Any localized swollen areas on or under the skin can be described as lumps and lumps. They can happen on the facial skin as well as other parts of the body. There are many causes, but people can be scared of the possibility of a cancer. Many of these can be diagnosed by simple inspection and the doctor can tell whether it is benign or potentially malignant. Some of these will resolve spontaneously, some are best left alone, while some can be simply removed or require the skills of a plastic surgeon.

Naevi are extremely common and all individuals have such blemishes on the skin. Some consult for cosmetic reasons or because they worry about their nature. Naevi are benign growth of any cells normally present in the skin. So there are a great varieties of them. An epidermal naevus is a benign growth of keratinocytes, and a melanocytic naevus is a benign growth of melanocytes, which is commonly referred to as a mole.

Melanocytic naevi can be present at birth or acquired in later life. There are different types of acquired melanocytic naevi:

Junctional naevus: the naevus cells are located at the junction between the epidermis and dermis. It is flat, appears brownish black.

Intradermal naevus: the naevus cells are located in the dermis only. They are raised and mostly flesh-coloured, although some can be pigmented.

Compound naevus: a mixture of junctional and intradermal proliferation. They are slightly raised and brownish black.

Blue naevus: it is blue in colour as the melanocytes are very deep in the dermis.

Melanocytic naevi are related to sun exposure and they are therefore much more common in fair-skinned individuals, while individuals with darker skin types might have fewer naevi because of the protective properties of melanin from sunlight exposure. They may also darken following sun exposure or during pregnancy

Melanocytic naevi are benign but can be found in association with melanoma. The true frequency of transforming into melanoma is not known. If there is any doubt about the appearance, particularly when there is a change of size, thickness, darkness etc, always consult a dermatologist who will be able to tell if there is any need for further investigation.

Those clinically benign naevi can be removed by simple excision but this is going to need suture with the result of a scar, which is cosmetically unacceptable, particularly on the face. The raised intradermal types can be dealt with by shaving using an electric cautery. Now the CO2 laser is used to remove any of these easily, leaving only a mark, which will subside in a matter of months, and no trace afterwards.

Skin tags are very common. The medical term is fibro-epithelial polyp. They typically occur around the neck, underarms, eyelids, groins and under the breasts, where the skin rubs against skin or clothing. They are benign skin growth. Each looks like a small, oval, hanging piece of skin with a narrow stalk, and can be flesh-coloured or pigmented.

They are more common in older people; after pregnancy; and in over-weight people who are more likely to have skin friction or rubbing.

Skin tags are harmless and will not turn into cancer. Occasionally they may get irritated and bleed; or snagged by clothing or jewelry and cause pain. They are just a piece of redundant skin and can be removed very easily.

Small ones can be cut off with scissors with no anesthesia. Freezing using liquid nitrogen, and burning using an electric cautery are both effective methods to remove larger ones, sometimes under a small amount of local anaesthesia.

It is also called epidermoid cysts. Cysts are non-cancerous closed pockets of tissue that can be filled with fluid, pus, or other material. It is a benign skin cyst formed from blocked sebaceous glands in the skin. Apart from the face, it is most commonly found on the trunk, back, and scalp.

A little black opening of the cyst is visible on the skin. If it is infected, it will become red and tender. When it is squeezed, a cheesy white paste material is discharged, sometimes can be quite smelly.

To remove it effectively, the whole sac of the cyst must be completely removed. If the cyst is squeezed to force out the discharge, or if part of the sac wall is left behind, the cyst will reappear later.

All warts are infection of the skin surface by the human papilloma viruses. Plane warts appear as fleshed-coloured or pigmented, very slightly raised, well-defined and flat-topped lumps.

They are particularly common on the face and hands. When they are small they are not very noticeable, but with time they will spread and become larger, and numerous of these seem to appear suddenly and can be cosmetically alarming. They can be freezed off with liquid nitrogen, burn off with an electric cautery or CO2 laser.

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