What causes skin lesions and how should I treat them?

Symptom Database

Have you ever noticed unusual growths or abnormalities on your skin? These skin lesions can be concerning, but understanding their causes and knowing how to treat them can help put your mind at ease. In this article, we will explore the different types of skin lesions, their diagnosis, and the most effective treatment options.

Understanding Skin Lesions

Skin lesions, also known as dermatological lesions, are abnormal growths or changes in the skin’s appearance. They can vary in size, shape, color, and texture. Skin lesions can be caused by a wide range of factors, including infections, injuries, allergies, and underlying medical conditions.

Types of Skin Lesions

There are several common types of skin lesions that you may encounter:

  • Acne: A common skin condition characterized by pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads.
  • Warts: Caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), warts are small, rough growths on the skin.
  • Moles: Usually brown or black in color, moles are benign skin growths that can appear anywhere on the body.
  • Psoriasis: A chronic autoimmune condition that causes red, scaly patches on the skin.
  • Eczema: A condition that leads to dry, itchy, and inflamed skin.
  • Skin tags: Small, soft, flesh-colored growths that often appear in areas where the skin rubs against itself.

Diagnosing Skin Lesions

When you notice a skin lesion, it is important to seek medical advice for an accurate diagnosis. A dermatologist will examine the lesion and may perform additional tests, such as a biopsy, to determine its cause. Proper diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment.

Treating Skin Lesions

The treatment of skin lesions depends on their underlying cause. Here are some common treatment options:

  • Topical Medications: Creams, ointments, or lotions containing corticosteroids, antibiotics, or antifungal agents may be prescribed to treat various skin conditions.
  • Cryotherapy: This involves freezing the lesion with liquid nitrogen to destroy abnormal cells.
  • Electrosurgery: The lesion is removed using an electric current.
  • Excision: Surgical removal of the lesion is performed under local anesthesia.
  • Laser Therapy: High-intensity laser beams are used to remove or reduce the appearance of certain skin lesions.

It is important to note that not all skin lesions require treatment. Some may be harmless and not cause any discomfort or health risks. However, if a skin lesion is causing pain, itching, bleeding, or changes in size, shape, or color, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist for evaluation and appropriate treatment.

Preventing Skin Lesions

While not all skin lesions can be prevented, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk:

  • Protect your skin from excessive sun exposure by wearing sunscreen and protective clothing.
  • Avoid picking or scratching at your skin, as this can lead to infections and the formation of new lesions.
  • Maintain good hygiene practices to reduce the risk of infections.
  • Moisturize your skin regularly to prevent dryness and irritation.
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and regular exercise, to support overall skin health.

By following these preventive measures, you can reduce the likelihood of developing certain types of skin lesions.


Skin lesions can be a cause for concern, but with proper understanding and timely treatment, most can be effectively managed. If you notice any unusual growths or changes in your skin, it is important to consult a dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Remember to take preventive measures to minimize your risk of developing skin lesions. Your skin health is important, so don’t hesitate to seek professional help when needed.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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