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Skin Growths


A dermatofibroma is a common small, harmless skin tumor. Most often, there are no symptoms though sometimes they can itch or hurt. Dermatofibromas usually appear on the lower legs or trunk of young to middle-aged adults, and on a woman’s upper arms. They may be purple, pink, grey, brown, or red and may change color. Sometimes they disappear on their own. The cause is unknown, but they can develop after a minor injury to the skin.

Epidermoid Cysts (Sebaceous cysts)

An epidermoid cyst is a sac of tissue filled with keratin, a protein that makes up the skin, hair, and nails. They typically appear in men in the 30s and 40s, though can occur at any age and in women as well. About 1% of these cysts have been reported to become malignant and transform into squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas. They are slow growing and can become infected and can discharge pus. They are usually yellowish or white with a small dark plug found on the face, scalp, neck, and trunk, but can appear anywhere.


Keloids result from abnormal wound healing of a skin trauma. They are enlarged, raised scars that overgrow and become larger than the wound. Keloids are shiny and hairless, firm, and smooth. They can develop with even minor skin damage including tattoos and piercings. The cause is an overproduction of collagen. Keloids frequently affect people with darker skin types. The tendency to develop keloids runs in families. They usually cause no symptoms but may feel itchy or tender.


A hemangioma is a harmless red birthmark, sometimes called a strawberry mark, that affects 4 – 5% of newborns. A hemangioma is caused by an overgrowth of blood vessel. It appears in the first few weeks of birth frequently on the face, scalp, chest or back. It is usually flat and grows rapidly in the child’s first years to create a red bump that often fades over time until it disappears usually by age 10. The cause is unknown, but are more common in prematurely born Caucasian, female babies.


A lipoma is a harmless fatty tumor just beneath the skin usually on the trunk or extremities. They affect more men than women and usually develop between ages 40-60. Lipomas are slow growing and create a fatty lump that is soft and painless. The cause is unknown, but genetics plays a role. While they are harmless that can grow large and affect function.


This is lumps formed under the skin filled with clear or blood-tinged fluid, caused by overgrown lymph vessels. They are rare, the cause is unknown and usually only appear from birth to age 5.


Milia are small white, dome-shaped skin cysts filled with dead skin cells common in children and adults.  Dead skin cells become trapped in pores just beneath the skin. In infants and newborns, they disappear as the child grows. In adults, they may disappear without treatment.


Common moles are often harmless. They are small, dark brown spots that develop in childhood and adolescence. Harmless moles have a uniform appearance, color, shape and size. Most people have up to 40 harmless moles. However, moles that have an asymmetric shape and multiple colors or any mole that has recently changed should be evaluated by a dermatologist. Schedule a full body skin cancer checkup today.

Port Wine stains

A port wine stain is a flat birth mark caused by tiny abnormally formed blood vessels.  They do not go away on their own. Sometimes they are associated with syndromes but have no symptoms. They are primarily a cosmetic issue and can be treated with various types of lasers

Pyogenic Granulomas

This is a common, acquired, benign vascular tumor found in the skin and mucous membranes.  They appear as round, raised bumps that are red or reddish brown that develop after an injury.  While harmless they can bleed if scraped. They may disappear on their own or necessitate surgical treatment

Sebaceous Hyperplasia

Sebaceous hyperplasia is common in middle age and older people caused by enlarged sebaceous oil glands on the forehead and cheeks. They look like small yellow bumps around a hair follicle. No treatment is needed but they can be unsightly and treated with electrosurgery

Seborrheic Keratoses (SK)

SKs are among the most common benign skin growths. They are found on the head, neck and chest and upper back. They usually appear as brown, tan, or black waxy lesions that can be scaly and raised.  While not dangerous they should be examined to rule out similar appearing malignant skin conditions. If painful or itchy they can be treated to alleviate symptoms or they can be removed for cosmetic purposes.

Skin tags (Acrochordons)

Skin tags are small, harmless raised tissue on a stalk. They are commonly found in skin folds such as the neck, under arms, groin and under the breasts and develop with age, and pregnancy. They are associated with metabolic syndrome, obesity, insulin resistance and high blood pressure.

Spider Angiomas (Spider telangiectasia)

A spider angioma is a lesion that contains a central red spot and reddish extension just below the skin that looks like a spider web. They are dilated capillaries. They are harmless but can be a symptom of an underlying condition such as chronic liver disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. They are associated with pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives and typically resolve after childbirth and ending contraceptive use.


Common warts frequently appear on the hands and feet of children and adults. Warts are caused by the HPV virus. They are slow growing and easily spread by contact. Their common appearance is rough, domed, lobed, and grayish brown. Other types of warts include plantar warts that are black and found on the soles of the feet, and flat warts that are pink, light brown or yellow and found on the face, hands, arms, and legs.


These are soft yellow deposits of cholesterol on and around the eyelids. Xanthelasma can be associated with high levels of cholesterol.

When you are concerned about any of these conditions, contact Salt Lake Dermatology & Aesthetics to schedule an appointment.

At a Glance

Dr. Michael Sotiriou

  • Board-certified, Residency-Trained Medical and Cosmetic Dermatologist
  • Sub-Specialty Board Certification in Mohs Micrographic Dermatologic Surgery from the American Board of Dermatology
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology
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