Skin Lesions

A skin lesion is an abnormal lump, bump, ulcer, sore or colored area on the skin. Common skin lesions include moles and actinic keratosis, among others.

What you need to know

Most skin lesions are benign though some, such as actinic keratosis and certain moles, can be a pre-cursor to a skin cancer or already a skin cancer. This can be determined, on many occasions, by an ASDS member dermatologist.

  • Moles: Moles are small skin marks caused by pigment producing cells in the skin. They can be flat or raised, smooth or rough, and some contain hair. They may occur anywhere on the body. Most are dark brown or black, but some are flesh-colored, red or yellow. They can change in appearance over time. Some can develop into cancer. Benign moles are generally smaller than the size of a pencil eraser.
  • Actinic keratosis: Actinic keratosis occurs when the skin has sustained too much sun exposure and damage, they appear as crusty bumps. Actinic keratosis may be flesh-colored, brown, pink or red. Affected areas my be inflamed, itch or bleed. Actinic keratosis can develop into skin cancer. For that reason, most dermatologists want to treat these lesions.

Do's and Don'ts

Do...
  • Consult a doctor regarding skin lesions.
  • Consult a doctor if you notice any change in your skin lesions, including increase in size, change in color, pain, bleeding, cracking or oozing.
  • Keep the skin condition clean and moisturized.
  • Avoid over-exposure to the sun, especially with actinic keratosis.
Don't...
  • Pick at skin lesions to prevent infecting the area and worsening the condition.
  • Ignore suspected actinic keratosis. The condition can develop into skin cancer.

Skin lesion questions to ask a dermatologic surgeon

Skin Lesions Questionaire

  1. Which skin lesion procedure is the correct one for me? (What are the options?
  2. What is the estimated cost of the procedure?
  3. How long is one appointment?
  4. How often will I need to receive treatment to remove my skin lesions?
  5. How far apart are the treatments?
  6. What are the common side effects or complications associated with the procedure?
  7. How can I prepare for the treatment/procedure?
  8. Does skin lesion removal hurt?
  9. What are my pain management and anesthesia options?
  10. How long is the recovery time associated with my procedure?
  11. Do you have before and after patient images to help prepare me for what to expect?
  12. Will someone walk me through the process before going in for treatment?
  13. What are the risks?
  14. What should I expect after the procedure is performed? (i.e. short-term and long-term effects; activity restrictions; expected recovery period)

General questions to ask before skin lesion procedures

  1. Is a doctor on site?
  2. Is the doctor board-certified in dermatology in another specialty with equivalent training and experience?
  3. Was my medical history taken?
  4. Was I given an initial evaluation to determine if the technique or procedure is appropriate for my skin type?
  5. Did the doctor show me before-and-after photos?