Your skin’s cells divide and grow as needed. They die when they aren’t required anymore. However, they sometimes continue to multiply when they shouldn’t. This results in the development of tumours.

A benign skin tumour is a growth on the skin that does not spread to other parts of the body or “metastasize”. Non-cancerous tumours are typically non-life threatening and do not pose any complications or health risks. However, they can still cause damage to surrounding organs or tissues. They normally do not require treatment, but in some situations, they may be removed surgically.

Common Benign Skin Tumours

All individuals may acquire different benign skin tumours in their lifetime. They are easily visible and can affect any age group.

  • Dermatofibroma

    Most commonly seen in the extremities, these growths may be a reaction to minor injuries or insect bites.

  • Hemangioma

    This is formed due to an abnormal buildup of blood vessels.

  • Epidermal inclusion cyst

    Also called keratinous cyst, this fluctuant nodule with a central punctum is the most common type of cutaneous cyst and can occur anywhere in the body.

  • Lipoma

    Lipoma is an abnormal growth of fat cells. They tend to grow slowly and are usually solitary.

  • Melanocytic naevi (Moles)

    Melanocytic naevi, more commonly known as moles, are benign (non-cancerous) skin growths caused by abnormal collection of pigment producing cells in the skin. Moles initially appear flat but may become raised and dome-shaped later in life.

  • Seborrheic keratosis

    Seborrheic keratoses are superficial skin growths commonly located on the face. They can also occur on the body and groin. They initially appear brown and slightly raised, but may enlarge and become darker and more numerous with age. Removal of these growths is commonly performed by dermatologists for cosmetic reasons.

  • Acrochordon (skin tag)

    Skin tags are skin-coloured growths which commonly occur on the neck, underarms, groins and eyelids. Multiple skin tags may appear around the same area. They are harmless, and can easily be removed by the dermatologist using minor surgery.

  • Wart

    Warts, highly contagious skin growths, are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and can occur anywhere in the body.

  • Dermatosis papulosa nigra

    Often found in the neck and face, especially in the eye region, these growths are common in people with dark skin color.

  • Milia

    Occurring primarily in the faces of women and newborns, milia is a cystic collection of keratin under the epidermal layer of the skin.

  • Sebaceous Hyperplasia

    Sebaceous hyperplasias are small yellowish lumps often seen on the cheeks. They occur when there is an overgrowth of oil glands just beneath the surface of the skin. These are benign and may be treated with electrosurgery (using a weak current to destroy the growths) or laser.

  • Syringomas

    Syringomas are small flesh-coloured lumps that occur commonly just below or around the eyes. They form when there is an overgrowth of sweat ducts in the skin. Syringomas may be treated with laser or electrosurgery.

Found An Abnormal Skin Growth?

An accurate diagnosis can rule out cancerous growths. Consult our MOH-accredited dermatologist for a detailed evaluation and personalised treatment plan.

Diagnosing New Skin Growths

If you find any new growth on your skin, set an appointment with your dermatologist to rule out malignancy (cancer). During your visit, your dermatologist will most likely ask you questions about your medical history and lifestyle to check any variables that may raise your risk of skin cancer, such as:

  • The presence of a light skin tone that burns easily or develops freckles
  • A family history of skin cancer
  • History of tanning bed use
  • Abundant moles
  • History of frequent sunburns especially during childhood

A physical examination of the problem will then be done. Depending on what he or she finds, your dermatologist may also perform a biopsy to confirm whether it is benign or malignant.

Dr Noor Hanif Said

Medical Director & Consultant Dermatologist

Over 20 years of experience
in medical, Surgical & aesthetic Dermatology

  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS, Singapore)
  • Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP, United Kingdom)
  • Fellow Of The Academy of Medicine, Singapore (FAMS, Dermatology)

Prior to starting his private practice at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre, Dr Hanif was a dermatologist at the National Skin Centre and a Visiting Consultant with the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital Dermatology Service.

Apart from his expertise in the management of general dermatological problems such as eczema, psoriasis, hair loss and acne, he has special interests in pigmentary disorders and aesthetic dermatology.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What are warning signs that I should look for in a new skin growth?

    If you notice the following in your new skin growth, consult your dermatologist:

    • a change in the texture of the tumour
    • a sore in the tumour that itches, crusts, scabs, or bleeds
    • a wound in the tumour that does not heal in three weeks
    Can you leave a benign skin tumour alone?

    Yes. However, though most benign tumors are harmless and can be left alone, it’s important they be monitored for any changes including changes in size and shape and occurrence of pain and itch. If any change occurs, visit your dermatologist.