Skin Lesions are growths on the skin that look different from the surrounding area. While most skin lesions are benign, a proper diagnosis is required to rule out any malignancy. For a correct diagnosis, your doctor would need to consider the appearance of the lesion, related symptoms if any, additional problems and location and growth type of the lesion. Often biopsies are also required should the doctor suspect something unusual.
There are two kinds of skin lesions – primary and secondary. Primary skin lesions generally occur at birth or as a reaction to certain infections. Secondary skin lesions generally occur as a follow-up to primary lesions.
Types Of Skin Lesions
Primary Skin Lesions
This condition is only marked by a change in the skin color since it is neither raised nor depressed. These can be identified by their patchy appearance and are normally considered benign.
Vesicles are identified by their small sizes and blister-like appearance on the skin. Other than the skin, vesicles can also break out on the mucous linings such as the mouth.
Most vesicles are also filled with fluid that can break. This skin disorder primarily occurs as reactions to medicines and drugs and reactions to certain illnesses such as eczema, chicken pox or contact dermatitis.
These skin lesions are mainly caused as a reaction to acne and pimples. These are characterized by raised bumps filled with pus and mainly affect the face, back, armpits or other oily regions. Pustules are signs of a bacterial infection and require immediate treatment.
These skin growths are mostly red, brown or pink in color and are rough to touch. Papules are raised growths on the skin, particularly the face, and mainly occurring due to increased oiliness of the skin owing to medications or even weather changes. Papules are found mostly in people who are prone to warts, psoriasis or skin cancer. A cluster of papules are called plaques and are rather painful to touch. As with any other skin problem, dermatologists recommend avoiding touching, squeezing or popping of papules as they tend to leave scars.
Nodules are among the more severe form of skin lesions and are distinguished by painful hard growths on any level of the skin that persist for months.
Since these skin lesions are more persistent than others, they require extensive treatments. Untreated nodules have a tendency to develop into cysts and tumors.
Wheals occur as an allergic reaction to medicines or other substances and are raised breakouts that mostly turn itchy. Wheals are generally paler than the areas around and could be rounded or flat-topped. They are generally filled with fluid and often disappear once they break.
Secondary Skin Lesions
Ulcers affect the upper and lower portions of the skin and are generally caused by bacterial infection, fungal infections, skin cancer or poor blood circulation. Ulcers appear as open wounds, which are often filled with pus. The area lining the ulcers also turns red and inflamed and can be extremely painful. Treatments of ulcers mostly require antibiotics and strong topical creams and take a very long time to heal.
Scales are generally formed as a reaction to certain fungal infections and psoriasis. It is characterized by a collection of dead cells that accumulate on the skin surface and peel off.
This generally appears as a part of a natural healing process of any skin condition. It appears as a dried buildup of pus, blood or fluid on the skin that eventually sheds off.
Lichenification mainly occurs due to eczema or other skin disorders that lead to excessive itching. At times it may appear as thick and flaky; other times it may look shiny and pus-filled.
This skin condition, while not life-threatening, can be rather painful. Treating lichenification involves steroids, topical creams and, in severe cases, sedatives.
Like most secondary lesions, atrophy is caused by excessive scratching, infection or use of strong corticosteroid medications. It mostly occurs in aged people and is distinguished by a thin and wrinkled skin.
Most skin lesions are non-malignant and correct diagnosis is obviously the first step towards treatment. Once a particular skin lesion is identified, your dermatologist would chart out the correct treatment. Hence, if you notice any abnormal changes on your skin, be sure to consult your doctor for quick relief.