Skin conditions: Cysts, lumps and bumps
There are a number of conditions that cause lumps and bumps to appear on the
surface of the skin or just below the skin. The most common include the
- Skin cysts
- Cherry angioma
- Epidermoid cysts
- Keratosis pilaris
Cysts are non- cancerous, closed pockets of tissue that can be filled with
fluid, pus, or other material.
They can appear anywhere and feel like small peas under the surface of the
skin. Cysts can develop as a result of infection, clogging of sebaceous glands
(oil glands), or around foreign bodies, such as earrings.
What are the symptoms of skin cysts?
Skin cysts usually are:
- Smooth to the touch when they are rolled under the skin
How are skin cysts treated?
Cysts usually do not cause pain unless they rupture or become infected or
inflamed. Some cysts disappear on their own without treatment. Others may need
to be drained. This involves piercing the cyst with a sharp object and draining
it. Some inflamed cysts can be treated with an injection of cortisone
medication to cause it to shrink. Cysts that do not respond to other treatments
or reoccur can be removed surgically.
A cherry angioma is a smooth, cherry-red bump on the skin that usually
appears on the trunk of the body, although they can occur nearly anywhere. The
cause of cherry angiomas is not known and the growths usually appear on people
over the age of 40.
What are the symptoms of cherry angiomas?
Cherry angiomas are small, bright red growths that are smooth. The size of
the growths can vary from the size of a pinhead to about a quarter of
an inch in diameter.
How is a cherry angioma treated?
In most cases, cherry angiomas do not require treatment. If they are
cosmetically unappealing or subject to bleeding, they may be removed by lasers
or electrocautery - the process of burning or destroying tissue by electric
current. Removal may cause scarring.
Dermatofibromas are harmless, round, red-brownish growths that are most
commonly found on the arms and legs. Dermatofibromas contain scar tissue and
feel like hard lumps in the skin.
The cause of dermatofibromas is not known.
What are the symptoms of dermatofibromas?
The symptoms of dermatofibromas include:
- A red, brown or purple growth that can change colours over time
- A growth that is as small as a pellet
- Tenderness, pain and itching; however, growths also can be painless
- A dimple that appears when the growth is pinched
How is dermatofibromas treated?
In most cases, there is no need to treat dermatofibromas. However, the
growths can be removed surgically or can be flattened by being frozen with
Epidermoid cysts, also called sebaceous cysts, are benign (non-cancerous)
skin cysts formed from blocked oil glands in the skin. Most commonly,
epidermoid cysts are found on the genitals, torso and back; but can occur