What are Benign Growths?
An epidermoid cysts or sebaceous cyst can form when a pore becomes plugged. These may appear yellow or white with what looks like a blackhead in the center. When squeezed, cysts produce a white discharge and usually have a foul odor. This discharge is not pus but actually dead skin cells.
As long as a cyst is not bothersome or growing, they do not need treatment as they are not harmful or cancerous. If you have a cyst that is enlarging or becomes painful it could rupture and potentially become infected. It is recommended that you see a dermatologist for further treatment if you have a cyst that is enlarging, draining or becoming painful.
These small cysts appear around the eyelids and cheeks as tiny white bumps. They are common in adults and people who apply heavy oil based skin care products. No treatment is necessary for these lesions however if they become cosmetically bothersome, your dermatologist can offer various treatments.
This is a small pink or brown growth often occurring after an insect bite, pimple or another minor injury. Dermatofibromas may feel firm to the touch, yet pucker when squeezed. These growths appear most often on the legs but can also be seen on other body parts. Due to these lesions being formed from previous trauma, removal is not recommended as they are prone to recurrence.
These lesions are rubber-like lumps, they are non cancerous tumors made up of fat deep within the skin. Lipomas can be small or large and sometimes feel tender to the touch. No treatment is needed for these bumps unless they become larger or painful.
These growths are small bright red or purple growths which are made up of tiny blood vessels. Cherry angiomas can be small or they can grow up to the size of a pencil eraser. Some people have hundreds of these growths and they can appear on any part of the body. In some cases, larger angiomas may be removed if they begin to bleed.
Moles are round, flat or slightly raised growths that can be several colors including skin colored, brown, pink, red and black. Moles should always look the same from month to month and stay the same color.
If you notice a mole changing, itching or bleeding it is important to see your dermatologist. Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and can sometimes develop from an already pre existing mole. Moles can be removed and sent to a laboratory for a definitive diagnosis if one is found to be suspicious of skin cancer. Moles can also be removed if they are simply irritating or you are uncomfortable with the appearance of the mole, consult with your dermatologist to discuss options.
These growths look similar to a mole or skin tag, however, they form along the pathway of a nerve. If you have multiple neurofibromas, your dermatologist may talk to you about other underlying medical conditions that can be associated with several neurofibromas appearing on the skin.
These growths are small yellow or white bumps which often have a small indentation in the center or small blood vessels around them. They noncancerous growths caused from enlarged or clogged oil glands. Sebaceous hyperplasia, however, can be similar in appearance to a skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma. It may be necessary for you dermatologist to perform a biopsy to rule out any potential malignancy.
These growths generally have a dry stuck-on appearance similar to a wart. The color of these growths range from brown to black. Seborrheic keratoses are a very common growth noticed often as we age. A seborrheic keratosis can look similar to a melanoma, however, a dermatologist can usually identify these growths by examining them, a biopsy is rarely necessary.
A skin tag is a small floppy, skin colored growth commonly found around the neck, armpits and other skin folds. Skin tags can become irritated by clothing or jewelry. Your dermatologist can discuss removal options with you if you have skin tags that are uncomfortable, these lesions are otherwise benign and no treatment is necessary.
How Are Common Growths Treated?
Most skin growths can be removed by excision (cutting), cryotherapy (freezing with liquid nitrogen), curettage (scraping), electrodessication (burning), or biopsy. Due to the benign nature of these lesions, no treatment is generally necessary if the growth is not irritating or concerning for skin cancer. Cosmetic removal of a growth may not be covered by your health insurance, be sure to speak with your dermatologist or insurance provider if you are concerned about the cost of removal.