Medical Conditions

Benign Growths

At Northwest Skin Specialists we treat a variety of benign (not cancerous) skin growths, including:

Angiomas (hemangiomas or “red moles”) are small red bumps that are actually a collection of tiny blood vessels. They can occur anywhere on your body and are harmless, but it is important to distinguish them from skin cancer. Angiomas don’t need to be treated, but your provider can remove them with electrocautery (using an electrically heated needle) or laser, if that’s your preference.

Cysts can occur nearly anywhere on your body including your scalp. Your provider can treat small, inflamed acne cysts with dilute steroid injections. Larger cysts may require surgical drainage or excision.

Fibrous papules are tiny, firm, flesh-colored bumps that may occur around your nose. Often your provider can remove them with a shallow shave, but they do need to be evaluated since they can mimic other skin conditions.

Milia are tiny, hard, white bumps (cysts) that can develop on your face. Your provider can treat them with topical prescription retinoids, which prevent their formation and facilitate removal, or by extracting them with a tiny incision that quickly heals. This procedure can be done in our office.

Moles (nevi) are small bumps or growths that are usually brown or black. They may be removed if that’s your preference. Your provider will talk to you about the various methods for removing moles and each method’s potential for scarring.

Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a virus and is most commonly seen in children and young adults. This lesion is a tiny pink or pearly bump that may go away without treatment or may take months to years to resolve. Your provider can treat the lesions with liquid nitrogen, curettage (scraping the lesion), topical blistering agents (cantharidin), immune therapy (such as imiquimod), or a combination of therapies.

Sebaceous hyperplasia is a condition in which oil glands on your face become enlarged. Your provider can flatten them with electrocautery and can retreat them if they regrow, months or years later.

Seborrheic keratoses (also known as “SKs” or “barnacles”) have a waxy, “stuck-on” appearance and range in color from white to tan to black. SKs are harmless growths that don’t require treatment, but your provider may need to distinguish them from melanoma. If you’d prefer to have them removed, SKs may be treated with liquid nitrogen or surgically, if the lesions are larger.

Skin tags are small fleshy growths that occur around your neck, in your armpits, or on your upper thighs. If you prefer, your provider can remove them with cryotherapy (freezing) or snip excision, depending on their size.

Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are about 100 different strains of HPV, but fortunately only a few are potentially cancerous. Although warts are difficult to eradicate, your provider can treat them with cryotherapy, cantharidin (a blistering agent), electrosurgery, injectable candin (an immune stimulant), bleomycin (chemotherapy), and/or immunotherapy with a variety of topical agents.