COMMON GROWTHS

There is a variety of common non-cancerous, or benign, growths that can appear on the skin. It is not uncommon to have several of them at a time. They can arise for different reasons. Some appear after an injury to the skin, while many appear simply due to aging or after years of sun damage. You may have inherited certain genes from your parents that make you more likely to develop certain common growths.

What Are Some Common Growths?

  • CHERRY ANGIOMA: These small and bright red or purple growths are filled with many small blood vessels. Cherry angiomas can remain small or grow to the size of a pencil eraser. They can grow anywhere on the skin, most commonly on the upper body. Some people have hundreds of these common growths. While they do not turn into cancer, if they bleed, larger angiomas may need to be removed.

  • CYSTS (EPIDERMOID AND PILAR): An epidermoid cyst, or sebaceous cyst, forms when a pore in the skin becomes plugged. They are most common on the face, neck, and back though they can form on other parts of the body. If this type of cyst forms in the upper layers of the skin, it may look yellow or white and may have what appears to be a blackhead in the center. When squeezed, an epidermoid cyst releases a foul-smelling cottage cheese-like discharge. This discharge is not pus and is actually just dead skin cells.

    A pilar cyst forms from a blocked hair follicle. They are flesh-colored, dome-shaped growths. You are more likely to get a pilar cyst if close blood relatives also have these.

    If they are not bothersome or growing, cysts do not need to be removed. If you have a cyst that grows quickly, becomes inflamed, or hurts, it can rupture. You could end up with a painful bump that looks like a boil and could even become infected requiring drainage or an antibiotic. If this is the case, you should see our dermatologist who can recommend treatment to relieve the pain.

  • DERMATOFIBROMA: These small, pink, red, or brown common growths - sometimes with a whitish sore in the center — often appear after an insect bite, pimple, or other minor skin injuries. They often look like a mole or scar. Dermatotibromas may feel firm, yet they pucker or dimple when pinched. These occur most often on the legs though they can occur anywhere on the body.
  • LIPOMA: These rubbery lumps are non-cancerous (benign) tumors made up of fat that lies deep in the skin. Lipomas can be small or large and can feel tender to the touch. Lipomas most often appear in adults and it is common to have more than one lipoma. No treatment is needed unless these bumps grow large or become painful.

  • MILIA: These small cysts appear on the eyelids and cheeks as tiny white bumps, about the size of a pinhead. They are common in older women and children. Adults who apply heavy, oil-based skincare products may also get milia. No treatment is necessary but if they are cosmetically bothersome. Our dermatologist, Dr. Bahr; can offer various treatments.

  • MOLES: These round, flat, or slightly raised growths can appear anywhere on the body. Moles can be flesh-colored, brown, red, pink, blue, or black. Moles should look the same from month to month and appear somewhat uniform in color. However, if a mole is changing, itching, or bleeding, it is important to see our dermatologist.

    Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, can develop from a pre-existing mole or arise completely on its own. Our dermatologist may perform a skin biopsy of a new or changing mole. The mole is then sent to a laboratory to determine if it is skin cancer. Moles also can be removed if they become irritated or if you are uncomfortable with the appearance of a mole on your skin.

  • NEUROFIBROMA: These soft, skin-colored growths often look like a mole or skin tag. They form on the skin along the pathway of a nerve. They are most common in children entering puberty, pregnant women, and older adults. If you have multiple neurofibromas, our dermatologist may talk to you about other medical conditions that can occur when many neurofibromas appear on the skin.

  • SEBACEOUS HYPERPLASIA: These small white or yellow growths appear as small domes on the skin often with an indentation in the center of the dome. There may be noticeable tiny blood vessels associated with it. This is due to enlarged or clogged oil glands in the skin. These commonly form on the faces of adults. Sebaceous hyperplasia can look like basal cell carcinoma (a type of skin cancer) Our dermatologist may perform a biopsy to make sure the growth is not skin cancer.

  • SEBORRHEIC KERATOSIS: These common growths often have a dry, stuck-on appearance, like a flat wart. The surface often looks like broccoli or cauliflower. The color can range from tan to black. Many adults have seborrheic: keratoses and they can be quite numerous.

    If this growth is a mixture of brown and black, it can look like melanoma. Your dermatologist can identify these common growths by examining them. In unusual cases. a biopsy may be needed for the diagnosis. Seborrheic keratosis on the faces of people with skin of color is called dermatosis papulosa nigra. These appear as small black bumps around the eyes and on the cheeks most commonly. but can also appear on the neck and chest as well.

  • SKIN TAG: This small, floppy, and skin-colored growth sticks out from the skin. It may be larger at the top than at the base. Skin tags usually appear after midlife on the neck, trunk, armpits, or in or near skin folds. They are more numerous in people who are obese or diabetic, and in pregnant women. Skin tags irritated by clothes or jewelry may bleed or hurt.

How Are Common Growths Treated?

Many common skin growths do not need treatment. Some people choose to have a common growth removed because it has become irritated, painful, or inflamed. Others want them removed because they do not like the way it looks on their skin. Our Dermatologist can remove most common growths during an office visit.

Most skin growths can be removed by excision (cutting), cryosurgery (freezing), curettage (scraping) or electrosurgery (burning). Our dermatologist may also recommend laser surgery, a shot of cortisone (steroid), topical creams (applied to the skin), or photodynamic therapy (chemicals applied to the skin and activated by a special light). The treatment chosen depends upon the type of common skin growth.

Removal of these common growths may not be covered by your health insurance. Be sure to talk with your insurance provider and Our dermatology office in Bountiful Utah if you are concerned about the cost of removal.

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