Sometimes unexpected growths can appear on your skin. In this blog post we talk about characteristics of some common skin growth issues. If you see a growth that you haven’t always had, it is best to get it checked by a certified dermatologist.
Skin is the outermost, soft layer covering the body. It protects the body from mechanical, thermal and electrical stimuli, and also carries the sensations of touch, heat, pain, temperature, etc. It is the most vital structure, subjected to all the aforementioned stimuli and thus, it is completely physiological for the skin to develop a variety of harmless outgrowths, as a defence mechanism or otherwise. But, these growths must be properly diagnosed and differentiated from their malignant counterparts, to rule out the risk of malignancy or any serious complications. A dermatologist must be visited for a proper diagnosis and evaluation, in case of encounter with any kind of outgrowths or swellings.
Following are the most common skin growths seen:
- Moles or nevus: They are the most common benign (disorders) lesions of the pigment-producing cells, melanocytes. With more than 10 million cases per year in our country, they are more common in fair skinned individuals, who can have 10-40 of them on their skin.
- They may be present at birth, or may develop later in life, particularly during childhood or adolescence.
- They may be flat or raised.
- They grow in size as the individual ages.
- They may darken or even lighten in colour - a physiological phenomenon.
- Sudden appearance of multiple new moles in adults, or itching, bleeding and progressive growth of the nevus may be signs of malignant transformation and shouldn’t be ignored.
- Warts: They are a common skin growth, caused due to Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV affects the top most layer of the skin, causing it to grow rapidly, thus forming a wart.
- They can grow anywhere on the body, in variable shapes and sizes, and they rarely disappear on their own within a few months or a year. However, they have a high tendency to recur, because the virus has not been destroyed.
- They may be flat and smooth or rough and raised.
- They are usually painless and require removal as a treatment. It is advisable to get them treated so as to prevent transmission.
- They are transmissible and can easily spread from one part of the body to another, or from person to person, by direct skin contact, or indirectly through clothing items, towels, razors, etc. Thus, care must be taken to not touch the lesion repeatedly, in order to avoid its spread. A duct tape can be used to isolate the lesion for this purpose.
- If the wart is unusual, painful or spreading, the diagnosis needs to be confirmed with a biopsy, to rule out other more serious conditions and a dermatologist needs to be visited for the treatment of warts.
- **Skin tags:**Skin tags are small, raised flaps of tissue, which develop in the areas of the skin that rub against each other. They are attached to the skin by a connecting stalk.
- They are completely benign, painless and asymptomatic, until they are irritated, like when rubbing against the skin, clothing or jewellery.
- In case of pain or other symptoms, a dermatologist must be visited for the removal of skin tags, which can be done by radiofrequency, cryosurgery, electric surgery, or a simple excision with a scalpel or scissors.
- Seborrheic Keratosis: Seborrheic Keratoses are common skin growths. Their resemblance to warts or certain pre-cancerous lesions may make them look troublesome, but they are completely benign and harmless.
- They are common in middle-aged or older individuals.
- They may be single or multiple, occurring anywhere on the skin, except palms and soles. They are most commonly seen on chest, back, head or neck.
- They vary in appearance, texture and colour, for different individuals. They begin off as small, rough patches on the skin and proceed to develop a thick, wart-like surface. They are mostly tan or brown in colour, but their colour ranges from white, pale, yellow to black.
- They are non-infectious and do not spread from person to person. However, a dermatologist must be visited to correctly differentiate and diagnose the lesion from other possible growths suspected.
It’s important to note that you should never self-medicate – only take medical treatment for your skin growth that has been prescribed by a dermatologist. A dermatologist through Remedico will be able to identify what the growth is. This is very important, especially to rule out a serious underlying conditions.
With Remedico, you can consult with a certified dermatologist for your skin growth from wherever you are, from your smartphone. We will send you a personalised treatment plan within 24 hours.