‘Skin lesions’ is the generic name for a wide range of lumps or bumps that appear on the skin, through a variety of different causes. Many are essentially harmless, but pigmented lesions, especially those which have changed, need to be investigated (initially by your family doctor). The warning signs for potentially harmful pigmented lesions are seen in the following image:
Test The vast majority of skin lesions are harmless, but they can cause significant cosmetic concern, and affect an individual’s confidence, or they can routinely catch on clothing (and hence be a source of regular irritation).
At BrightNewMe I treat a wide variety of such lesions, and in this article I discuss the most common.
Simple skin tags, as shown below, are soft lesions which frequently occur in skin folds such as the neck, or on areas where clothing rubs. This was the case with our very own Helen, whose own skin tag featured in an earlier newsletter.
Campbell de Morgan spots (also known as Cherry Angiomas) are bright red papules on the skin, containing an abnormal proliferation of blood vessels, as shown below. Their freqency tends to increase with age.
Milia, also known as milk spots, are small, keratin-filled cysts, with a pearly white colouration. As can be seen below, they are usually found around the nose and eyes, and can affect patients of all ages.
Sebaceous cysts are soft, smooth lumps often found in hairy areas (such as in the scalp as per the example below). They contain a white fatty substance, rather similar in appearance to cottage cheese.
Xanthelasma are yellowish deposits of fat underneath the skin, usually on or around the eyelids, as with this example. They can be associated with high levels of cholesterol or can be hereditary.
Poikiloderma is a skin condition of red or brown pigmentation, thread veins and also loss of pigmentation. It is predominantly found on the side of the neck (see below), and also the chest. It is commonly associated with sun damage, but poses no health risks in itself.
Spider naevi are swollen blood vessels, with reddish extensions that radiate outwards (like a spider’s web). Commonly seen on the face and chest they are harmless, although the presence of numerous vessels can be a sign of a liver complaint.
Dermatosis papulosa nigra generally presents in dark skinned patients (said to affect up to 35% of the African American population in the US). It causes numerous small, smooth lumps to appear, often on the cheeks (as seen below) or the dÃ©colletage.
Molluscum contagiosum, below, is a spreadable viral condition which commonly affects children. The lesions occur in warm, moist areas such as behind the knees, or in the armpits. They can be white, pink or brown.
Seborrhoeic warts are raised, brown, warty lesions which appear to stick to the skin like barnacles. As can be seen in our example, they have a thickened surface. They are often associated with advancing age.
Syringomas are harmless sweat duct tumours, yellowish in colour, often appearing near the eyes in adolescence.
Finally, we have the common wart, which is of viral origin and typically affects the hands and feet (the latter in the form of verrucas). They will eventually clear on their own, without treatment (rather sooner for children, for whom 90% will resolve within 2 years).
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