Skin Growths

What is that growth on your skin?

Skin growths can occur as you get older while others are from common causes. A dermatologist can evaluate your new skin growths and determine the best treatment for removal if necessary. Dermatologists will also identify any signs of pre-cancerous growths or skin cancer. There are many, many different types of skin growths, both benign and cancerous. Here are some of the benign skin growths commonly encountered.

Can skin growths be cancerous?

Skin growths that are local and don’t spread to other parts of the body are benign or noncancerous growths. However, if the skin growths spread from the original location and have abnormalities then you should see your dermatologist.

Common Skin Growths

Dermatofibromas: Dermatofibromas are non-cancerous growths typically found on the lower leg, arms, and upper back and may occur following trauma and often insect bites. Treatment becomes necessary when it becomes tender, painful, or itchy. They are rarely found with children and can be found more frequently with women.

Pyogenic Granulomas: Pyogenic Granulomas are benign blood vessel growths that quickly grow over a few weeks and then look like a red bump about 5-10 mm in diameter. Sometimes they bleed. A small percentage of pregnant women develop Pyogenic Granulomas (pregnancy tumor). Pyogenic granulomas are typically found around the hands, feet, head, neck, lips, gums, and inner mouth.

Cysts: Also called sebaceous cysts. Are expansions of the hair follicle that then fill with keratin (the top layer of the skin) which does not shed. This material can sometimes be foul-smelling. Although cysts are generally not harmful, they will occasionally rupture causing redness, pain, and drainage. Cysts must be removed by surgical excision where the entire lining is removed; the contents cannot be aspirated out.

Sebaceous Hyperplasias: Sebaceous Hyperplasias occurs when the sebaceous glands around a hair follicle become enlarged. They appear as yellowish bumps commonly found on the forehead and nose. Most commonly found in middle-aged and older individuals it is typically small and painless.

Lipomas: Lipomas can occur anywhere on the body. It is a lump under the skin that is soft to the touch and may move when pressure is applied. A lipoma is contained in the overgrowth of fat cells and is a benign growth. It is common to have multiple lipomas.

Xanthelasmas: Xanthelasmas is a bumpy yellow patch located on the inside corners of your eyelids or around the eye.

Cherry angiomas: Angiomas are benign growths that consist of small blood vessels. Angiomas can be found anywhere on the body but are most common on the trunk. Cherry angiomas generally do not need treatment but can be removed with a laser.

Seborrheic Keratoses: Seborrheic Keratoses are growths that look waxy, scaly, velvety, or wart-like. They are usually slightly raised and appear anywhere on the body but are very common on the head, neck, chest, or back. Seborrheic Keratosis is a common non-cancerous skin growth that becomes more apparent as you get older. Seborrheic Keratosis can be removed for cosmetic reasons or because of irritation.

Moles: Moles are experienced by almost everyone. Most moles are benign but if your moles become itchy, bleed, rough, or scaly you should see your dermatologist. A biopsy can be done to evaluate the mole. Mole removals are also a common practice and can be performed for cosmetic purposes or because of irritation.

Warts: Warts are benign skin growths that can spread by contact. Warts are typically skin color and rough but can be dark and smooth. Common wart treatments include cantharidin, cryotherapy, electrosurgery, laser treatment, and immunotherapy.

Toenail Fungus: Toenail Fungus is common and can be received in warm moist locations like the pool or locker room. Wearing the same shoes day after day in wet conditions or those that make you sweat makes you susceptible. If you have diabetes, seek medical assistance as-soon-as-possible to avoid developing sores (which don’t heal).

Skin Growth Treatments

Since most skin growths are noncancerous medical intervention isn’t necessary. Cosmetic dermatology treatments are available to remove/treat common skin growths like moles, warts, cysts, etc. To determine if your skin growth is cancerous visit your dermatologist to identify recommended treatments.