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The Causes of Skin Lesions

Skin lesions, also known as cutaneous disorders or dermatologic disorders, are abnormal areas in the top layers of skin. There are many causes of skin lesions, some are preventable while others are inherited or are caused by other medical conditions. Here are just a few factors that can lead to lesions appearing on your skin.

The Causes of Skin Lesions

Sun Damage

Actinic keratosis is a type of skin lesion that’s found on people who have a fair skin complexion. This type of lesion is usually a pre-cancerous skin condition and can turn into squamous cell carcinoma. Lesions, such as actinic keratosis, can be caused by damage to the skin from excessive exposure to the sun or tanning beds.


Carcinoma include a variety of cancerous lesions that grow on the skin. Basal cell carcinoma is the most frequently diagnosed type of skin cancer and typically appears as a flat lesion that’s the same color as the skin. Other types of carcinoma include squamous cell carcinoma, merkel cell carcinoma and sebaceous gland carcinoma – these need treatment to avoid metastasis.


Many types of cysts can grow on the skin and lead to lesions and scarring. Epidermoid cysts form on the top layer of skin, most frequently on the face or back, and cause a lesion when they break. Pilar cysts affect the scalp and can develop in multiples,  causing lesions to develop that can become infected or inflamed.

Blood Vessel Growths

Hemangiomas are an abnormal group of blood vessels that develop as red lesions on the surface of the skin. When hemangiomas are present at birth, they will usually shrink or flatten, although hemangiomas can pop up at any time and have the ability to grow larger than a pencil eraser. Some people may develop many hemangiomas, which can be removed by surgical excision or laser surgery if they become painful or bleed.


Skin lesions, such as boils, carbuncles and pustules, can be caused by infections of the skin with bacteria. Viruses, such as chickenpox, can also cause lesions to form on the skin. Acne that becomes infected with bacteria from the skin can lead to lesions as well.


Melanoma is a potentially deadly cancer that can appears as a new lesion on the skin, however it can even develop in an existing mole. Melanoma can grow on any part of the body, and the lesions can be small and sometimes hard to spot or be aware of. To protect yourself from lesions of this type, you should schedule regular screenings with your doctor for detection and treatment.


Seborrheic keratoses are an inherited skin lesion that tend to occur with age. These lesions look similar to warts or melanomas, so if one appears on your skin, you should see your doctor right away for diagnosis. Although these lesions are not harmful, they can become a nuisance, especially if they grow to be fairly large.

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