About Skin Growths
When you examine your skin, you may see small lesions or areas that look different than the surrounding skin. These are known as skin growths, which may appear anywhere on your face and body. The most common types of skin growths include cysts, warts, and skin tags. You may want a lesion removed if it is unattractive, irritating or painful. While many growths are benign (noncancerous), a lesion that has changed over time may need to be biopsied to check for cancerous cells. If you have a lesion or growth you would like examined or removed, schedule an appointment with seasoned dermatologist Dr. Eric Wilkerson. Most growths can be removed at Fort Lauderdale Dermatology in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Types of Growths
Some of the most popular skin growths patients want to remove include:
Cysts: Are very common among the general population and are in most circumstances noncancerous. They show up as sac-like cavities that are typically filled with dead skin. They can show up anywhere on the body and in all shapes and sizes, feeling like a pea-sized lesion beneath the skin.
Warts: Are a common skin condition, most usually found on the hands, fingers, and around the fingernails. They typically look like small, fleshy peas, but they may vary in size. It is also common for warts to appear in clusters on the knees and elbows. Although warts are harmless for the most part, they can be irritating and unsightly.
Skin tags: Around 25% of adults have small benign tumors known as skin tags. These flesh-colored growths (also known as acrochordon) are harmless and may range from a pinhead-sized bump to around the size of a pencil eraser. While skin tags do not require medical treatment, you may want tags removed if they create irritation when they rub against clothing.
Growths on the skin are usually separated into two types: primary and secondary. Primary growths are present at birth or develop during your life. This includes birthmarks, blisters, macules (freckles and flat moles), papules, nodules, pustules, and rashes. Secondary growths are caused by an irritation or infection of a primary lesion. The most frequent secondary lesions are crusts (scabs), scales, ulcers, scars, and skin atrophy.
Most lesions are caused by an infection, such as the human papillomavirus (HPV) that leads to warts or a systemic infection (chicken pox or shingles), which could cause skin lesions on the entire body. Skin growths may also be caused by genetics, like birthmarks, moles, and freckles. Allergies or skin sensitivities can also lead to lesions.
A skin growth includes any area of skin that is different than the surrounding skin. This could include a different pigmentation (color), like a birthmark, macule (freckle or flat mole), or shape like a nodule, raised mole, or papule. Skin growths may also be a different texture, like a rash, wheal (hive), or secondary skin lesion (crust, ulcer, scale, or scar). A growth may cause symptoms, such as burning, itching, or discomfort. A raised growth may also cause irritation if it rubs against skin or clothing.
Depending on the type of growth being removed, there are numerous treatments. A surgical excision may be recommended by Dr. Wilkerson, which involves cutting the lesion out along with some tissue and skin under and around it. This is often used for moles, cysts, or other types of growths that could be precancerous or cancer. Sutures (stitches) will likely be needed and a healing ointment is applied. The skin heals within a 1 – 2 weeks. Surface layer growths may also be removed with a surgical blade that shaves away the mark. Dr. Wilkerson may also suggest laser treatments, oral medications, or topical creams to minimize symptoms or the appearance of lesions.
Remove Unwanted Lesions
Virtually every adult has a skin growth they would like to see gone. While most growths do not need treatment (unless they begin to bleed, itch, become inflamed, or are believed to be cancerous), you may want it removed to improve your appearance. Skilled dermatologist Dr. Eric Wilkerson will provide a full assessment of your growth(s) and discuss treatment options. Contact Fort Lauderdale Dermatology to learn more about growth removal or to schedule a consultation at our office in Fort Lauderdale, FL.