Daily News on Identifying Common Skin Conditions
A reader of our sites recently commented, “I know that the people often mistake warts, skin tags and moles but these are three different skin disorders. I am trying to find out information to convince people that skin tags and warts and moles are not and the same.”
The internet can be a valuable resource to finding answers to most our skin treatment issues. But if you just want a quick overview of the most common skin conditions; warts, moles (nevis), dark spots (dpn), skin tags, and Seb-Ks (seborrheic keratoses), then the information provided here can be a great place to start.
Identifying Common Skin Conditions; Warts, Moles, DPN, Skin Tags and Seb-Ks
There are several skin lesions that are very common and almost always benign (non-cancerous). These conditions include moles, freckles, skin tags, benign lentigines, and seborrheic keratoses.
What is a skin tag?
A skin tag is a common, acquired benign skin growth that looks like a small piece of hanging skin. Skin tags are often described as bits of skin- or flesh-colored tissue that projects from the surrounding skin from a small, narrow stalk. They typically occur in characteristic locations including the neck, underarms, eyelids, and under the breasts (especially where underwire bras rub directly beneath the breasts). Although skin tags may vary somewhat in appearance, they are usually smooth or slightly wrinkled and irregular, flesh-colored or slightly more brown, and hang from the skin by a small stalk. Early or beginning skin tags may be as small as a flattened pinpoint-sized bump around the neck. Some skin tags may be as large as a big grape.
Moles, Dysplastic Nevus and Dermatofibroma
Moles are growths on the skin that are usually brown or black. Moles can appear anywhere on the skin, alone or in groups. Most mole vanish in early childhood and during the first 20 years of a person’s life. Some moles may not appear until later in life. It is normal to have between 10-40 moles by adulthood.
As the years pass, moles usually change slowly, becoming raised and/or changing color. Often, hairs develop on the mole. Some moles may not change at all, while others may slowly disappear over time.
A dermatofibroma is a benign skin bump that occurs most commonly on the legs. A dermatofibroma is a firm, slightly elevated, dome-shaped, often darker-colored papule.
Sometimes a dermatofibroma is confused with a mole. The way to tell the difference between the two is to pinch the bump. If you pinch a dermatofibroma it creates a dimple because it is attached to the underlyingsubcutaneous tissue. On the other hand, if you pinch a mole, it projects up away from the skin.
A dysplastic nevus, (or naevus; pl. nevi or naevi) is an atypical melanocytic nevus; a mole whose appearance is different from that of common moles. Dysplastic nevi are generally larger than ordinary moles and have irregular and indistinct borders. Their color frequently is not uniform and ranges from pink to dark brown; they usually are flat, but parts may be raised above the skin surface. Dysplastic nevi can be found anywhere, but are most common on the trunk in men, and on the calves in women.
Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra?
Dermatosis papulosa nigra (DPN) is a benign, cutaneous (relating to the skin) condition common among blacks. It is usually characterized by multiple, small, hyperpigmented, asymptomatic papules on the face of adult blacks. Histologically, dermatosis papulosa nigra resembles seborrheic keratoses. The condition may be cosmetically undesirable to some patients.
Dermatosis papulosa nigra affects up to 35% of the African American population. Blacks with a fair complexion have the lowest frequency of involvement. Dermatosis papulosa nigra also occurs among Asians, although the exact incidence is unknown.
What is a Wart?
A wart (also known as verruca) is generally a small, rough tumor, typically on hands and feet but often other locations, that can resemble a cauliflower or a solid blister. Warts are common, and are caused by a viralinfection, specifically by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and are contagious when in contact with the skin of an infected person. It is also possible to get warts from using towels or other objects used by an infected person. Wart vanish typically after a few months but can last for years and can recur.
What is Seborrheic Keratosis?
Benign lesions that don’t ever turn into cancer, seborrheic keratoses, or Seb K’s for short, can look dangerous. In reality they are just annoying. Also irreverently called barnacles, they come in all different shapes and sizes from large black growths to barely noticeable raised areas.
Characteristics of Seborrheic Keratosis
The wicked witch with a wart on her nose probably had a Seb K not a wart. So how can you tell if that bump on your face or chest is actually a Seb K? They do have some defining characteristics. Warty surface – Seborrheic keratoses may look like warts but they don’t contain human papilloma viruses that cause warts. As they develop some can have a very rough surface with deep pits and fissures almost like cauliflower being pulled apart.
Hopefully, this helps clear up any misnomers or confusion you may have about a wart or mole or any skin condition you are worried about. If any skin condition persists, changes or grows painful, seek medical attention or the professional advice of a doctor immediately.