During a skin biopsy, a piece of skin is removed under a local anesthesia and examined using a microscope. The different types of skin biopsy include shave biopsy, punch biopsy, and excisional biopsy. Skin biopsies are performed to diagnose skin growths, skin conditions, and skin cancers. Read more: Skin Biopsy Article
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Skin Quiz: Acne, Dry Skin, Dandruff & More
What's that all over you? Skin, of course! Test your knowledge of your most amazing organ with the Skin Quiz!
Melanoma (Skin Cancer) Quiz: Symptoms & Signs
What causes skin cancer? Take our Skin Cancer Quiz to learn about the risks, symptoms, causes, and treatments for this common...
Picture of Squamous Cell Carcinoma 1
Cancer that begins in squamous cells -- thin, flat cells that look under the microscope like fish scales. See a picture of...
Picture of Dysplastic Nevus
An atypical mole whose appearance is different from that of a common ordinary mole. See a picture of Dysplastic Nevus and learn...
Picture of Basal Cell Carcinoma
The most common type of skin cancer, a disease in which the cancer cells resemble the basal cells of the epidermis, the outer...
Picture of Dysplastic Nevi (Atypical Moles)
Atypical moles whose appearance is different from that of a common ordinary mole. See a picture of Dysplastic Nevi (Atypical...
Picture of Darier's Disease
Darier's disease, or keratosis follicularis, is a pruritic, autosomal dominant inherited disease with multiple discrete scaling,...
Picture of Keratoacanthoma 1
Keratoacanthoma (KA) is a special lesion, a pseudocancer, occurring as an isolated nodule, usually on the face, and mimicking...
Picture of Keratoacanthoma 2
Keratoacanthoma - Erythematous, dome-shaped tumor with a large, central, keratotic plug of 6-weeks duration. See a picture of...
Picture of Lamellar Ichthyosis Arms
Lamellar ichthyosis (LI) often presents at birth with the infant encased in a collodion–like membrane (collodion baby) that is...
Picture of Atopic Dermatitis
This condition is the most common of all pediatric dermatoses. See a picture of Atopic Dermatitis and learn more about the...
Picture of Skin
The skin is the largest organ of the body, with a total area of about 20 square feet. See a picture of the Skin and learn more...
Picture of Basal Cell Nevus Syndrome
Numerous basal cell epitheliomas on the neck of a child. See a picture of Basal Cell Nevus Syndrome and learn more about the...
Picture of Basal Cell Carcinoma (Ear)
A nodule with irregular borders and variegation of melanin hues, easily confused with a malignant melanoma. See a picture of...
Picture of Basal Cell Carcinoma (Nose)
A smooth, pearly tumor with telangiectasia on the nose. See a picture of Basal Cell Carcinoma (Nose) and learn more about the...
Picture of Basal Cell Carcinoma (Advanced Nodular BCC)
A solitary, shiny, nodule with large telangiectatic vessels on the ala nasi, arising on skin with dermatoheliosis. See a Basal...
Picture of Kaposi's Sarcoma Ecchymotic
Ecchymotic purple-brownish macule and a 1-cm nodule on the dorsum of the hand of a 65-year-old male of Ashkenazi-Jewish...
Picture of Squamous Cell Carcinoma 2
A round nodule with central hyperkeratosis, firm and indolent. See a picture of Squamous Cell Carcinoma and learn more about the...
Picture of Squamous Cell Carcinoma (Calf)
Bowen's disease. A large, sharply demarcated, scaly, erythematous plaque simulating a psoriatic lesion on the calf. See a picture...
Picture of Squamous Cell Carcinoma with Central Hyperkeratosis
A round nodule with central hyperkeratosis, firm and indolent. See a Squamous Cell Carcinoma with Hyperkeratosis and learn more...
Picture of Less Common Skin Cancers
Uncommon types of skin cancer include Kaposi's sarcoma; Merkel cell carcinoma; and sebaceous gland carcinoma. See a picture of...
Picture of Skin Cancer
Excessive exposure to sunlight is the main cause of skin cancer. See a picture of Skin Cancer and learn more about the health...
Picture of Moles
Moles are growths on the skin that are usually brown or black. See a picture of Moles and learn more about the health topic.
Skin Cancer Symptoms, Types, Images
Discover the causes, types, and treatments of skin cancer. Learn how to prevent skin cancer and how to check for melanoma, basal...
Signs of Cancer in Men: Could it Be Cancer?
See pictures of which 15 cancer symptoms men ignore such as skin changes, difficulty swallowing, rapid weight loss, a breast...
Signs of Cancer in Women: Symptoms You Can't Ignore
Cancer symptoms can surprise women if they don't know what to watch out for. 15 cancer symptoms women ignore such as weight loss,...
Related Disease Conditions
Amyloidosis is a group of diseases resulting from abnormal deposition of certain proteins (amyloids) in various bodily areas. The amyloid proteins may either be deposited in one particular area of the body (localized amyloidosis) or they may be deposited throughout the body (systemic amyloidosis). There are three types of systemic amyloidosis: primary (AL), secondary (AA), and familial (ATTR). Primary amyloidosis is not associated with any other diseases and is considered a disease entity of its own. Secondary amyloidosis occurs as a result of another illness. Familial Mediterranean Fever is a form of familial (inherited) amyloidosis. Amyloidosis treatment involves treating the underlying illness and correcting organ failure.
Bullous pemphigoid is a skin disease that causes blistering eruptions on the skin's surface and sometimes affects the inner lining of the mouth. Symptoms include severe itching and burning sensations. Treatment involves topical cortisone and sometimes high doses of cortisone. Severe cases may require immune-suppression drugs such as azathioprine.
Eczema is a general term for many types dermatitis (skin inflammation). Atopic dermatitis is the most common of the many types of eczema. Other types of eczema include: contact eczema, allergic contact eczema, seborrheic eczema, nummular eczema, stasis dermatitis, and dyshidrotic eczema.
Eosinophilic Fasciitis (Shulman's Syndrome)
Eosinophilic fasciitis is a skin disease that causes thickening and inflammation of the skin and fascia. Symptoms include redness, warmth, and hardening of the skin, as well as occasional tissue and joint pain. Treatment for eosinophilic fasciitis aims to eliminate inflammation through the use of aspirin, NSAIDs, and cortisone. Aggressive forms of eosinophilic fasciitis may require the use of immune-suppression medications.
Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a skin infection caused by the ringworm fungus. Symptoms include itching, burning, cracking, peeling, and bleeding feet. Treatment involves keeping the feet dry and clean, wearing shoes that can breathe, and using medicated powders to keep your feet dry.
Henoch-Schonlein purpura (HSP or anaphylactoid purpura), a type of blood vessel inflammation, results in rash, arthritis, and occasional abdominal cramping. HSP often resolves on its own. Joint pain may be treated with anti-inflammatory and cortisone medications.
Marfan syndrome is hereditary (genetic) condition affecting connective tissue. A person with Marfan syndrome may exhibit the following symptoms and characteristics: Dislocation of one or both lenses of the eye A protruding or indented breastbone Scoliosis Flat feet Aortic dilatation Dural ectasia (a problem with the sac surrounding the spinal cord) Stretch marks Hernia Collapsed lung Though there is no cure for Marfan syndrome, there are treatments that can minimize and sometimes prevent some complications.
Melanoma (Skin Cancer)
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer which begins in skin cells called melanocytes and affects more than 53,600 people in the United States each year. These melanocytes can grow together to form benign moles which, after a change in size, shape, or color can be a sign of melanoma. Caused by sun exposure, early detection becomes extremely important to avoid a spread to other areas of the body. Diagnosis is confirmed through a biopsy of the abnormal skin and treatment depends on the extent and characteristics of the patient. Metastatic melanoma is melanoma that has spread to various organs.
Melioidosis (Whitmore's disease) is an infectious disease caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei bacteria. Symptoms include bronchitis, pneumonia, fever, headache, loss of appetite, cough, and chest pain. Treatment involves antibiotics or surgical removal of the lung abscess in severe cases.
Psoriasis is a long-term skin condition that may cause large plaques of red, raised skin, flakes of dry skin, and skin scales. There are several types of psoriasis, including psoriasis vulgaris, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, and pustular psoriasis. Symptoms vary depending on the type of psoriasis the patient has. Treatment of psoriasis may include creams, lotions, oral medications, injections and infusions of biologics, and light therapy. There is no cure for psoriasis.
Skin cancers occur when skin cells undergo malignant transformations and grow into tumors. The most common types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, are highly curable when they are diagnosed and treated early. Sun exposure, tanning beds, depressed immune system, radiation exposure, and certain viral infections are risk factors for skin cancer. Skin cancers are treated with surgery or radiation. The prognosis of nonmelanoma skin cancers is generally very good.
Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE)
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a condition characterized by chronic inflammation of body tissues caused by autoimmune disease. Lupus can cause disease of the skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, joints, and nervous system. When only the skin is involved, the condition is called discoid lupus. When internal organs are involved, the condition is called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Vasculitis (arteritis, angiitis) is a general term for a group of uncommon diseases which feature inflammation of the blood vessels. Each form of vasculitis has its own characteristic pattern of symptoms. The diagnosis of vasculitis is definitively established after a biopsy of involved tissue demonstrates the pattern of blood vessel inflammation. Treatment is directed toward decreasing the inflammation of the arteries and improving the function of affected organs.
Granulomatosis With Polyangiitis
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis is a condition that usually affects young or middle-aged adults, is an inflammation of the arteries supplying blood to the sinuses, lungs, and kidneys. Symptoms of granulomatosis with polyangiitis include bloody sputum, fatigue, weight loss, joint pain, sinusitis, shortness of breath, and fever. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis may be fatal within months without treatment. Treatment aims to stop inflammation with high doses of prednisone and cyclophosphamide.
Ehlers-Danlos syndromes are genetic disorders that include symptoms such as loose joints, tissue weakness, easy bruising, and skin that stretches easily. There are seven types of Ehlers-Danlos syndromes: classical type, hypermobility type, vascular type, kyphoscoliosis type, arthrochalsia type, dermatosparaxis type, and tenascin-X deficient type. Treatment for Ehlers-Danlos syndromes depends on which symptoms and signs are present.
Weber-Christian disease is a rare inflammatory disease that affects the body's fat tissues. It's also known as relapsing febrile nodular panniculitis syndrome and idiopathic lobular panniculitis. The disorder appears on the skin as red or purple tender, raised lumps. The thighs and lower legs are the most frequently affected areas. Other symptoms may include: nausea, vomiting, weight loss, joint pain, and abdominal pain. Though there is no cure for the disease, inflammation may be treated with various anti-inflammatory medications.
Essential Mixed Cryoglobulinemia
Essential mixed cryoglobulinemia is a condition caused by abnormal blood proteins called cryoglobulins. Symptoms include joint pain, swelling, skin vasculitis, enlarged spleen, and nerve and kidney disease. Treatment involves medications that reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system.
The word "rash" means an outbreak of red bumps on the body. The way people use this term, "a rash" can refer to many different skin conditions. The most common of these are scaly patches of skin and red, itchy bumps or patches all over the place.
Sarcoidosis, a disease resulting from chronic inflammation, causes small lumps (granulomas) to develop in a great range of body tissues and can appear in almost any body organ. However, sarcoidosis most often starts in the lungs or lymph nodes.
Skin Tag Removal
A skin tag is a small benign growth of skin that projects from the surrounding skin. Skin tags can vary in appearance (smooth, irregular, flesh colored, dark pigment, raised). Skin tags generally do not cause symptoms unless repeatedly irritated. Treatment for skin tag varies depending on the location on the body.
Rabies is a viral disease that is transmitted via the bite of an infected animal. Symptoms include fever, headaches, and weakness. Treatment involves a series of injections: rabies immune globulin and four rabies vaccines administered over 2 weeks.
Lichen planus is a common skin disease that features small, itchy pink or purple spots on the arms or legs. The abnormal areas on the skin in lichen planus are typically flat-topped (hence the term planus), itchy, and frequently have a polygonal or angular shape.
A keloid is a scar that doesn't know when to stop. When the cells keep on reproducing, the result is an overgrown (hypertrophic) scar or a keloid. A keloid looks shiny and is often dome-shaped, ranging in color from slightly pink to red. It feels hard and thick and is always raised above the surrounding skin.
Cancer is a disease caused by an abnormal growth of cells, also called malignancy. It is a group of 100 different diseases, and is not contagious. Cancer can be treated through chemotherapy, a treatment of drugs that destroy cancer cells.
Freckles are flat circular spots on the skin that may be red, yellow, tan, light brown, brown, or black in color. Lentigo is the term used to describe certain types of darker freckles. Ephelis typically appear during the sunny months. Freckles can be prevented with sunscreens, the use of wide-brimmed hats, sun-protective clothing, avoiding peak sun hours, and seeking shade and staying indoors.
Actinic keratoses are rough, scaly patches of skin that are considered precancerous and are due to sun exposure. Prevention is to cut sun exposure and wear sunscreen.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer is an accelerated form of breast cancer that is not usually detected by mammogram or ultrasound. Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer include pain in the breast, skin change in the breast area, bruise on the breast,sudden swelling of the breast, nipple retraction or discharge, and swelling of the lymph nodes.
Scar formation is a natural part of the healing process after injury. The depth and size of the wound incision and the location of the injury impact the scar's characteristics, but your age, heredity and even sex or ethnicity will affect how your skin reacts.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (CMT)
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is one of the most common inherited neurological disorders. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease affects the peripheral nerves. CMT symptoms and signs include weakness of the lower leg muscles and foot, foot drop, foot deformities, etc. There are several forms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Inherited gene mutations are the cause of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. There is no cure for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, however, therapeutic measures and mild exercise may help symptoms.
Paget Disease of the Breast (Paget's Disease of the Nipple)
Paget's disease is a rare form of cancer that forms in or around the nipple and frequently coexists with breast cancer. The exact cause of Paget's disease is unknown. Symptoms and signs include redness, scaling, and flaking of the nipple skin. A biopsy and imaging studies are needed to diagnose the disease. Treatment may include surgery, radiation, and adjuvant therapy.
Symptoms of 12 Serious Diseases and Health Problems
Learn how to recognize early warning signs and symptoms of serious diseases and health problems, for example, chronic cough, headache, chest pain, nausea, stool color or consistency changes, heartburn, skin moles, anxiety, nightmares, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, delusions, lightheadedness, night sweats, eye problems, confusion, depression, severe pelvic or abdominal pain, unusual vaginal discharge, and nipple changes. The symptoms and signs of serious health problems can be caused by strokes, heart attacks, cancers, reproductive problems in females (for example, cancers, fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and sexually transmitted diseases or STDs), breast problems (for example, breast cancer and non-cancer related diseases), lung diseases (for example, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, lung cancer, emphysema, and asthma), stomach or digestive diseases (for example, cancers, gallbladder, liver, and pancreatic diseases, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn's disease), bladder problems (for example, urinary incontinence, and kidney infections), skin cancer, muscle and joint problems, emotional problems or mental illness (for example, postpartum depression, major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mania, and schizophrenia), and headache disorders (for example, migraines, or "the worst headache of your life), and eating disorders and weight problems (for example, anorexia or bulimia).
Eczema refers to skin inflammation. There are many different types of eczema that produce symptoms and signs that range from oozing blisters to crusty plaques of skin. Treatment varies depending upon the type of eczema the person has.
Lichen sclerosus is a skin disease that causes white spots to form on the skin, which later grow into large, thin, and crinkled patches of skin that tear easily. Symptoms include itching, pain, blisters, and bleeding. Patches on the upper body usually go away over time, but patches in the genital region may scar if left untreated, causing problems with urination or sex. Treatment may involve surgery or the use of a very strong cortisone cream.
MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria causes skin infections with the following signs and symptoms: cellulitis, abscesses, carbuncles, impetigo, styes, and boils. Normal skin tissue doesn't usually allow MRSA infection to develop. Individuals with depressed immune systems and people with cuts, abrasions, or chronic skin disease are more susceptible to MRSA infection.
Keratosis Pilaris (KP)
Keratosis pilaris (KP) is a common skin disorder in which small white or red bumps appear around hair follicles on the upper arms, thighs, buttocks, and cheeks. The cause of KP is unknown. There is no cure for keratosis pilaris, and the condition may resolve on its own. Gentle exfoliation, professional manual extraction, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion, along with topical products, are the best treatments for this condition.
Folliculitis is a skin condition that causes small red bumps to form around the hair follicles. Skin bacteria such as Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas may infect the follicles. Treatment involves over-the-counter bacterial washes, topical antibiotics, and/or topical steroids.
Jock itch is an itchy red rash that appears in the groin area. The rash may be caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. People with diabetes and those who are obese are more susceptible to developing jock itch. Antifungal shampoos, creams, and pills may be needed to treat fungal jock itch. Bacterial jock itch may be treated with antibacterial soaps and topical and oral antibiotics.
Molluscum contagiosum is a skin disease that causes pink painless bumps on the skin. It typically resolves in 6 to 12 months. Cryotherapy, laser therapy, and curettage may also treat the nodules of molluscum contagiosum.
Pityriasis rosea is a rash that begins with a large inflamed patch with well-defined scaly borders on the back, chest, or neck. In one to two weeks, the person will develop many smaller patches on his or her trunk, arms, and legs. Symptoms include mild itching and possible sore throat, fatigue, nausea, aching, and decreased appetite. Pityriasis rosea typically resolves on its own and symptoms and signs may be treated with topical steroid creams and oral antihistamines.
Ingrown hairs may be caused by improper shaving, waxing, or blockage of the hair follicle. Symptoms and signs of ingrown hairs include itching, tenderness, and small red pus bumps. Ingrown hairs usually heal on their own, but topical antibiotics, chemical depilatories, and hair-removal laser may be used in the treatment of ingrown hairs.
Dry skin (xeroderma) may be caused by external factors, like cold temperatures, low humidity, harsh soaps, and certain medications, or internal factors, such as thyroid disease, diabetes, psoriasis, or Sjogren's syndrome. Symptoms and signs of dry skin include itching and red, cracked or flaky skin. The main treatment for dry skin is frequent, daily lubrication of the skin.
Moles are small skin growths that may appear flat or raised and are often tan, brown, black, reddish brown, or skin colored. They are typically about the size of a pencil eraser. There are three types of moles. Monthly skin self-exams are essential in the early detection of abnormal moles and melanomas.
Typhus is a disease caused by Rickettsia bacteria. Symptoms and signs include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and rash. Antibiotics are recommended as the treatment for endemic and epidemic typhus infections.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition. Symptoms and signs include a red, scaling rash on the scalp, face, ears, and torso. Treatment often includes the use of a medicated shampoo and the application of a topical steroid lotion.
Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB)
Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is a group of inherited diseases characterized by skin blistering, erosion, and fragility. EB affects eight of 1 million Americans. There is no cure for EB, and the only treatment is supportive care.
Morgellons disease is a rare condition causing delusions the sufferer has parasites under his or her skin. The disease has a skin, nerve and psychiatric symptoms. The cause remains unclear.
Hailey-Hailey Disease (Familial Benign Pemphigus)
Hailey-Hailey disease (familial benign pemphigus) is a hereditary skin disease that causes painful blistering the skin folds. There is no specific treatment for this disease, and treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms and signs.
Does Skin Cancer Kill You?
Skin cancer is the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of skin cells. Skin cancer usually arises on skin exposed to the sun, such as the face, lips, ears, scalp, neck, chest, arms and hands and on the legs, especially in women. Malignant melanoma is a highly aggressive skin cancer that tends to spread to other parts of the body. All other types of skin cancers have the potential to be locally invasive and spread to other parts of the body. Nonmelanoma skin cancers are comparatively less aggressive.
The Skin (Human Anatomy): Picture, Definition, Function and Skin Conditions
The skin is the largest organ in the body that covers the entire external surface. It protects the internal organs from germs and thus helps prevent infections. The skin is made up of three main layers.
The 7 Most Important Layers of Your Skin
The skin is the largest organ in the body and it covers the body's entire external surface. It is made up of seven layers. The first five layers form the epidermis, which is the outermost, thick layer of the skin. The hypodermis is the deepest layer of skin situated below the dermis.
How Do You Treat White Spots on Skin?
Learn what medical treatments can help ease your hypopigmentation symptoms and speed up your recovery.
Local ResourcesFind a local Dermatologist in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
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- Skin Cancer Melanoma FAQs
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- Ask The Experts: Laboratory Procedures and Tests
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
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