About Moles & Skin Growths
Understanding Moles & Growths
Primarily, skin growths are a benign condition, which consists of a lump of tissue projecting out from surrounding skin. The most common skin growths are:
Moles: Moles are small skin marks caused by pigment producing cells in the skin. They can be flat or raised (bumpy), smooth or rough, and some contain hair. They can occur anywhere on the body and are usually dark brown or black in color. Some can also be flesh-colored, red or yellow. Benign moles are generally smaller than the size of a pencil eraser. Moles can change in appearance over time, and some can develop into cancer, so it’s important to keep an eye on them for major changes or if you begin to experience pain or sensitivity.
Warts: Warts are a harmless skin growth caused by a (human) virus known as the Papilloma virus. Warts can be spread to other parts of the body or to other people by contact. They are slow growing in nature, and range in appearance from Papules and Plaques to larger, cysts with tiny black dots. Warts can grow anywhere on the body and tend to be most common among children and young adults.
5 Different Wart Types:
- Common Warts: They are rough, shaped like a dome, and gray-brown in color. They appear most often on the hands.
- Plantar Warts: Grow on the soles of the feet. They look like hard, thick patches of skin with dark specks and may be hidden beneath calluses. Plantar warts may cause pain when you walk.
- Flat Warts: Grow on the face, hands, arms or legs. They are normally smaller size of a pencil eraser, have flat tops, and can be pink, light brown or light yellow.
- Filiform Warts: Usually grow around the eyes, mouth, nose, or beard area. They are the same color as the skin and have growths that look like fingers or threads sticking out of them.
- Periungual Warts: Grow under and around the toenails and fingernails. They look like rough bumps with an uneven surface and border.
Skin tags: Skin tags are projections of smooth or irregular skin, flesh-colored or more deeply pigmented, projecting from surrounding skin, often connected by a narrow stalk to the surrounding skin.
They often appear around the eyelids, neck, groin, underarms and under the breasts. They are usually painless, but may become irritated and itch.
Important to Know
Most skin growths are benign and harmless. However in some cases it’s important to determine if certain moles are benign or cancerous. Some benign growths can indicate a systemic condition, including hormonal disorders. Most benign growths do not require treatment unless they produce symptoms. A skin biopsy may be needed to evaluate lesions that have changed or that display characteristics of malignancy.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Consult a doctor about removing any skin tags, warts or especially moles.
- Consult a doctor if you notice any change in your skin growths, including increase in size, change in color, pain, bleeding, cracking or oozing.
- Be careful treating warts with over-the-counter drugs, particularly genital warts, which are best treated by a doctor.
- Keep the skin clean and moisturized.
- Pick at moles, warts or skin lesions to prevent infecting the area and worsening the condition.
- Lose your patience! Remedies can take days or weeks to work, so keep the faith!
Coping with skin health can be daunting, so please consult your doctor or health care professional for assistance. He or she can help direct you toward options or procedures right for you.