Benign Skin Lesions
Benign skin lesions are skin growths which, although sometimes irritating or unsightly, are not usually dangerous. Many benign lesions do not require treatment except for cosmetic reasons. Some, however, may itch, burn, sting, or be otherwise uncomfortable if left untreated and some may lead to possibly malignant changes in the skin.
Frequently, patients are familiar with a particular skin lesion and are therefore comfortable either ignoring it or treating it with home or over-the-counter remedies. Nonetheless, in any case where an individual is even slightly doubtful about the nature of a skin lesion, a dermatologist should be consulted since an apparently benign blemish may be a skin cancer and potentially deadly.
Each variety of benign skin lesion has distinctive characteristics. Some types tend to appear on certain body parts or to present in a particular pattern on the skin. Even so, in many instances benign skin lesions are difficult to distinguish from one another or from some more serious disorder. Therefore, it is always wise to consult with a dermatologist who is a highly trained observer. If the doctor has any question, a definitive skin biopsy can be performed.
Age spots, which develop on the skin, are a common sign of aging. Also known as brown spots, liver spots and solar lentigines, they are flat, oval areas of pigmentation that ranges from light brown to black. Age spots tend to appear on the parts of the body, such as the face, hands, arms, shoulders and feet, that are exposed to the sun. Most common in people older than 40, they can be freckle-sized or more than a half-inch in length. When age spots are grouped together, they appear even larger.
Seborrhea is a chronic skin condition of unknown origin which causes scaling, oiliness and redness of the skin, most commonly on the scalp (in which case it is often referred to as dandruff), face, ears, navel and genitals. Although symptoms imply that skin is dry, seborrhea actually involves excess oil production in the glands. For this reason, self-treatment methods such as moisturizing often prove ineffective and may even worsen the condition. Professionally recommended treatments such as cortisone creams and lotions and reduction of yeast on the skin surface, in combination with frequent gentle washing and avoidance of harsh or perfumed soaps, can alleviate symptoms.
Fungal infections are common skin conditions that can grow anywhere on or inside the human body. Fungi release spores that can be picked up by direct contact or even inhaled. Fungal infections can grow anywhere on the body, but tend to develop in warm, moist areas such as the feet, groin and armpit area. Topically, they may cause redness, itching, burning and scaling, as well as blisters or peeling. Common types of fungal infections include athlete's foot, jock itch, ringworm and yeast infections.
Cysts are balloon-like structures in the skin filled with solid or fluid material. They most often contain sebaceous material, the oily substance that would normally be present on the surface of the skin for normal lubrication. Cysts can occur anywhere on the body, although the face, neck, back and area behind the ears are the most common sites. They develop as an infection, often from a swollen hair follicle, and require treatment to prevent them from enlarging or becoming cancerous.
Cyst removal is typically done through surgical excision. A small incision is made in the area of the cyst and then the cyst and surrounding tissue will be removed to ensure complete excision. A local anesthetic is used for this procedure. Most cysts do not return when thoroughly removed. Some patients are left with a small scar after a cyst is removed, which can be further treated with a reconstructive treatment, although most scars will fade over time.
Sun damage can affect any area of your skin as a result of long-term exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. Sun damage most commonly occurs on the face, hands and arms, and may lead to sun spots, age spots, rough skin and wrinkles. Years of sun exposure can also lead to premature aging and skin cancer.
The best treatment against sun damage is preventing it from occurring in the first place. It is important to wear sunscreen lotion on a daily basis and avoid excessive exposure to the sun, especially during mid-day hours when the sun is strongest. Existing sun damage can be treated through skin procedures like BOTOX®, chemical peels, microdermabrasion and intense pulsed light therapy.
Wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process that occurs when the skin becomes thinner, drier and less elastic, allowing lines and creases to form within. Genetics, smoking and excessive exposure to the sun can also lead to the premature aging of your skin.
There are several treatment options available to help eliminate or reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, such as topical retinoids and wrinkle creams, microdermabrasion, laser treatment, chemical peels, BOTOX®, Restylane® and more. While these procedures cannot completely reverse the effects of aging on your skin, they are often effective in minimizing the appearance of wrinkles through ongoing treatments.