Many common growths develop on people's skin. While the cause is often poorly understood, it is known that some are associated with aging, and others are inherited. Benign (non-cancerous) lesions are not life threatening, but people often have these lesions removed for cosmetic reasons. A lesion may be removed for medical reasons if cancer is suspected. When a lesion bleeds or causes pain, inflammation, or irritation, it also is typically removed.



Dermatofibromas are hard papules (rounded bumps) that may appear in a variety of colors, usually brownish to tan. Although typical dermatofibromas cause little or no discomfort, itching and tenderness can occur. Some physicians and researchers believe dermatofibromas form as a reaction to previous injuries such as insect bites or thorn pricks. They are composed of disordered collagen laid down by fibroblasts. Dermatofibromas most often occur on the legs and arms. If the skin over a dermatofibroma is squeezed a dimple forms, indicating tethering of the skin to the underlying fibrous tissue.

Prurigo Nodularis

Prurigo nodularis is a skin condition in which hard crusty lumps form on the skin that itches intensely. PN may itch constantly, mostly at night, or only when a light brush of clothing sets off a round of severe itch. For many,itching only ends when the PN is scratched to the point of bleeding or pain.

A PN sore is hard, and the top is dry and rough and often scratched open. Old white scars are often found nearby from old sores. They tend to be in the areas most easily reached: arms, shoulders and legs. There may be just a few or dozens.

Skin Tags

Skin tags are small, benign skin growths that usually occur after midlife and have a short narrow stalk connecting it to the surface of the skin. Tags are usually painless and do not grow or change; however they may be irritated from rubbing by clothing or other materials. Some individuals may be more prone to skin tags because of being overweight, due to heredity or sometimes for unknown reasons. People with diabetes and pregnant women tend to be more prone to skin tags.

Skin tags form primarily in areas where the skin forms creases, such as the neck, armpit, and groin. They may also occur on the face, usually on the eyelids. Because tags are benign; treatment is unnecessary unless the tags become frequently irritated or present a cosmetic concern. Removal is performed by cauterization, cryosurgery, surgical ligation or excision.

Pyogenic Granulomas

Pyogenic granulomas are skin lesions that can develop after an injury. They contain many blood vessels, and tend to bleed easily if bumped. These lesions are raised, red, and moist, and the skin around them may be inflamed.

Epidermoid & Pilar Cysts

Epidermoid & pilar cysts (sebaceous cysts) is a closed sac or cyst below the surface of the skin that has a lining and fills with a fatty white, semi-solid material called keratin, a protein component found in hair, nails, and skin.


Milia are tiny white bumps or small cysts on the skin. Milia occur when dead skin becomes trapped in small pockets at the surface of the skin. They are usually found around the nose and eyes, and sometimes on the genitalia, often mistaken by those affected as warts or other STDs. Milia can also be confused with stubborn whiteheads. In children milia often disappear within two to four weeks. In adults they may require removal by a physician.

Sebaceous Hyperplasia

Sebaceous hyperplasia is a disorder of the sebaceous glands in which they become enlarged. producing yellow, shiny bumps on the face. Sebaceous hyperplasia generally affects newborns as well as middle-aged to elderly adults. The symptoms of this condition are 1-5 mm papules on the skin, mainly on the forehead, nose and cheeks. The papules may be cauliflower shaped. The lesions, while benign, may have prominent tiny blood vessels and can resemble basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer; therefore, a skin biopsy may be performed.

Digital Mucinous Pseudocyst

Digital Mucinous Pseudocyst is bluish in color and extrudes a clear, thick material when punctured. They most commonly occur on the terminal digits of the fingers or the skin overlying the base of the fingernail and may interfere with nail growth causing a nail groove to develop. Rarely, they develop on the toes. These lesions are not true cysts, but represent a degenerative process of the skin in which the sticky, jelly-like substance accumulates. Most are not painful, but tenderness may develop if the cyst is traumatized. Treatment includes surgical removal and/or cortisone injections.


Lipomas are benign tumors composed of fatty tissue that are soft to the touch, usually movable, and are generally painless. Many are small (under one centimeter diameter) but can grow to sizes greater than six centimeters. Lipomas are commonly found in adults from 40 to 60 years of age and can also be found in children.

Most often, Lipomas can be found on the torso, neck, upper thighs, upper arms, and armpits. They can occur almost anywhere in the body and in multiple areas at once. Treatment generally is not necessary, however if the lipoma is painful, growing, or in a location that is bothersome to you, you may opt to have it removed.


Xanthelasma is a sharply demarcated yellowish collection of cholesterol underneath the skin, usually on or around the eyelids. Although not harmful or painful, these minor growths may be disfiguring and can be removed. They are common in people of Asian origin and those from the Mediterranean region. Because of the hereditary component, they may or may not indicate high blood levels of cholesterol. Where there is no family history of xanthelasmata, they usually indicate high cholesterol and may correlate with a risk of heart disease.


Syringomas are benign sweat duct tumors , typically found clustered on eyelids, although they may also be found in the armpits, umbilicus or vulva.They are skin colored or yellowish, firm rounded bumps, 1-3 mm in diameter, and may be confused with xanthelasma. There may be only one or a few lesions in a localized area, or numerous lesions covering a wide area.


Trichoepitheliomas are skin-colored lesions that can occur mostly on the face and neck. These tumors represent the body's attempt to form hair follicles and shafts. In some people, they can become quite numerous and large, and while benign they may resemble basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer.The tendency to develop multiple trichoepitheliomas is inherited and the condition is more common in females.


Neurofibromas are tumors derived from Schwann cells, fibroblasts, and the supporting cells known as perineurial cells. They are benign but may be multiple. When multiple, one must consider the disease of Neurofibromatosis, an inherited disorder.

Neurofibromatosis is a genetically-inherited disorder in which the nerve tissue grows tumors (i.e.,neurofibromas) that may be harmless or may cause serious damage by compressing nerves and other tissues. The tumors may cause bumps under the skin, colored spots, skeletal problems, pressure on spinal nerve roots, and other neurological problems.

Neurofibromatosis is autosomal dominant, which means that it affects males and females equally and is dominant (only one copy of the affected gene is needed to get the disorder). Therefore, if only one parent has neurofibromatosis, his or her children have a 50% chance of developing the condition as well. The severity in affected individuals, however, can vary (this is called variable expressivity). In around half of cases there is no other affected family member because a new mutation has occurred.

Cherry Angiomas

Cherry angiomas are cherry red papules on the skin that are made up of clusters of tiny capillaries at the surface of the skin, forming a small round dome papule, which may be flat topped. They range in color from bright red to purple. When they first develop, they may be only a tenth of a millimeter in diameter and almost flat, appearing as small red dots. However, they then usually grow to about one or two millimeters across, and sometimes to a centimeter or more in diameter. As they grow larger, they tend to expand in thickness, and may take on the raised and rounded shape of a dome. Multiple adjoining angiomas are said to form a polypoid angioma. Because the blood vessels comprising an angioma are so close to the skin's surface, cherry angiomas may bleed profusely if they are injured.

Cherry angiomas appear spontaneously in many people in middle age but can also, although less common, occur in young people. They can also occur in an aggressive eruptive manner in any age.

Seborrheic Keratosis

Seborrheic keratosis, also known as “Seborrheic verruca”, are common skin growths. These benign (non-cancerous) growths can occur almost anywhere on the skin. Some people get just one while others develop many.They appear in various colors, from light tan to black. They are round or oval, feel flat or slightly elevated and range in size from very small to very large. They can resemble warts, though they have no viral origins. They can also resemble melanoma skin cancer, though they are unrelated to melanoma as well, because only the top layers of the epidermis are involved.

Nevi (Singular: Nevus)

Nevi (singular: nevus) - moles - are the most common growths in humans. They can be present at birth or acquired throughout life. The incidence of nevi increases throughout childhood, peaks in adolescence, and typically wanes in older adulthood. Nevi evolve and change throughout childhood and during pregnancy. Moles can appear anywhere on the skin in various sizes and shapes. They are made up of melanocytes, skin cells that produce melanin (dark pigment).

Moles typically evolve and grow as we do. They generally begin as flat brown spots, similar to a freckle, that, over time, may grow larger, become elevated, and grow hairs. Certain types of moles carry a risk for developing malignant melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer. Sunburns, particularly in childhood, can increase the risk.


Warts are caused by a viral infection in the top layer of skin. They are non-cancerous epidermal growths most often occurring on the hands and feet of an infected person. While common warts appear on the hands and feet, there are many types of warts that can appear all over the human body. Warts that occur on the face are known as filiform warts. Genital warts are found on and around male and female genitals. Plantar warts are located on the bottom and sides of the feet. Warts that are found on areas commonly shaved, such as the face and legs, are known as flat warts. There are also warts that infect the skin under and around fingernails and toenails called periungal warts.

Warts can occur at any age but are most common in children, young adults and people with immune system deficiencies.

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratosis is a premalignant condition of thick, scaly, or crusty patches of skin. It is more common in fair-skinned people. It is associated with those who are frequently exposed to the sun, as it is usually accompanied by solar damage. Since some of these pre-cancers progress to squamous cell carcinoma, they should be treated. Untreated lesions have up to twenty percent risk of progression to squamous cell carcinoma.

An actinic keratosis site commonly ranges between 2 and 6 millimeters in size, and can be dark or light, tan, pink, red, a combination of all these, or have the same pigment as the surrounding skin. It may appear on any sun-exposed area, such as the face, ears, neck, scalp, chest, backs of hands, forearms, or lips.


Keratoacanthoma is a relatively common low-grade malignancy that originates in the pilosebaceous glands and closely resembles squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). KA is characterized by rapid growth over a few weeks to months, followed by spontaneous resolution over 4–6 months in most cases. KA reportedly progresses, although rarely, to invasive or metastatic carcinoma; therefore, aggressive surgical treatment often is advocated.

An actinic keratosis site commonly ranges between 2 and 6 millimeters in size, and can be dark or light, tan, pink, red, a combination of all these, or have the same pigment as the surrounding skin. It may appear on any sun-exposed area, such as the face, ears, neck, scalp, chest, backs of hands, forearms, or lips.

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer, affecting approximately two million Americans each year. More than one out of every three new cancers are skin cancers, and the vast majority are basal cell carcinomas.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SSC)

Squamous cell carcinoma (SSC) arises in the squamous cells that make up most of the skin’s upper layers (epidermis). Squamous cell carcinomas may occur on all areas of the body including the mucous membranes and genitals, but are most common in areas frequently exposed to the sun. More than 250,000 new cases of squamous cell carcinoma are diagnosed every year. That makes it the second most common skin cancer, after basal cell carcinoma.


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