Flesh-Colored Bumps on the Skin

dermatologist examining senior woman's skin
A dermatologist is looking at a womans hand. (Image: michaeljung/iStock/Getty Images)

Flesh-colored bumps are a common skin complaint. Depending on their location on the body, they can be unsightly, irritating or even painful, but most are harmless. Some of the more common types are moles, keratoses, keratoacanthomas and lipomas. The causes are as varied as the types and are often unknown.

Mole

Moles, also known as nevi, range from pink to dark brown in color. They are typically harmless, but can become cancerous. If you have moles, become familiar with their typical appearance so you can recognize any changes that might occur. A mole that changes in appearance, has irregular borders, bleeds, itches or has multiple colors within it should be evaluated by a doctor.

Seborrheic Keratosis

This skin growth is common among older adults. It typically appears as a black, brown or tan growth on the trunk, face, scalp or arms. Seborrheic keratoses are usually benign, but may need to be removed for cosmetic reasons or if there is irritation. However, if you have a sudden increase in the number of keratoses, you should be checked by your doctor.

Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis pilaris is a common and harmless buildup of a skin protein known as keratin, which forms a hard plug within a hair follicle. Each bump is about the size of a grain of sand. There may be a slight pinkness around some bumps, and on the face, they may be mistaken for acne. The skin where the bumps occur may feel rough and dry. If the bumps do not resolve with over-the-counter lotions or they are irritating to you, consult a doctor.

Keratoacanthomas

Keratoacanthomas are round, skin-colored bumps found on the skin. They typically have sharp sloping borders and a darker crater. The exact cause is not yet known, but they typically appear on areas of the body commonly exposed to sun. Keratoacanthomas usually disappear over time, but because experts believe them to be a type of squamous cell carcinoma, it is wise to consult a doctor.

Lipoma

A lipoma is a lump that grows beneath the skin, most often on the trunk, shoulders, back of neck or armpits. Lipomas are easy to identify. If pressed with a finger, they are soft in texture and move freely under the skin. Lipomas are usually benign and painless, but can be painful in areas where they compress nerves. If you have a lipoma that grows rapidly or is located deep in the thigh, consult a doctor to rule out a cancerous growth.

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