Skin Lesions: What Are They, Types, Causes and Treatment Options

Skin Lesions: What Are They, Types, Causes and Treatment Options

A skin lesion is any growth anomaly or alteration on the skin’s surface. It may result from a number of factors, such as infections, inflammation, trauma, or underlying medical disorders, and they can differ greatly in appearance, size, and texture.

Various factors can influence the growth of skin lesions, including exposure to UV radiation, genetics, age, immunodeficiency, and environmental factors like pollution and chemicals. Skin lesions need to be correctly diagnosed and treated to address the causes and prevent any possible adverse reactions. 

What are Skin Lesions?

Skin lesions are symptoms or modifications to the texture, colour, or appearance of the skin. On the skin’s surface, they may appear as growths, sores, bumps, or marks. The size, form, and severity of skin lesions can vary greatly, and several different things, including infections, wounds, allergic reactions, or other health issues, can cause them. 

The proper diagnosis and treatment depend on an understanding of the types of skin lesions and their possible causes.

Types of Skin Lesions

It is essential to understand the different types of skin lesions to diagnose and treat them properly. Here are some common types:

Non-Melanoma Skin Lesions

Non-melanoma skin lesions include basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). These are the most prevalent kinds of skin cancer. These usually result from extended sun or tanning bed exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. 

Basal cell carcinoma generally appears as a pearly or slippery bump on the skin, and it usually affects sun-exposed regions of the body, such as the neck and face. It rarely spreads, but if treatment is not received, it can result in scarring.

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma

A particular type of skin cancer known as basal cell carcinoma (BCC) develops from the basal cells in the skin’s outermost layer. This type of skin cancer usually appears as a pinkish patch of skin or a flesh-coloured, pearl-like bump. It might sometimes resemble a scar-like region or an open sore that never heals. 

BCC rarely spreads to other body parts and grows very slowly. The sun’s UV rays or artificial sources, like tanning beds, are the leading causes of basal cell carcinoma (BCC).

  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cells, flat cells found in the skin’s outermost layer, are the source of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), a type of skin cancer. With about 20% of cases, it is the second most prevalent type of skin cancer. SCC usually appears on sun-exposed parts of the body like the face, ears, neck, arms, and hands.

SCC often appears as a flat lesion with a crusty or scaly surface or as a firm, red nodule. It could also show up as a rough spot on the skin or a sore that won’t go away.

Melanoma Skin Lesions

Melanoma is a grave manifestation of skin cancer that originates from melanocytes, skin cells that produce pigment. While less prevalent than other skin cancers like squamous and basal cell carcinoma, melanoma is considered the most dangerous due to its tendency to spread rapidly to other body parts.

Melanoma can develop from already present moles or show up as newly pigmented skin lesions. These lesions often have asymmetrical shapes, uneven borders, and a range of colours, including red, blue, black, and brown. Furthermore, melanomas can differ from benign moles in terms of size, shape, and colour over time.

Benign Skin Lesions

Benign skin lesions are abnormalities or non-cancerous growths that appear on the skin’s outer layer. They are usually non-cancerous; they do not spread or pose a threat to health, in contrast to malignant lesions, which have the potential to spread and cause harm. These lesions can arise for a number of reasons and differ in size, shape, colour, and texture.

Dermatofibromas are a common type of benign skin lesion that typically appears as a small, firm nodule on the legs. They can be pinkish or reddish-brown and are normally painless. Minor skin irritations or traumas are believed to cause dermatofibromas to grow.

Now that we’ve understood the types of lesions, it’s time to look into their causes.

Causes of Skin Lesions

Skin lesions can result from a number of conditions, from benign ones to major medical issues. Here are some common causes of skin lesions:

Infections

Skin lesions can result from bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic infections, etc. Lesions may develop as a result of these infections’ direct contact with the skin or their entry through breaches in the skin barrier.

Inflammatory Conditions

Skin problems like eczema and dermatitis are often linked to inflammatory skin conditions where the immune system overreacts to something. This causes inflammation and damage to the skin’s tissue, which can lead to lesions. Eczema is a common type of inflammatory skin disease that causes red, itchy, and dry patches on the skin.

Allergic Reactions

Allergies to foods, medicines, and environmental factors can cause skin lesions. When the skin is brought into contact with allergens like nickel or poison ivy, it may react with blistering or develop red, itchy rashes, causing a condition known as allergic contact dermatitis.

Trauma

Physical trauma, such as cuts, burns, abrasions, or insect bites, can also cause skin lesions. When the body senses damage to the skin, it starts a healing process that could result in the growth of new tissue, scars, or scabs.

Genetic Factors

Some people are more sensitive to certain conditions because of inherited traits and genetic predispositions, which may contribute to the development of specific skin lesions. 

For example, skin pigmentation changes and the development of lesions with a bronze colour can result from familial hemochromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes excessive iron absorption.

Hormonal Changes

The emergence of skin lesions can also be influenced by changes in hormones, especially during adolescence, pregnancy, menstruation, or menopause. Hormone fluctuations can impact the oil production of the skin, resulting in disorders such as acne vulgaris, which is classified by the development of papules, pustules, and cysts on the face, chest, or back.

Autoimmune Disorders

The immune system sometimes mistakenly targets healthy tissues as a result of autoimmune diseases, causing inflammation and tissue damage in many body areas, including the skin. 

Autoimmune diseases such as lupus erythematosus, which can impact several organs, often cause distinctive skin lesions, such as discoid lesions, photosensitivity, and butterfly-shaped rashes on the face.

Environmental Factors

Exposure to environmental elements such as the sun’s UV radiation, pollution, chemicals, and bad weather can result in skin damage and lesion development. 

Excessive UV exposure can cause sunburn, which is characterised by redness, pain, and skin peeling. On the other hand, constant sun exposure can cause photoaging, which is marked by wrinkles, age spots, and inconsistent pigmentation.

Neoplastic Conditions

Neoplastic skin lesions result from abnormal cell growth and can be either non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). The most common forms of benign skin tumours that may not be seriously harmful to health but can be unsightly are moles, seborrheic keratosis, and dermatofibromas.

Now that we know what causes these unpleasant lesions let’s talk about what you can do to get rid of them.

Treatment of Skin Lesions

Skin lesions are treated differently based on the kind, size, location, and severity of the lesion, as well as the patient’s preferences and general health. Here are a few typical methods for treatment:

Cryotherapy

In cryotherapy, abnormal cells are destroyed, and the formation of new, healthy skin is encouraged by freezing the skin lesion with liquid nitrogen. This procedure is frequently used to treat benign lesions like warts, skin tags, and active keratoses (precancerous lesions).

Excision

Excision is a surgical procedure performed under local anaesthesia to remove the skin lesion and surrounding tissue. This technique frequently removes both benign and some forms of cancerous lesions, such as squamous and basal cell carcinomas.

Mohs Surgery

A specialised surgical method called Mohs surgery removes skin cancer while keeping the majority of healthy tissue intact. Mohs surgery involves the extraction of thin layers of tissue and examining it under a microscope until all cancerous cells are gone. This method works incredibly well when treating skin cancers that have a high rate of recurrence or those situated in sensitive cosmetic areas.

Laser Therapy

In laser therapy, abnormal skin cells are targeted and destroyed with concentrated light beams. This procedure can treat numerous skin lesions, such as vascular lesions (like port wine stains), pigmented lesions (like age spots or tattoos), and specific kinds of precancerous and malignant lesions.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy employs intense radiation to destroy cancer cells and reduce tumour size. For some forms of skin cancer, such as squamous and basal cell carcinomas, it might be suggested as a follow-up treatment after the lesion has been surgically removed.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy harnesses the body’s immune system to target and destroy cancer cells. It can be used as a supplementary therapy to help prevent the cancer from recurring after surgery or as a systemic treatment for advanced or metastatic skin cancers, such as melanoma.

Chemotherapy

Drugs are used in chemotherapy to either kill or stop the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy is a less common treatment for skin cancer than other forms of care. Still, it may be suggested for advanced or metastatic skin cancers that are not responding to other measures.

Photodynamic Therapy

As part of photodynamic therapy (PDT), a photosensitising agent is applied to the skin, and then the skin is exposed to a particular wavelength of light. It turns on the photosensitiser, which then starts to kill cancer cells and aberrant tissue. PDT can be used to treat precancerous lesions, non-cancerous conditions like breakouts and acne, and some forms of skin cancer.

Medications

Topical medications may be prescribed for particular types of skin lesions to help relieve symptoms or heal them. Antibiotics for infection treatment, corticosteroids for inflammation reduction, and antifungal drugs for fungal infections are a few examples of these drugs.

Conclusion

In conclusion, skin lesions include a variety of abnormalities, ranging from benign growths to severe cancers. Proper care and early detection are essential. If you have skin lesions, Beacon Medical is an excellent choice. 

Our experienced dermatologists specialise in diagnosing and treating a wide range of skin conditions, ensuring personalised care and effective solutions customised to suit your needs. Schedule an appointment today to take the first step towards healthier skin and peace of mind.

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