Cherry angiomas are benign, non worrisome, vascular growths which typically appear in adults over the age of 30. These blood vessel growths can range in color from pink to red to purple. They can range in size from pinhead sized to 1cm in diameter. Most commonly, they appear as red, dome shaped papules on the trunk. As they are harmless, no treatment is required. However, cherry angiomas can be treated or removed if bothersome or symptomatic.
Cysts are one of the most common benign skin growths. A cyst consists of a sac or enclosed capsule filled with fluid or semisolid material. Typically, they are round or dome shaped, nodules or lumps on or underneath the skin. The overlying skin can be unchanged or have a small opening or punctum. They can be found anywhere, but the scalp, neck, and back are common locations. When pressure is applied to the cyst, a malodorous, cheesy discharge can be expressed. Though cysts are benign and not harmful, the lesions can at times, become inflamed, mimicking the signs of a skin infection. The affected area can become painful and red. Treatment options for an inflamed cyst include warm compresses, oral antibiotics, intralesional steroid injections, and/or incision and drainage. Definitive cyst treatment involves surgical excision, including removal of the entire sac or capsule to prevent a recurrence.
Dermatofibromas are common, benign skin growths most typically found on legs of women. They present as a pinkish brown, firm, scar-like bump. Sometimes, their appearance is attributed to a preceding insect bite, ingrown hair, or other minor injury or trauma. As the skin growths are harmless, no treatment is needed. However, dermatofibromas can be surgically removed if bothersome or symptomatic.
A hypertrophic scar is a thickened, raised, oftentimes pink or red scar. Hypertrophic scars can be symptomatic - causing burning, itching, or discomfort. These thickened, raised scars are more likely to occur in areas where there is significant tension on a healing wound; examples include the back, chest, shoulder, elbows, or knees. Though treatment is not necessary, various options are available to flatten the scar and relieve symptoms including pressure dressings, silicone gel sheets, and injection of medications such as corticosteroids.
An infantile hemangioma is a kind of vascular tumor made up of blood vessels, commonly called a “strawberry birthmark.” The vascular tumor can be superficial (growing on the skin surface), appearing as a bright red, bumpy, lesion. It can also be deep (growing under the skin), presenting as a bluish lump. These vascular birthmarks appear shortly after birth and then undergo a period of growth (known as the proliferative phase), typically lasting a few months. This is followed by a period of shrinkage (known as the involution phase), which is much slower and can take years. While many hemangiomas resolve entirely, some will leave residual skin changes or scars. Infantile hemangiomas are fairly common, and are most often seen in girls, premature infants, white infants, and multiple births (twins, triplets).
Keloids are thick, firm, hard growths due to excessive scar tissue formation. They differ from ordinary scars and hypertrophic scars in that the scar tissue extends and spreads beyond the original wound margin. Rarely, these growths can occur spontaneously, even without any preceding skin injury. Keloids are more common in darker skin tones including Latinos, Asians, and Blacks. They frequently form on the earlobes, shoulders, or chest. Though not dangerous, keloids can be painful, and itchy, and cause cosmetic disfigurement. Various treatment options are available such as pressure dressings, silicone gel sheets, corticosteroid injections, cryotherapy (freezing), radiation, and surgical excision.
Lentigo is a benign skin growth that resembles a freckle. It is usually a tan or brown spot that is flat or slightly raised. It can vary in size and shape and can occur as a singular lesion or as multiple lesions (lentigines). Lentigines have been classified into several types depending on their characteristics, appearance, location, cause, and associations with other diseases or conditions.
Solar lentigines, frequently referred to as age spots or liver spots, are one of the most common types of lentigines. They result from chronic sun exposure and typically appear in sun-exposed areas such as the face, shoulders, back, and hands. While mostly found in older adults with fair skin, it can also occur in younger people who have had significant sun damage or tanning bed use.
Lipomas are common fatty tumors that present as soft or rubbery lumps or bumps underneath the skin that are easily moved. They can occur as a solitary lesion or multiple lesions (often occurring in families). Lipomas can occur anywhere on the body where fat tissue is present, but are most common on the trunk, arms, shoulders, and neck. They appear most frequently between the ages of 40 and 60. Most lipomas do not require treatment, but can be surgically removed if bothersome or symptomatic.
A mole, also known as a nevus (plural: nevi), is a very common skin growth. Moles develop as a result of clusters of melanocytes (pigment producing cells) in the skin. Although a mole can be present at birth (called a congenital nevus), most nevi appear during childhood and adolescence. Most people have between 10-40 moles. Moles can vary in size, shape, and color. Common moles are typically round or oval in shape. Though they can be various colors (pink, flesh colored, tan, brown, blue or black), most moles are uniform and homogeneous in color. Moles can be flat or raised and occur anywhere on the body. Some people can have moles which are more atypical in appearance - commonly referred to as atypical moles or dysplastic nevi. Atypical moles can be larger in size, more irregular in shape, and with more color variation. Though atypical moles are benign and not cancerous, they can be more difficult to differentiate from a deadly form of skin cancer called melanoma. Visit your dermatologist if you notice any new, unusual, changing, or symptomatic moles.
A neurofibroma is a benign, non-cancerous, nerve tumor that presents as a soft, flesh colored, bump on or under the skin. It can occur in isolation as a non-worrisome skin growth or rarely, when numerous lesions are present, as an association with a genetic condition known as neurofibromatosis. Most neurofibromas do not require treatment.
Pyogenic granulomas are benign vascular growths that grow rapidly and frequently present as raised, red lesions that bleed with minor trauma. These lesions are most commonly found on the face or fingers, but can also develop on other parts of the skin or oral mucosa (lips or gums). Children, teenagers, young adults, and pregnant women are most likely to be affected. They are often associated with pregnancy, medications, or injury or trauma to the site. Treatment options include topical therapies or surgical procedures to remove the growth.
Sebaceous hyperplasia are benign, non-worrisome, enlarged oil gland growths. They present as pinkish orange or yellow papules, sometimes with a central dell, most commonly found on the central face of middle aged or older people. Sebaceous hyperplasia can also be found on the chest, areola, mouth, or groin region. It is thought that they may be more prevalent in immunosuppressed people. As they are harmless, no treatment is required. However, various options are available if removal is desired.
Seborrheic keratoses are very common skin growths that tend to develop with age. They are benign and not worrisome. These growths are commonly found on the head, neck, chest, or back, though they can appear anywhere on the body with the exception of the palms and soles. Seborrheic keratoses can be white, tan, brown, or black. They can be flat, scaly, waxy, and even wart-like in appearance. Though harmless, these lesions can be treated or removed if bothersome.
Skin tags are very common, benign, skin growths. They present as fleshy outgrowths of the skin, at times extending from a stalk or stem. They are frequently found in areas of high friction such as around the neck, in the axilla (armpits), or in the groin folds. They are usually flesh colored, but can also be darker in color. They can vary in size, from a couple of millimeters to a few centimeters in size. Though harmless, skin tags can be removed if bothersome or symptomatic.
Venous lakes are bluish, purplish, vascular papules that occur on sun exposed areas such as the ears and lips. They are a result of long-term sun exposure and sun damage. As they are harmless, no treatment is necessary. However, they can be treated or removed if bothersome or symptomatic.