Pigment stains on the skin that are new or that change in some way can be skin cancer. But there are also many pigmented changes that are benign and that are more common the older you get.

Benign skin changes do not turn into cancer, but can be mistaken for skin cancer diseases. A benign skin change can be removed with, for example, laser or freezing treatment. You usually have to pay that for yourself.

Seborrheic keratosis – age blackness

Seborrheic keratosis is an elevated change with an oily or dry and scaly surface. The color can be anything from white to brownish-black but is usually light brown, brown or grayish black. Most often you get age warts on the face and chest and back. Seborrheic keratosis is also called age or dandruff. Warts can be confused with any of the skin cancer diseases malignant melanoma, squamous cell or basal cell cancer.

Dermatofibroma – connective tissue node

Dermatofibroma is also called histiocytoma or connective tissue. It is a hard, brownish-red or brown knot that is usually light in the middle and darker all around. The knot is pulled inwards as you pinch it. The knot usually sits on the legs or arms. It can be confused with skin cancer disease malignant melanoma. The connective tissue node is removed if the diagnosis is uncertain or if the node causes discomfort.

Lentigo Solaris – sunspots

Lentigo Solaris have defined pigment spots that are also called sunspots and sometimes age spots. On light skin, the spots are beige to medium brown. Stains cannot be seen on dark skin. Foremost are the spots on the top of the hand and on the face. The pigmentation is caused by the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. Sunspots can be confused with skin cancer disease malignant melanoma. Also read more about birthmarks or liver spots, which all adults have.

When should I seek care?

Contact a health care provider if you are unsure whether a skin change is benign or not. Wait until it becomes every day if it’s a weekend.

Ehtisham Nadeem

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