Our skin is the largest organ of the body and is subjected to many internal and external abuses. So it is not surprising that over time the skin develops a variety of innocent lumps and bumps, some of which may be cysts and growths. These lumps and bumps are many and varied, and are often tagged with long medical names that are impossible to pronounce. Suffice it to say that you do not have to live with white, brown, or red appendages that may protrude from your skin. They are usually easy to remove, particularly now that target specific lasers have been developed. Common benign lesions that are not pre-cancerous or cancerous may include: acrochordons (skin tags), milia, seborrheic keratoses, syringomas, sebaceous cysts, and sebaceous hyperplasia.
Benign cysts and growths such as skin tags and seborrheic keratoses are considered to be cosmetic in nature therefore removal of these lesions is the responsibility of the patient. The cost varies on the type of lesion, the number of lesions, and the treatment recommended.
“Skin tags” perfectly describes the little lesions that grow out from the skin. Skin tags are usually the same colour as the surrounding skin although they may be lighter in colour or may be slightly pigmented giving a tanned appearance. The medical term for a skin tag is achrochordon. The skin has a tendency to grow in the direction of stress so skin tags develop in areas of multi-dimensional movement such as the armpits, groin, and around the neck.
This is because the skin does not “know” which way to grow so it simply grows out. The tendency to develop skin tags is inherited. They are harmless and never become cancerous or malignant. At times, a skin tag may become sore from rubbing against clothing or jewelry. While annoying, there is no reason for concern.
Skin tags usually do not grow back once removed. However, it is possible that new skin tags can appear in the same area where one was previously removed.
Milia are common, harmless, miniature oil gland cysts which can appear anytime during life. They may occur when the pores become plugged with creams, but may also occur on their own.
Milia never become malignant. They can become larger, and sometime become annoying because of their cosmetic appearance, but do not present any concern medically.
A sebaceous cyst forms when an oil gland ruptures in the second layer of the skin and becomes surrounded by scar tissue. These dome-shaped protuberances commonly appear in groups on the skin but may be solitary. They enlarge slowly and may become inflamed and tender from time to time.
Pilar cysts are similar to sebaceous cysts. They appear in multiples on the scalp and are common in families.
Do you have another question that wasn’t addressed here? Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have!