The Key to Understanding the Different Types of Benign Skin Growth

Skin growths can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous) in nature. Malignant skin growths are different from benign tumors as they are mostly uncontrolled and invasive. Malignant tumors causes damage to cell tissues unlike benign skin growths that are harmless.

Cosmetic issues are often what you get from benign skin growths. While they do not pose any risk to your health and well-being, their unsightly appearances could compromise your beauty.


Skin blemishes such as this could make you lose your self-confidence. It could affects your self-esteem, and impact your social life negatively.  Nobody likes being the center of attention except for the right reasons. Unfortunately, skin growth in areas that are publicly visible does just that. They draw unwanted attention to you.

Having to deal with the stigma of skin tumors can put a dent in your happiness, your vibrant social and professional life. Such experience could make you spiral down fast into a world of agony.


Why You Need To Understand The Common Type Of Skin Growths We Have

Understanding the common type of benign skin growths can help you in various ways.


  • It helps you in making the proper diagnosis for any skin growth you might have. This will inform and help you decide the right treatment for the type of skin growth you have. You really can’t hit what you can’t see, can you?


  • Fast results. When you know what you’re up against, it’s easier to deal with it rather than shooting in the dark and hoping one sticks. Such method will not only take away your precious time but also cost you more money in the long term.


  • Peace of mind. Knowing what you’re up against does helps you make the right decision when it comes to the kind of treatment to use. It also help eliminates fear associated with the “unknown” or ignorance.


Now let’s dive in!


The Most Common Types Of Benign Skin Growth

There are various skin growths, some more common than the others. Here are 10 common types of benign skin tumors.

  • Skin tags
  • Warts
  • Moles
  • Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra
  • Freckles
  • Liver spots
  • Cherry Angioma
  • Lipoma
  • Milium Cysts
  • Epidermal Inclusion Cyst

Skin Tags (or acrochorda)

According to Hopkins medicine, skin tags are soft, small, flesh-colored skin flaps on areas on our body where friction occurs the most – the neck, armpits, eyelids or groin. You can expect it to show up on any area of your body. Areas with skin folds are more susceptible to this condition.


As skin tags falls under benign skin growths, it poses no harm to your health. Although, they can affect your wellbeing as they are unattractive and ugly. Generally, they are painless, but if irritated, e.g., by brushing against pieces of jewelry or clothing, they might hurt and cause you pain.


Treating skin tags are easy. Cryotherapy, cauterization, and ligation are the most common methods to remove them from your body. A visit to the doctor will help remove them quickly. You’ll also find various effective and safe OTC products that employ any of the methods mentioned above to get rid of your skin tags.  It’s also important to note that skin tags are not contagious.



Webmd describes warts as small, noncancerous growths that appear on your skin due to the infection of any of the human papillomavirus (HPV) family. There are flesh-colored skin growths.   Like skin tags and other skin growths, they can grow on any part of the body, but you’d likely to see them on your hands and feet. The HPV triggers an extra cell growth, which makes the outer layer of the affected skin area thick and hard.


Warts are highly contagious, unlike skin tags. Anything from direct skin contact, picking at your warts with your nails and touching another part of your body with the same nails can cause infections. Sharing anything that might be exposed to warts with others is a no-no as the possibility of infecting others is high.


Warts are of different types and knowing which one you’re suffering from can help in treating it ASAP. Types include common warts which appear mostly on the hand; Plantar warts which occur on the soles of the feet; Flat warts which are broad and flat. They appear on the face, the back of the hands and legs. Others include filiform warts, and genital warts.


Treating warts as soon as it appears is highly recommended as leaving it untreated could lead to the formation of bigger warts or the appearance of new warts on other places in your body. Moreover, they can be embarrassing if the tumors are located in areas where they are publicly visible. Cosmetic issues apart, they can be quite painful too when irritated.


Cauterization, and cryotherapy, use of chemical peels (with salicylic or glycolic acid) are some of the popular methods for removing warts on your skin.



Also known as Nevi, moles are benign growths, usually caused by pigment-producing cells in the skin. They can be flat or raised, smooth or rough. Tiny little hairs might also grow from them. Moles are mostly dark-brown, blue or black, while some are yellowish in nature.


Factors that contribute to the development of moles on the skin includes, genetics, age, and mostly environmental factors (such as exposure to sun), etc. Moles (Nevi), like every other benign growths, can form anywhere on the body. It’s harmless and non-contagious. Moles also change over time.


Recognizing moles is quite easy due to their typical appearance, which is symmetric and round or oval with regular borders. When discovered, it is paramount to treat it quickly as they may develop into malignant melanoma (which is rare though). Prevention is and would always be better than cure. So next time you discover moles on your skin, you need not to fret as most moles are benign.


Seborrheic Keratosis

A benign skin growth, mostly common to middle-aged and older people within the range of 50 and above. They are skin-colored, brown or black warty spots that can appear on any area of the skin. While the cause of Seborrheic Keratosis is unknown, several studies have shown that hereditary plays a role.

The surface of the Seborrheic Keratosis are mostly warty, waxy, velvety, crusted or scaly in nature and appears to be stuck on the skin. They are non-malignant (non-cancerous) and do not become cancerous in the future. This means you can keep calm as there’s no cause for alarm. Unless you’re greatly affected by its presence, it requires no treatment.

Of course, if you deem it a hindrance to your beauty or it causes your skin to be irritated, inflamed or feel pruritic, a visit to the doctor can help you get rid of them safely.

Seborrheic Keratosis may have a round or oval shape with various sizes depending on its location.

They can be removed by cryotherapy or with the help of electrodessication and curettage of the affected area.

While it might be tempting to pick at the surface of a Seborrheic Keratosis, avoid it at all costs as it can lead to bleeding. It could also lead to infections.


Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra (DPN)

Dark skin colored individuals are more prone to develop this skin growth condition. As a result, It is mostly found amongst blacks. DPN is also found among Asians. Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra appears as small, dark bumps or dots, usually on the face and the neck.

They may also appear on your chest or back. Histologically, they’re similar to Seborrheic Keratosis and skin tags (acrochordons). DPN is mostly round, smooth and flat in shape. They have a typical size of 1 – 5 millimeters.

Studies show that this skin growth condition affects more women than men by a 2-to-1 ratio.

While this skin growth condition is harmless with no risk whatsoever to your health, it could be undesirable cosmetically to some individuals with the condition. Unlike some benign skin growth that tends to diminish or disappear as you grow older; the Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra is more likely to increase in number and size.

Curettage and cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen are some of the best-proven methods to rid yourself of Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra.


Cherry Angioma

A skin growth condition that is common in Adults. As the name (cherry) suggests, they appear as cherry red papules (circular or oval in shape) on the skin as a result of raised, blood vessel growths.

Similar to other benign skin growths, they tend to pop up anywhere. However, they’d often appear on the arms, shoulders, torso, and legs. Individuals who have this growth has no symptoms of illness whatsoever and ain’t at risk to your health.

While research is still ongoing to determine the main cause of this skin growth, a study has shown that a link exists between the skin growth (cherry angiomas) and age. The older you become, the higher your chances of developing this skin growth or of it multiplying and increasing in sizes as you age older.

Electrocauterization, cryosurgery, laser surgery and shave excision are some of the methods used in getting rid of Cherry Angioma

Regardless of any methods you intend to use, it is paramount to ensue you picking at the skin growth or scab to avoid bleeding.



Lipomas are skin growths that form a round or oval lump, caused by the deposit of fatty acid growing under the skin. Women are more prone and have a higher tendency to have lipomas than men. You will find this growth located majorly on the forearms, torso, and neck.


They also share a similarity with majority of the skin growths listed so far as there’s no known cause for their appearance. Although, they tend to run in the family. They are non-malignant and can’t develop to one. However, with respect to time, they tend to increase and multiply in sizes, which might become a cosmetic problem. Most lipomas are painless except for large ones (about 2 inches) which can cause nerve pain.

As with other skin tumors, there is no cause for alarm as it is non-life threatening. There’s usually no need for treatment except it stands to interfere with your looks. Finding it difficult to put on your cloth as they do no longer fit might be a good reason to seek treatment.

Liposuction and steroids injection are two popular ways to treat lipomas.


Milium Cysts

Small white (or yellow) dome-shaped bumps that tend to appear on the nose, eyelids, and cheeks and even on the genitalia.

This type of skin growth occurs when keratin, a natural protein found in our bodies, becomes trapped beneath the skin surface.

Nobody is immune to this condition as it can happen to anyone, though; it is more prevalent in sun-damaged skin individuals.


They’re commonly found in conjunction with other skin conditions, such as rosacea and dandruff. Clogging of skin can also lead to the formation of milia.

Milia is easily irritated by rough clothing and can cause you pain. New babies and young children seem to be the majority affected the most by this skin growth condition with the minorities being adults.


Types of milia include Neonatal milia, primary milia, milia en plaque, multiple eruptive milia, and traumatic milia.


For infant milia, they clear up and mostly go away themselves within a few weeks of their appearance.  Any of the following treatments or a combination of it can be used – cryotherapy, deroofing, diathermy, destruction curettage, laser ablation, topical retinoid, and chemical peels.


Epidermal Inclusion Cyst

Epidermal cysts are small, slow-growing cysts or lumps that develop under the skin and are usually found on the face, neck or back. Although they can appear anywhere.


Their size typically ranges from 0.5 inches to 2 inches. The lumps are free-moving and painless except when inflamed and tender.

They contain a cheesy, foul-smelling substance composed of skin secretions. Except when they burst under the skin and become inflamed or infected, they are quite painless and no treatment.

Treatment includes drainage and use of antibiotics.


Freckles (Ephelides)

When the skin is overly exposed to the sun, several small tan or brown patch/spots start to appear on those areas. These spots are known as freckles. They pose no harm to your health.


They show up mostly on the part exposed to the sun such as your face, hands and upper body. People with lighter skin tones and hair tone tends to suffer the most from this condition.


While they look a bit like a mole, they are not the same as freckles are formed as a result of abnormally concentrated clusters of melanin. On the other hand, moles are composed of active melanocyte cells that have grown in clusters as opposed to spreading evenly throughout the skin. In most cases, freckles fade over time and require no intervention from you except to avoid exposing your skin to the sun.

The use of acid and chemical peels can also help treat and get rid of freckles.


Liver Spots

Also known by the name – age spot and solar lentigines, they are mainly caused by overactive pigment cells. When your skin is frequently exposed to the sun for several years, liver spots start to appear on your skin. It is commonly found in older people with age over 50.

Not to be confused with freckles which are usually smaller (1 to 2 millimeters) than liver spots (2 mm+), freckles mostly fade with age and mostly appear around the summertime compared to liver spots, which don’t fade and do not change with the season.

You can totally prevent your skin from having liver spots if you take measures to protect yourself from the sun e.g. use of sunscreen, avoiding the sun during peak hours and wearing long, protective clothing.

As you can see, benign skin growths are more common than you think. So, there’s no need to be alarmed when you start seeing one.


Leave a Comment