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.
There are a great many varieties of benign skin lesions, including:
- Freckles and age spots
- Skin tags
- Cherry angiomas
- Seborrheic keratoses
- Cold sores
- Pyogeic granulomas
When a patient desires to have a benign skin lesion removed because it is unsightly or uncomfortable, there are several treatments available, including:
- Cryosurgery, freezing with liquid nitrogen
- Curettage, scraping of the skin's surface
- Electrocautery, burning off with electric current
- Laser ablation, vaporizing with laser energy
- Surgical excision
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.