You are probably very familiar with moles. They are one of the most frequently discussed dermatology lesions, and for good reason, since they are so commonplace. But what about all the other spots and bumps that may appear on your skin?
It is important to stay informed on what could be forming on your skin, so you can know what is normal and what to watch closely. We’re breaking down the most common spots that appear on your skin that aren’t moles. Keep reading to find out what those are!
Freckles are tan- or brown-colored spots that are located on sun-exposed skin. They may grow darker during the summer but lighten up during the winter. They are totally harmless, but—for those who have a lot—it may signal an increased risk for skin cancer. Keep track of the freckles you have. If you notice any changes in size, shape, or color, seek out a dermatologist.
Extremely common, skin tags are soft bumps of skin that grow in skin folds of the neck, underarms, eyelids, groin, and breasts. They are usually the same color as your skin tone. Friction and rubbing seem to be a risk factor. Occasionally, skin tags can be a marker for a condition such as diabetes. Usually they are asymptomatic but occasionally they may become irritated by clothing or jewelry. Since they are benign, no treatment is necessary, and removal is not typically covered by medical insurance.
Sun Spots / Age Spots / Liver Spots
These common names are imprecise but usually refer to flat spots that are light tan to medium-dark brown located on the face, forearms, back of the hands, and upper trunk. They are brought on by sun exposure over your lifetime. Though they aren’t usually dangerous, their appearance may cause you to seek treatment. There are a variety of cosmetic treatment options, ranging from lightening creams to chemical peels to lasers. The best way to have them evaluated and learn more is by seeing a dermatologist.
These small, smooth, white spots on your skin are technically called idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis (IGH) and develop most commonly on the forearms and shins. About 80% of patients over age 70 have them, including patients of all skin tones. IGH is not a dangerous condition. Interestingly, the exact cause is unknown but is thought to be related to sun damage.
Do you have a red spot on your skin — something that looks like it might be a red mole? That is probably a cherry angioma, and it’s a small collection of blood vessels near the surface of the skin. They can be raised or flat, appear anywhere on the body, and are usually smaller than a pencil eraser. The good news is that these are harmless and don’t require any form of treatment. For patients that seek removal, this is not typically covered by health insurance.
Although the name may not sound familiar, seborrheic keratoses are probably one of the most common lesions to prompt a visit to the dermatologist. These are brown to dark brown growths that may sometimes resemble melanoma. Their surfaces may be smooth or rough and wart-like, often with a somewhat greasy texture. They are found all over the body and often occur in multiples on the back. Some people liken them to barnacles. Occasionally, they may cause itching and bleeding, but the good news is that they can easily be removed.
From freckles to seborrheic keratoses, we’ve covered the most common spots that appear on your skin that aren’t moles. If you find that you are experiencing any of the above dermatology issues, the experts at Avail Dermatology are happy to help. Click here to schedule an appointment with us or give us a call at 770.251.5111.