Benign Skin Conditions
Fortunately most of the skin growths our patients see us about each day are benign (non-cancerous). While the most important thing we can do is assure you a spot isn’t cancer, treatment of these bothersome growths is usually possible. Diagnosis is not always straight forward, which is why we always recommend you see a dermatologist specifically trained to diagnose conditions of the skin. Below are listed some of the most common skin growths we see each day.
Skin tags are small, skin colored growths connected to the underlying skin by a thin stalk. They appear most commonly on the eyelids, around the neck, under the arms, and in the groin. Skin tags do not require any treatment, but can be removed by snipping with scissors or freezing the growths with liquid nitrogen.
Cherry angiomas are a small collection of blood vessels that appear as bright red or dark purple spots primarily located on the trunk and extremities. They are typically raised and may bleed if traumatized. These spots are best treated by a laser that can specifically target the blood vessels, or by using an electrical current to destroy the blood vessels.
Seborrheic Keratoses are wart-like growths with a “stuck on” appearance. People may commonly refer to them as age spots or barnacles. They are extremely common and can develop almost anywhere on the body. These growths are one of the most common things we see as dermatologists on a daily basis. Fortunately they are not harmful and do not develop into skin cancer. If these spots become irritated or are concerning for cosmetic reasons, they may be removed with liquid nitrogen or with a sharp blade called a curette. Seborrheic keratoses can mimic some forms of skin cancer including melanoma, so if you aren’t sure, please schedule an appointment for a proper evaluation.
These brown spots are more commonly referred to as sun spots or liver spots. They appear as tan to brown flat spots in areas that receive significant sun exposure. The best treatment is prevention, so wear your sunscreen! Treatments to improve the cosmetic appearance of these spots include liquid nitrogen, chemical peels, bleaching creams, and laser treatments. Very early stage melanoma can mimic a lentigo, so if your spot is changing in appearance, please schedule an appointment for a proper evaluation.