Skin Growths

Noncancerous or benign skin growths may be flat or raised, colored or flesh-colored and may be caused by viruses, genetics and environmental factors. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Anna Chacon provides treatment for all skin growths. If you are concerned about a skin growth, we encourage you to contact us for a consultation. Below are some of the most common occurring lesions, listed in alphabetical order.

Cherry Angiomas

Cherry angiomas are benign overgrowths of capillaries (small blood vessels). They typically affect people over the age of 30 and multiply with age. They are bright red flat or slightly raised and commonly found on the trunk, extremities, face, chest and neck. They are harmless and cause no symptoms but can bleed if picked.


Skin cysts are fluid-filled lumps under the skin which are usually yellow or white with a small dark spot in the middle. Many cysts cause no symptoms and may even go away on their own and reoccur. Treatment usually involves surgical draining of the cyst or surgical removal of the cyst.

Dermatofibroma are small, pink, dull red or brown growths-sometimes with a whitish scar in the center-often appear after an insect bite, pimple, or other minor skin injury. They often look like a mole or scar. Dermatofibromas may feel firm, yet they pucker or dimple when pinched. These occur most often on the legs through they can occur anywhere on the body.

Epidermoid cysts are firm, flesh-colored nodules in the top layer of skin that appear on the face, neck and trunk of young and middle-aged people. They are filled with dead skin cells. They usually cause no symptoms, unless they become infected. The cause is not known, but they tend to run in families and can be caused by trauma, or a blocked pore and when infected they can look like a pimple.

Pilar cysts are a type of epidermoid cyst that forms in the hair follicles and is usually found on the scalp. They are more common in women and have a genetic component.

Sebaceous cysts are fluid-filled movable cysts or lumps found on the ears, neck, face, scalp and upper body that arise in the sebaceous (oil) glands. These cysts are filled with sebum (a yellow oily material produced by the sebaceous glands to keep the skin and hair moisturized and protect the skin from infections.) They can block the gland and grow. In that case, they can be punctured to release the trapped sebum, and treated with antibiotics.


Milia are small white and yellow cystic growths on the face. They are asymptomatic but can be a cosmetic nuisance. In older children and adults, they can develop from occlusive products as well as acne, sun damage, and an accumulation of dead skin cells.

Moles (Nevi)

Moles are usually round, flat, or slightly raised brown-colored skin, but can be tan, red, black, pink, blue or colorless. Some moles can have hair, and some can disappear on their own. Moles can develop anywhere on the body, even under the fingernails, between the fingers and toes, and on the scalp. Learn more about moles.

Seborrheic Keratosis (SK)

Seborrheic keratoses are common benign skin growth that affect people older than 30. They are often found in groups but can occur as a single growth. Most people will develop at least one during their lives.

SKs are flat or only slightly raised, tan, black or brown growths with a rough texture that looks “pasted on” the face, chest, shoulders and back. They may itch. Picking at them can cause bleeding, swelling and infection. SKs tends to run in families.

Sebaceous Hyperplasia (SH)

Sebaceous Hyperplasia are small shiny, flesh-colored to yellow bumps. They are caused by trapped sebum (oil) and dead skin cells inside enlarged oil glands, typically on the face, forehead and nose. They are common in people with fair skin, and are linked with high testosterone, sun exposure and genetics.

Skin tags

Skin tags are flesh-colored to soft brown growths on a stalk, usually found on the neck, under the arms and in the groin. They are harmless but can become irritated by clothing and jewelry.

Most skin growths are harmless and cause no symptoms. If a skin growth causes symptoms, it’s time to consult your dermatologist. It is important to see an expert to differentiate moles from melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers.

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