Black Lesions

Most Common Causes of Black Lesions

Anytime a rash or spots are discovered on the skin, especially black lesions, there is cause for concern.  Of course, most people immediately think the worst when faced with this situation and while there are some dark spots or lesions that are potentially dangerous, many others are not.  Therefore, we wanted to offer some information about both non-cancerous and cancerous lesions.

For starters, if you have never had freckles but suddenly you notice black lesions, chances are good freckles would be the last thing suspected.  Although most people develop freckles while young, they can appear later in life so before panicking, consider that the newly appeared dark spots could be nothing more than freckles.  The truth is that freckles are a type of atypical mole that is simply pigment cells that retain within the skin, which then forms spots.  Typically, freckles are a light to medium brown color but sometimes, they can be so dark that they appear black.

The formal name for black lesions of this type is Ephelides, which appear on any area of the body exposed to the body although the face, shoulders, and arms are the most common.  For whatever reason, some people are embarrassed by having freckles but others refer to them as “angel kisses.”  While true freckles are completely harmless, it would be important to make the distinction between a freckle and melanoma, which is a deadly form of cancer.  The reason is that black lesions diagnosed as melanoma actually develop from a freckle with the exception that the color is darker, the size larger, and the shape irregular.

Black lesions could also be in the form of Seborrheic keratoses, which is benign.  While these lesions can develop on any part of the body, they usually appear on the back and neck.  Sometimes, it is hard to tell non-cancerous from cancerous lesions but with Seborrheic keratoses it is easy because of the raised and waxy appearance.  In fact, many people who have this type of skin disorder describe the spots appearance as if brown candle wax had dropped onto the skin’s surface.

Even warts of certain kinds can appear as black lesions on the skin.  Most people are unaware that warts are actually the result of a virus within the HPV or Human Papillomavirus family.  These benign tumors affect only the outer layer of the skin.  Warts can affect people of all ages, race, and lifestyle although children and teenagers seem to develop them more than anyone.

The two primary types of warts include flat and planters, each with unique characteristics.  Flat warts are small and flat just as the name implies.  Unfortunately, black lesions of this type spread easily to other parts of the body from scratching or to another person when skin-to-skin contact is made.  Planter’s warts grow only on the feet and develop in deeper layers of skin.  These warts are very painful, sometimes to the point of making it difficult to walk.  Therefore, these warts need to be removed at some point.

Now, the abovementioned lesions are all benign but they can also be cancerous in the form of melanoma.  Four different types of melanoma exist with “malignant melanoma” being the most dangerous and potentially deadly.  Sadly, while these lesions develop on the surface of the skin, they are very aggressive.  Because of this, they spread quickly to internal organs and lymph nodes.  This type of melanoma is so serious that it accounts for 77% of all deaths associated with skin cancer.

It is important to know that if you see any black lesions on your body, regardless of size or location, or even if you suspect they are nothing more than freckles, you should still see a doctor to rule out something serious.  That way, if the lesions were found to be cancerous, you would have a much better chance of getting things under control with early diagnosis.