University of Iowa Health Science Relations and
Warren Piette, MD
Professor of Dermatology
First Published: June 2004
Last Revised: June 2004
Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed
Your skin has its share of bumps. Fortunately, most of these lumps are harmless or benign. Two of the most common types of skin lumps are warts and moles.
A wart is a non-cancerous skin growth caused by a viral infection in the skin. There are several types of warts: common warts can grow anywhere, but are hard to treat when on fingers or around nails; plantar warts usually grow on the soles of the feet; and flat warts are smaller and smoother than other warts and tend to grow in large numbers at any one time.
"Warts can be successfully treated," says Warren Piette, MD, UI dermatologist. Check with your physician for the best way to treat the warts in your family.
Moles are spots on the skin, collections of pigment cells, and can appear brown, blue, black, or flesh colored. Some moles have a high risk of becoming cancerous and exposure to the sun can trigger malignant melanoma in moles or previously normal skin.
"Check with your physician if you notice a change in any mole," says Piette.
Other types of skin lesions:
- Rash - skin eruptions of reddish blemishes, surrounding skin may be red and swollen. Allergies, infections, diseases, and insect bites can cause rashes.
- Skin tags - harmless flaps of skin, maybe flesh-colored or darker. Usually grow on the neck, underarm, or groin areas, as well as under breasts.
- Boils - infected, pus-filled swellings in the skin around hair follicles.
- Cyst - a closed sac containing fluid or solid material.