Skin Lesions

A skin lesion is caused by damage to the skin or surrounding area. Skin lesions can be either superficial or deep. An abnormality in the skin may be referred to as a lesion. There are three classifications of skin lesions: primary, secondary and tertiary or vascular. The classification of a skin lesion is based on how far down into or onto the skin it goes.

If you have a new lesion on the skin or if a lesion has changed shape or size, be sure to have a physician examine the lesion. Lesions may appear in over six different shapes. Lesions may be linear or line shaped, rounded or sometimes shaped like a target. Other lesions may be geographical and look “map like”, look squiggly and sepiginous or be annular.

Primary lesions may be fluid filled like a blister, or be flat and have color like a birthmark. Primary lesions are usually found on the skin, rather than in the skin. A pimple is another example of a primary lesion. Primary lesions remain atop the skin or become small sacs full of fluid or pus.

Secondary lesions occur when a lesion or disease has progressed more. Crust or scales such as excessive dandruff are examples of secondary lesions. A secondary lesion is no longer flat or has involved deeper into or evolved more onto the skin. An example of a secondary lesion that is on top of the skin is a scar or keloid. Tertiary or vascular lesions are lesions that are deeper and reach the vascular system.

Lesions can be either benign or malignant. Benign lesions are non cancerous lesions, while malignant lesions are cancer causing lesions. Every family should be aware of the ABC’s of skin cancer and have their skin checked regularly by a dermatologist of family physician. A stand for asymmetry, do both sides of the lesion look similar, or does one side look different? B stands for border; has the edges of the lesion changed shape or size? C stands for color; has the lesion changed color or darkened? If any of your lesions change shape, size or color you should have the lesion looked at by a professional.

Lesions can also be caused by oil glands. Acne is a common skin disorder that causes lesions on the skin. There are other lesions that can be caused as well, such as milia which are known as whiteheads. Milia are hardened sebum or oil that is caught under the skin. Another well known disorder of the skin is Rosacea. This is vascular in nature and can cause bumps or lesions to appear on the face.

Checking your skin for new lesions or skin lesions that have changed can be a valuable habit to get into. See your doctor if you have any questions about lesions on your skin.

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