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Most skin changes are normal and occur with aging. Some common skin growths include:
Most moles are harmless. They may change over time. They can gradually get bigger, develop a hair, become more raised, get lighter in colour, fade away, or fall off.
These are harmless growths that appear in the skin folds on the neck, under the arms, under the breasts, or in the groin. They start as small fleshy brown spots and may grow a small stalk.
These skin growths are almost always harmless. They are found most often on the chest or back. Sometimes they're on the scalp, face, or neck. They start as slightly raised tan spots that form a crusty appearance like a wart.
Birthmarks are coloured marks on the skin that are there at birth or appear shortly after birth. Most birthmarks are harmless and don't need treatment. Many birthmarks change, grow, shrink, or disappear.
Treatment of a skin change depends on what's causing the skin change and what other symptoms you have. Moles, skin tags, and other growths can be removed if they get irritated, bleed, or bother you.
Causes of skin changes may include:
Acne is a common skin change that occurs during the teen years and may last into adulthood.
Melasma is a skin change in which a person develops patches of skin that are darker than the nearby skin. It can be caused by many things, including hormone changes during pregnancy or menopause.
Actinic keratosis and actinic lentigines are types of coloured skin spots that are caused by too much sun exposure.
You may have an allergic reaction to a medicine that causes a skin change. Or you may get a skin reaction when you are out in the sun while you are taking a medicine. (This is called photosensitivity.) Rashes, hives, and itching may occur.
Bacterial skin infections, such as impetigo and cellulitis.
Fungal infections, such as ringworm, athlete's foot, and vaginal yeast infections.
Viral infections, such as chickenpox, shingles, and fifth disease.
Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and scleroderma.
Hepatitis, which may cause your skin and the whites of your eyes to turn yellow (jaundice).
Lyme disease, which causes reactions from a tick bite.
Skin cancer, which may start as a new skin growth, a change in a growth or mole, or a sore that doesn't heal.
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Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind of care you may need. These include:
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be able to take care of this problem at home.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include:
Skin changes are a common side effect of many prescription and non-prescription medicines. Common side effects include:
A new yellow tint to the skin can be a symptom of jaundice. Jaundice occurs when levels of a substance called bilirubin build up in the blood and skin. It may be caused by a problem with the liver or the blood.
With jaundice, the whites of the eyes also may look yellow, and stools may be light-coloured or whitish.
Symptoms of infection may include:
Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system's ability to fight off infection and illness. Some examples in adults are:
A change to a mole or other skin spot can mean that the spot has:
Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The problem probably will not get better without medical care.
Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical care.
Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.
Many spots, skin growths, or moles are harmless and don't need treatment. But if you saw a doctor for your skin problem, be sure to carefully follow any instructions you were given.
If you don't have instructions from your doctor, the following steps may help.
If you are worried about how a skin change looks, try using cosmetics that are made to cover them. Or you may be able to cover the area another way, such as with clothing, a hat, a scarf, or a bandage.
Eat a variety of healthy foods like vegetables and fruits, whole grain foods, and protein foods. And drink plenty of fluids each day.
Call a doctor if any of the following occur during self-care at home:
You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared for your appointment.
Current as of: March 22, 2023
Author: Healthwise StaffClinical Review Board: William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineE. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: March 22, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
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