KidsMD Health Topics

Benign Skin Growths

  • Overview

    • Benign skin growths are non-cancerous bumps, spots and lumps on the skin. While many benign skin growths can be ignored, some need to be monitored and others treated for medical or cosmetic reasons.There are a variety of different types of benign skin growths, some of which do not require medical treatment, like non-cancerous bumps, spots and lumps.
    • Certain types of moles are at higher risk for changing into cancerous growths, including malignant melanoma, a form of skin cancer.
    • Parents should monitor their children's moles over time and report any changes to their child's physician.

    Benign skin growths  Benign skin growths

    Benign skin growths  Benign skin growths

    Children's Hospital Boston
    300 Longwood Avenue
    Boston MA 02115

     617-355-7701
     fax: 617-730-0505

  • In-Depth

    What are benign skin growths?

    Benign skin growths are non-cancerous bumps, spots and lumps on the skin that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Children may have freckles and moles that multiply or darken over time. As a person grows older and spends more time in the sun, his skin changes.

    What are the different types of skin growths?

    Dermatofibromas:   

    • Small, firm red or brown bumps caused by an accumulation of soft tissue cells under the skin, called fibroblasts. They often occur on the legs and may itch.
    • Dermatofibromas can be surgically removed if they become painful or itchy.

    Dermoid cyst:

    • A benign tumor made up of hairs, sweat glands and sebaceous glands, which are located in the middle layer of the skin. Some internal dermoid tumors may even contain cartilage, bone fragments and even teeth.
    • Dermoid cysts may be surgically removed for cosmetic reasons.

    Freckles:

    • Darkened, flat spots that typically appear only on sun-exposed areas of the skin. Freckles are common in people with blond or red hair.           
    • No treatment is necessary for freckles.

    Keloids:

    • Smooth, firm, raised fibrous growths on the skin that form in wound sites. Keloids are more common in African-Americans.          
    • Keloids respond poorly to most treatment approaches. Injections of corticosteroid drugs may help to flatten the keloids. Other treatment options include surgery or silicone patches to further flatten the keloids.

    Lipomas:

    • Round or oval lumps under the skin caused by fatty deposits. Lipomas are more common in women and tend to appear on the forearms, torso and back of the neck.
    • Lipomas are generally harmless, but if the lipoma changes shape, your physician may perform a biopsy. Treatment may include removal by surgery if the lipoma bothers your child.

    Moles (nevi):

    • Small skin marks caused by pigment-producing cells in the skin. Moles can be flat or raised, smooth or rough, and some contain hair. Most moles are dark brown or black, but some are skin-colored or yellowish. Moles can change over time and often respond to hormonal changes.
    • Most moles are benign and no treatment is necessary. Some benign moles may develop into skin cancer (melanoma).
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