Skin lesions & Warts

Skin lesions and WartsWhat are Skin Lesions?

A skin lesion is an area of the skin which has changed appearance; the change may affect a small spot or an entire area.

Benign skin lesions are those lesions which are not malignant. There are many varieties of benign skin lesions. The following examples are some of the more common in UK.

Warts: Warts are benign skin growths caused by a viral infection referred to as human papilloma virus (HPV). Warts may be located on the fingers and hands, soles of the feet, or they may occur anywhere as small, smoother warts.

Seborrheic Keratoses: yellowish spots, occurring especially on the trunk during middle age. They tend to darken slowly over the years.

Skin Tags: soft, flesh-coloured tumours that typically appear in adulthood. They usually occur on the eyelids, neck, axilla or groin.

Actinic Keratoses: red spots with a scaly surface. They can be
found in older people who have been overexposed to the sun.

Ano-genital warts (condyloma acuminata): genital warts are normally associated with other genital infections.

Molluscum contagiosum: a common skin disease which mainly affects children. It is characterised by small papules (less than 5mm).

How are they caused?

Common warts, flat warts and foot warts are all caused by human papilloma virus (HPV). There are over 80 different types of the virus, which can also cause ano-genital warts.

HPV is passed by direct or indirect contact and from one body location to another on the same person. Some types (e.g., condyloma acuminta) are transmitted sexually.


A variety of techniques are used to remove skin lesions. Some techniques can be performed in primary care; others may need to be performed by dermatologists or surgeons.