however, they do come with a degree of discomfort.

When it grows, it puts pressure on surrounding structures.

Most benign tumors don’t have associated symptoms; however, if the growth is close to the surface, it can be irritatable and inflamed.


Some cancers can cause swellings under the chin.

For example, cancer of the skin, lymphatic system, and salivary glands can cause a lump. It can also be caused by leukemia and Hodgkin disease.

Unlike non-cancerous growths that may be hard or soft, a cancerous growth is oddly shaped and is usually hard to touch.

They are also known to cause pain in areas where the nerve cells and the lump connect.

A cancerous lump calls for more concern than non-cancerous lumps.

Most times, it causes difficulty breathing or swallowing, and it either keeps changing shape or growing.

As a result, it sometimes causes weight loss., vocal hoarseness, or difficulty digesting.

It can also weaken the immune system.

Such lumps often appear as cysts that quickly grow back after they are drained or removed or a growth that discharges blood or pus.

Apart from this, a lump from cancer can occur where cancer affects organs close to the affected site.

For example, cancer affecting the thyroid, throat, salivary gland, and mouth can cause a lump under the chin.

It can also occur if a cancerous distant organ spreads to the lymphatic system or cancer itself occurs in the lymphatic system.

Non-melanoma skin cancer and sarcoma also sometimes occur under the chin.

When a cancerous lump forms under the chin, your doctor may recommend chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery to get rid of it.

However, it will be after careful consideration of your health and the treatment options that are best for you.

Can Acne Cause Swollen Lymph Nodes In Neck?

Acne can cause swollen lymph nodes in the neck by depriving blood circulation, creating congestion in the chest which causes swelling in the neck.

Acne may have a role in the development of swollen neck lymph nodes due to an inflammatory response originating from the acne lesion.

Studies have shown that as many as 75% of people with acne suffer from neck lymph node swellings, and they are usually multi-focal. This is because acne can cause inflammation of any tissue – including those outside the skin surface.

Lymph nodes receive waste from these tissues and will consequently enlarge in size with increased workload. Severe itching is a common symptom associated with enlarged lymph nodes in the neck and is often due to an allergic response.

If you are experiencing swollen lymph nodes in your neck and have acne, it is important to seek medical help to rule out any underlying causes.

Can Acne Cause Swollen Lymph Nodes Under Ear?

It is possible for acne to cause swollen lymph nodes under the ear, as the infection and inflammation from acne can spread to other parts of the body.

Acne is caused by a combination of bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells clogging pores on the face. When this mixture accumulates, it can cause a breakout of pimples.

If you are experiencing swollen lymph nodes under your ears and you also have acne, it is important to treat both conditions simultaneously.

Procedure For Detecting And Treating Swollen Lymph Node

Detecting Swollen Lymph Nodes

Swollen lymph nodes differ in size regardless of the cause. Some are extremely large, and some can be small.

However, either size hurts just as much and can be painful when you touch them or move.

Other symptoms include fever, chills, coughing, sweating, and runny nose.

Importantly, though, if the lymph node under your chin is painful, you should speak with your doctor immediately.

Swollen lymph nodes that are hard could be cancer, and not acne or any other minor cause.

On the upside, some swollen lymph nodes will disappear after a few days. Hence, you can observe the swelling for a few days.

If it keeps growing and stays for more than two weeks, it can be a sign of a tumor.

Apart from this, if it feels hard and doesn’t move when you push it, it can be a symptom of an underlying condition.

Visit a doctor if the swelling makes it difficult to breathe or swallow food.

Treatment Procedure

During your visit, you should let the doctor know if you have taken ill or sustained an injury before the swelling.

A discussion like this will help them determine what caused the symptoms.

Your medical history will also be handy as certain medications and diseases can cause the lymphatic system to swell.

Hence, your medical history will help find a diagnosis faster.

After discussing your symptoms, the doctor will conduct a physical examination to check the lymph nodes’ size and feel to know whether it is hard or tender.

After testing for the lymph node’s size and feel, the doctor can require a blood check to know if a hormonal disorder or disease caused the inflammation.

If necessary, the procedure can include an imaging test like ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan to know if any other part of the body is responsible for the condition.

In the worst case, the doctor can recommend a minimally invasive test called lymph node biopsy that involves extracting cell samples from the affected nodes and examining them for diseases.

If there is a need to, your doctor might remove the whole lymph node.

If an infection caused the inflammation, the doctor could prescribe antiviral medications and antibiotics to reduce the condition that caused the inflammation.

Ibuprofen and aspirin are examples of medications used to reduce inflammation and manage pain.

With this, the inflammation should become smaller after a while.

However, if it is cancerous, it won’t return to its original size. In this case, surgery will be required to remove the affected lymph node or tumor.

However, your doctor will discuss available treatment options during one of your sit-downs.

So, Can Acne Cause Swollen Lymph Nodes?

A swollen lymph node is usually caused by bacteria or viral infection.

Interestingly, acne is often caused by bacteria. In attempting to fight acne-causing bacteria, the lymph node sometimes gets filled with toxins and can swell as a result.

In extreme cases, the inflammation can be from a tumor or cancer. Therefore, you should only wait out the effect for a short period.

Where the inflammation is hard and does not return to its original size in a few days, it is time to visit your doctor.

Acne and many other factors can cause swollen lymph nodes under the chin.

Since it is often a response to infection, you should not have any problem with diagnosis and treatment.

But more importantly, show up for the diagnosis and treatment.

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