Your skin is your largest organ. It protects your body from your environment. Healthy skin is smooth and even-toned, but skin lesions are common among people of all ages.
A lesion is an area of skin that looks different from the skin around it. Skin lesions can be temporary (like a blister) or more permanent (like a mole). Even though most skin lesions aren’t typically a cause for concern, noticing unusual spots can make you wonder if your health is at risk. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, and other types of non-healing lesions can compromise your health too.
If you have a skin concern, trust your health to Walter D. Gracia, MD, PA. Dr. Gracia and our team are here to help you spot the symptoms of more dangerous lesions and recognize when it’s time to see a doctor.
Identifying common types of skin lesions
Skin is susceptible to a variety of different injuries and growths. A few of the most common lesions include...
Blisters are raised bubbles of skin filled with fluid. They often develop with repetitive friction, burns, or some type of infection. Blisters can be painful, but they usually heal on their own without medical intervention.
Cold sores are a type of recurring blister that appears around your mouth. They’re caused by herpes simplex viral infection. Cold sores usually heal on their own in a few weeks, but treating the herpes infection can help reduce outbreaks.
Moles are flat brown or black spots on the skin. They develop when melanin collects in one area of your skin, making it appear darker. Almost everyone has at least one mole, and they are almost always non-cancerous.
Seborrheic keratosis is another common skin lesion. Called keratoses, these lesions look waxy and appear tan, brown, or black in color. Keratoses generally develop on your face, chest, shoulders, or back, and they are usually not cancerous.
Skin tags are small stalks of skin that may grow on your neck, chest, or under your arms. While many skin tags are small, they can grow larger or get caught on jewelry or clothing. Skin tags aren’t cancerous.
Recognizing signs of skin cancer
Signs of skin cancer may include:
- A new growth that looks different than surrounding skin
- A mole that changes in appearance
- A lesion that hurts, bleeds, or itches
- A lesion that lasts for longer than three weeks
Most moles and lesions change slowly or not at all. A spot that rapidly changes in appearance (including size, shape, and color) could be a sign of skin cancer.
Going to the doctor for a skin check
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends getting a professional skin evaluation once a year. At your exam, the doctor looks at your skin and checks for signs of skin cancer. Along with these annual exams, you can perform monthly self-exams and make note of any suspicious moles or lesions.
Annual skin checks are one of the best ways to preserve your skin’s health. But if you notice an unusual spot, don’t hesitate to make a doctor’s appointment. Any lesions that change in appearance, cause symptoms like itching or pain, or don’t heal in a few days should be examined.
Take care of your skin with help from Dr. Gracia and our team. Contact our office online or call to schedule a skin consultation today.