Moles are common for most people, and the lighter the skin tone the more prevalent moles usually are. Unless a mole is changing or showing concerning signs like itching or bleeding most moles do not require treatment. The main reason moles are removed are they are bothersome (rubs against clothing, etc.), unattractive to a patient, or are suspicious (could be skin cancer).

Cysts area benign, round, dome-shaped lesions that contain fluid like material. Depending on the type of cyst is can firm or soft and often distends the overlying skin. Cysts are fairly common, affected about 20% of adults, while being more prevalent in males than females. Most cysts do not need to be treated unless they become symptomatic or inflamed. Inflamed cysts are sometimes treated with incision and drainage, intralesional injection, oral antibiotics or excision biopsy.

Other benign skin growths include:

  • Dermatofibromas – Small, firm, red or brown bumps caused by an accumulation of fibroblasts (soft tissue cells under the skin). They often occur on the legs and may itch.
  • Freckles – Darkened, flat spots that typically appear only on sun-exposed areas of the skin. Freckles are common in people with blond or red hair.
  • Keloids – Smooth, firm, raised, fibrous benign skin growths on the skin that form in wound sites. Keloids are more common in African-Americans.
  • Lipomas – Round or oval lumps under the skin caused by fatty deposits. Lipomas are more common in women and tend to appear on the forearms, torso and back of the neck.
  • Seborrheic keratoses – Flesh-colored, brown or black wart-like spots. More common in middle-aged and older people, seborrheic keratoses may be round or oval and look like they are “stuck” on the skin.
  • Skin tags – Soft, small, flesh-colored skin flaps on the neck, armpits or groin.