Common Skin Growths And What To Do About Them

skin-growthsHave you ever really paid attention to what is on your skin? Do you have moles and freckles that give your face character? Or maybe you’ve noticed that there’s something new growing on your skin and you aren’t quite sure what to do about it.

Our skin is constantly shedding cells and renewing itself. This is why a beautician, or your mom, will tell you to exfoliate at least once a week when you shower. You don’t want a buildup of dead cells hanging out on your arm which will clog your pores and give you the worst body-acne you’ve seen since you were fifteen.

Instead of poking and prodding at yourself whenever you notice something new and weird, you’re usually better off just leaving it alone. But, you should know that these skin growths are actually usually pretty benign, at least, according to the Washington Post. Here’s a snippet from their recent article:

Dermatofibromas: These round, hard, reddish-brown bumps may have a dimpled center. They most often crop up on legs or arms, and they can develop after an insect bite or a shaving cut. Safe removal: Your best bet is to leave them alone. “Removal often yields a worse mark,” says Bruce Robinson, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York and an AAD spokesman. If a fibroma is in a sensitive area or causes itching or bleeding, a dermatologist can remove it surgically. It can’t be shaved, snipped or erased with a laser. Will insurance pay? Maybe, but only if it’s very big or changes shape and looks suspicious.

Epidermoid cysts: These skin-colored lumps are most common on the face, neck, back and trunk. Some become infected and rupture. Safe removal: Incision and drainage may be needed for an infected cyst. Once the infection has subsided, the cyst can be surgically removed. Will insurance pay? If it’s large, inflamed and painful.

Seborrheic keratoses: These are waxy black, brown or tan growths with small bumps that give them a wartlike surface. Safe removal: Cryotherapy, which uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the lesion and turn it crusty, causing it to fall off. Another option is cauterization (heating) with a surgical tool. Will insurance pay? If it’s inflamed, itchy or bleeding.

Skin tags: These stalks of skin tend to grow in high-friction areas such as the underarm and neck. About half of American adults have a skin tag. Safe removal: They can be shaved or snipped off by a dermatologist and cauterized to stop bleeding if necessary. Avoid over-the-counter treatments with claims that they will dissolve skin tags. Because they kill off skin cells, “you could harm the area around the tag, which could lead to increased scarring,” says Lauren Ploch, a dermatologist in New Orleans. Will insurance pay? Possibly, if a tag is irritated, red or bleeding, or if it looks suspicious.


Of course, there are times when you might be concerned that your new mole might be cancerous because it just keeps growing and changing shape. In that instance, you need to make an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist to get yourself checked out. If you have these kinds of concerns don’t try to remove things yourself.

You could also try something like Wart & Mole Vanish (review is here: if you feel like a growth is normal. The truth is, a large percentage of them usually are.

Now that you’ve learned about four common skin issues and what to do about them, don’t you just feel better? Sure, they have scary names like dermatofibromas, epidermoid cysts and seborrheic keratoses, but now if you hear them you’ll know what they refer to. That’s already better than most people.

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