What are pigmented lesions?
These skin spots and growths are caused by melanocyte cells in the skin. Melanocytes are the cells that produce melanin, the substance that gives color (pigment) to the skin. A skin lesion is any change in the normal character of your skin. A skin lesion may occur on any part of your body and cover a tiny or large area. Skin lesions can be singular or multiple, confined to one specific area of your body or spread out widely. Skin lesions include rash, cysts, pus-filled sacs, blisters, swelling, discolorations, bumps, hardening, or any other change in or on your skin. Skin lesions may result from a wide range of causes, as harmless as a small scrape or as serious as skin cancer. Skin cancer and precancerous changes in the skin are more serious causes of skin lesions. These lesions are commonly shown on the areas of your body that have been exposed to sun, including your face, arms, and hands.
There are many common causes of skin lesions. For example, injury can cause a bruise, scrape or cut. Teenagers may have skin lesions from acne, while aging may bring freckles, moles, and discoloration. A number of infectious diseases cause rashes, and allergic reactions may be accompanied by itchy hives or rashes. Skin changes can also occur with chronic conditions, such as diabetes or autoimmune disorders. Skin lesions, such as boils (painful, pus filled bumps) and carbuncles (cluster of boils), may also be caused by local infections of the skin or hair follicles.
Because skin lesions can arise from numerous conditions, which may be harmless or serious, contact your health care provider if you have a new skin lesion that causes you concern or lasts for more than a day or two, or if your child has a skin lesion.
How does it happen?
Pigmented lesions are caused by a proliferation of melanocytes in the skin. Melanocytes are the cells that manufacture melanin, which is the dark pigment in skin. Most of us have some form of pigmented lesion. They include brown age spots (lentigines), freckles (ephileds), and moles (nevi). The most common causes of skin lesions are injury, aging, infectious diseases, allergies, and small infections of the skin or hair follicles. Chronic diseases such as diabetes or autoimmune disorders can cause skin lesions. Skin cancer or precancerous changes also appear as skin lesions.
Changes in the appearance of the skin can result from common conditions such as:
- Boils and carbuncles
- Nevi (moles) and other benign skin growths
- Skin tags
Injury-related causes of Skin Lesions:
- Burns, including sunburn
- Excessive exposure to sun or wind
- Extreme cold
- Cuts or scrapes
- Insect bites or stings
- Keloid (exuberant scar formation)
Age-related causes of Skin Lesions:
- Age spots (often called liver spots, harmless discolorations that appear with advancing age)
- Easy bruising
- Fragile skin
- Xerosis (dry skin)
Illness-related causes of Skin Lesions:
- Bacterial infection, such as scarlet fever, or meningococcal meningitis, a serious condition caused by group A Streptococcus, can cause a skin rash
- Systemic illness, such as diabetes, can lead to changes in skin color or texture, as well as sores and other lesions due to poor wound healing and poor circulation
- Viral infection, such as varicella-zoster, can cause skin lesions at many stages of life (chickenpox in children and shingles in adults)
Allergy-related causes of Skin Lesions:
- Allergies to medications
- Contact dermatitis such as a reaction to nickel in jewelry
- Food Allergies
Serious or life-threatening causes of Skin Lesions:
- Serious allergy can result in hives or a rash and may be associated with anaphalaxis and swelling of the mouth or throat
- Skin cancers and precancerous changes are a cause of skin lesions
- Infections that may spread throughout the body are often marked by swollen and reddened skin along the lines of veins in a leg or arm
How do I know when it needs to be checked by a dermatologist?
Moles that appear to trail off into the skin without a distinct edge should be examined by a dermatologist. Color – If a single mole contains more than two colors—including different shades of brown, black, blue, or pink—it may need to be evaluated. A mole that is evolving – shrinking, growing larger, changing color, begins to itch or bleed, should be checked. If a portion of the mole appears newly elevated, or raised from the skin, have it looked at by a doctor. Melanoma lesions often grow in size or change in height rapidly.
What pigmented lesions can be removed with laser?
These skin resurfacing lasers (Er:YAG and CO2) can be employed for removing superficial pigmented lesions like lentigo simplex (flat blotchy mole), solar lentigo (liver spots) , seborrheic keratoses (tanned wart), and dermatosis papulosa nigra (small dark bumps, mostly on African Ameicans and Asian descents). Laser Pigmentation Removal is a procedure that uses a laser to remove pigmentation and redness and is also known as laser skin rejuvenation. This is one of the most advanced treatments for removing unwanted pigmentation on the skin such as age spots, sunspots, Hyperpigmentation, flat pigmented birthmarks, and freckles.
If you feel this procedure is right for you, book a consultation now to see how we can help.