What are they?
A lipoma is a soft, fatty lump that grows under the skin; a skin cyst is a harmless, fluid-filled bump that lies just underneath the skin; a wart is a small, hard lump that often appears on the hands or feet; skin tags are small, flesh-coloured growths that hang off the skin.
Who gets them?
Lipomas are fairly common and tend to develop during middle age. Anyone can develop a skin cyst, but they are more common after puberty and among people with a history of acne. Warts commonly affect children and teenagers. Skin tags are most common among overweight people.
What causes them?
We don’t know what causes lipomas. Some types of cysts run in families. Warts are caused by infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV) and can be caught by close, skin-to-skin contact. Skin tags are more likely to occur where skin rubs against clothing, and in pregnant women, older people and those with diabetes.
What are the symptoms?
Lipomas feel like soft, doughy lumps under the skin. Skin cysts look like yellow or whitish dome-shaped lumps with a dark plug. They can become sore and red if infected. Warts are rough, hard textured bumps that can appear in clusters. Skin tags are small, flesh-coloured growths that look a bit like warts and are usually found on the neck, armpits, groin or breasts.
What’s the best treatment?
It’s important to ask your GP or dermatologist to check any new lumps or bumps. Once diagnosed, these conditions can be surgically removed, especially if they are causing discomfort.
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