Your skin is your largest organ. It’s naturally tough, and protects your insides from your environment — but nearly everyone suffers skin lesions at some point in their lives.
Lesions are patches of skin that look different from the rest of your skin. Some lesions result from an injury, like a cut, scrape, or sore. Others are growths, like moles.
If you notice a skin lesion, it’s crucial to watch it closely. Most lesions don’t pose a more serious health risk, but some types of wounds require professional care. Walter D. Gracia, MD, PA, specializes in lesion care, and in this blog, he explains how to tell the difference.
How skin lesions heal
Your body is naturally equipped to heal itself. But healing is a complex process, and several steps must occur for skin lesions to heal fully on their own.
The main steps of skin healing are:
When your skin gets cut, it usually starts bleeding. Blood naturally starts sticking together, or clotting, soon after. The clot stops the bleeding and covers the lesion. Some lesions, like burns and deep puncture wounds, don’t bleed.
After the bleeding stops, a scab forms over the lesion. Scabs are dry, crusty patches that protect wounds while they heal. Avoid picking at or removing scabs because it disrupts the healing process.
Underneath the scab, your body gets to work healing the lesion. Red blood cells, white blood cells, oxygen, and collagen all work together to grow new tissue and fill the wound. Your body rebuilds tissue from the outer edges, and the lesion gradually gets smaller and smaller.
Eventually, the new tissue gets thicker and stronger. The scab falls off. As the new skin grows, you might notice stretching, puckering, or scarring. A scar might form because the new tissue is tougher than the old tissue.
Small lesions, like shallow cuts, can heal in just a few days. Larger or deeper wounds take longer to heal. If you have a lesion that’s large, painful, or not healing on its own, make a doctor’s appointment to get it checked out.
What to do if your skin isn’t healing
Most skin lesions heal independently, but it’s important to recognize when something might be wrong. If you notice a new or changing lesion, look for symptoms like:
- Pus or drainage from the lesion
- Warmth or redness around the lesion
- Worsening swelling
- Increasing pain
If you notice any of these symptoms or have a lesion that hasn’t started healing within about 30 days, go to the doctor.
Dr. Gracia has experience diagnosing and treating skin lesions. He examines your lesion, then recommends treatment. Some types of lesions, like moles, may need to be removed. Others may need special dressings or medication to treat the infection.
Don’t hesitate to seek a professional opinion if you have a lesion you’re concerned about. Request an appointment with Dr. Gracia online or call our Fort Worth, Texas, office at 817-336-9450 today.