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Most skin bumps, spots, growths, and moles are harmless. Colored skin spots, also called pigmented lesions (such as freckles, moles, or flesh-colored skin spots), or growths (such as warts or skin tags) may be there at birth or develop as the skin ages.
Most skin spots on babies will go away without treatment within a few months. Birthmarks are colored marks on the skin that are there at birth or appear shortly after birth. They can be many different sizes, shapes, and colors, such as brown, tan, black, blue, pink, white, red, or purple. Some birthmarks appear on the surface of the skin. Some are raised above the surface of the skin, and some occur under the skin. Most birthmarks are harmless and don't need treatment. Many birthmarks change, grow, shrink, or disappear. There are many types of birthmarks. Some are more common than others.
Acne is a common skin change that occurs during the teen years and may last into adulthood. Acne may be mild, with just a few blackheads (comedones). Or it may be severe, with large and painful pimples deep under the skin (cystic lesions). It may be on the chest and back as well as on the face and neck. Boys often have more severe outbreaks of acne than girls. Many girls have acne before their periods that occurs because of changes in hormone levels.
During pregnancy, dark patches may form on a woman's face. This is known as the "mask of pregnancy," or chloasma. It usually fades after the baby is born. The cause of chloasma isn't fully understood. But experts think that increased levels of pregnancy hormones cause the pigment-producing cells in the skin (melanocytes) to produce more pigment. You can reduce skin pigment changes when you are pregnant by using sunscreen and staying out of the sun.
Actinic keratosis and actinic lentigines are types of colored skin spots that are caused by too much sun exposure. These spots aren't skin cancers. But they may mean that you have an increased chance of getting skin cancer, such as squamous cell skin cancer or a type of melanoma.
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. In some cases, they may spread to areas of your skin that weren't exposed to the sun (photoallergy).
Skin changes can also be caused by:
Some common skin growths include:
Most people have 10 to 40 moles. You may get new moles until you are in your 40s. Moles may change over time. They can gradually get bigger, develop a hair, become more raised, get lighter in color, 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. Skin tags never turn into skin cancer.
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. Less often, they are below the waist. They start as slightly raised tan spots that form a crusty appearance like a wart.
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 make you feel embarrassed.
While most skin changes are normal and occur with aging, some may be caused by cancer. Skin cancer may start as a growth or mole, a change in a growth or mole, a sore that doesn't heal, or irritation of the skin. It's the most common form of cancer in North America.
Skin cancer destroys skin cells and tissues. It can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer, and melanoma.
Finding and treating skin cancer early can help prevent problems. Treatment depends on the type and location of the growth and how advanced it is when it is diagnosed. Surgery to remove the growth will help to find what treatment will be needed.
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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 nonprescription 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-colored 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.
Most bumps, spots, growths, or moles don't need any type of home treatment. But the following steps may help.
If you are worried about how a skin change looks, try using cosmetics that are made to hide them.
Eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids each day.
To help you see how your skin may change, do regular skin self-exams.
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:
November 15, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineE. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: November 15, 2021
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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