The term "skin growth" is a collective term for various skin symptoms that result from an increase in skin tissue. These include, for example, warts, fibromas, lipomas, pigment nevi, keratoacanthomas and keratosis. Cancer of the skin such as malignant melanoma or basalioma can also be assigned to skin growths. In most cases, however, they are benign structures that are only perceived as cosmetically disruptive. But it is also possible that the benign skin growths impair the healthy growth of the surrounding tissue.
Skin anatomy and physiology
To understand the symptoms of the skin, it is helpful to know the basic structure of the skin. After all, the skin is the largest organ of the body with an area of 1.5 to 2 square meters. The outer skin is divided into three layers. The epidermis, the so-called dermis and the subcutis, which is called subcutis in technical jargon. Looking at the dermis and epidermis, one speaks of the so-called “cutis”. The epidermis consists of a multi-layered, cornified squamous epithelium. In contrast, connective tissue fibers are predominantly found in the dermis, whereas the subcutis is formed from connective and adipose tissue.
The skin not only protects us from heat loss. It also serves to absorb sensory stimuli. We perceive warmth, cold, pain, touch and pressure stimuli through the skin. It also acts as a border organ and is intended to prevent the entry of pathogens.
Most common skin growths
The most common skin growths include warts. Fibromas and lipomas are also common.
These are harmless tumors of the upper skin layer, the so-called epidermis. They are either completely flat or slightly raised. The cause of the warts is mostly an infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) of the "low-risk type".
The infection is most often caused by contact infection, i.e. by touching an infected person. The viruses can penetrate the body through the smallest injuries to the skin and mucous membrane. In addition, smear infections from contaminated everyday objects, such as shared towels, are possible. If you scratch a wart, you risk spreading it further on the skin. Although warts are benign, they are extremely annoying, especially if they spread further. Depending on the location, they can also cause pain.
There are different types of warts:
- Spiked warts (vulgar warts),
- Plantar warts, also called sole of the feet,
- Genital warts,
- Dell Warts,
- Flat warts,
- Brush warts,
- Age warts.
Fibroma is also commonly referred to as a stem wart, although from a medical point of view it is not a wart. Rather, the fibroma is a tumor that arises from the excessive growth of the fibrocytes. Fibrocytes are cells of the connective tissue. A basic distinction can be made between soft and hard fibroma. Soft fibromas are particularly evident on the groin, in the armpits or below the breasts. The skin-colored connective tissue growths are often stalked and, depending on their size, slightly crinkled on their surface.
Hard fibromas, on the other hand, are more gray-brown in color. Its surface is either slightly raised or slightly sunken. A hard fibroma can be easily distinguished from a liver spot using the so-called Fitzpatrick sign. If the skin growth sinks into the skin when the area around the skin is compressed, it is a fibroma and not a mole.
In rare cases, fibromas grow in the area of the mucous membranes, for example on the gums or on the inside of the cheeks. Regardless of the location, fibromas do not cause any pain unless they are injured.
The lipoma is also a benign tumor of the skin. It starts from the fat tissue cells (adipocytes) and can reach a considerable size. 15 to 20 percent of all lipomas occur in the neck and head area. Shoulder and back are also often affected. Up to 50 percent of all lipomas originate from the subcutis. The causes of their origin have not yet been fully clarified.
A pigment nevus is a benign malformation of the skin. This skin proliferation is also known as the melanocytic nevus or melanocytic nevus. Colloquially, a pigment nevus is also known as a mole or birthmark. The appearance of the skin has a brown or at least brownish color due to the incorporation of pigment-forming melanocytes. There are different types of pigment nevi. These include:
- Mongolian spots,
- the blue nevus,
- the junction nevus.
If a malignant tumor develops from the melanocytes, one speaks of a melanoma.
Malignant melanoma, also known as black skin cancer, is the skin disease that is most often fatal. The number of new cases is steadily increasing worldwide. The ABCDE rule can be used to identify suspicious pigment spots:
- A (Asymmetry): The pigment spot is not symmetrical.
- B (Border): The birthmark is irregular or out of focus.
- C (Color): The pigment spot is multicolored.
- D (diameter): The mark is larger than five millimeters.
- E (Evolution): The pigment spot is new and developed within a short time.
If two of these five criteria apply, the dermatologist usually advises that the mark be removed preventively.
The exact causes of malignant melanoma are unknown. However, there are several risk factors that can promote the development of malignant skin growth:
- previous malignant diseases,
- fair skin, red and blonde hair and blue eyes,
- many birthmarks,
- excessive sunbathing,
- Melanoma within the family,
Basalioma (basal cell carcinoma) is also a malignant skin growth. It develops from the basal layers of the epidermis and the hair follicles. Basalioma develops preferentially in places that are often exposed to the sun. Above all, this includes the forehead, nose and ears. The skin tumor can appear as a brownish-gray or reddish-yellow nodule. Reddish foci with fine scaling are also possible. There are also variants that appear porcelain white or whitish-yellowish.
The pigmented form of basalioma can easily be mistaken for melanoma. In contrast to melanoma, basalioma rarely forms metastases. However, it can grow infiltrating and thus severely damage the surrounding tissue. The most important risk factor for the development of a basalioma is the frequent and above all long-term exposure to the sun's rays. That is why people who have worked outside a lot are particularly affected.
Actinic keratosis is also mainly caused by long-term and intensive UV radiation. The early form of skin growth is shown by very small, reddish skin lesions that are not well defined. In the advanced stage, primarily the corneal cells multiply, so that the skin areas appear white and harden. Later, the skin growths look like bumpy warts and feel rough. Larger areas of the skin are affected at this stage of the disease. Actinic keratosis is considered a so-called precancerous condition. This means that the disease often leads to skin cancer. It is estimated that more than half of all squamous cell carcinomas are based on actinic keratosis.
The keloid is also a skin growth. The benign tumor is characterized by an excessive growth of the fibroblasts and occurs as an impaired healing process, especially after injuries or operations. The keloid is raised in the form of a bulb and from a soft pink to a deep red color. Occasionally, itchy rash, sensitivity disorders, and touch sensitivity may occur.
Treat skin growths
The treatment of skin growth naturally always depends on the cause. While some skin growths do not necessarily need to be treated, rapid therapy is particularly important for malignant diseases.
Cryotherapy and Co. - wart treatment
If the body's immune system succeeds in eliminating the disease-causing viruses, the warts will go away on their own. However, this is not always the case. If a wart protrudes deep into the tissue, it can be scraped out under local anesthesia. Removal using the electrocoagulation method is also possible. Under local anesthesia, the affected skin area is burned. Warts can also be removed with a laser. The laser replaces the scalpel. However, as with removal with a sharp spoon, pain and scarring can occur.
In cryotherapy, however, the wart is iced up with liquid nitrogen or another coolant. This method is mainly used for superficial warts. Keratolytics such as salicylic acid are also suitable for home use. Patches or tinctures containing salicylic acid soften the superficial layers of the wart so that it can then be removed. However, this form of application is not suitable for warts on the face or in the genital area.
Home remedies for warts
There are numerous home remedies for treating warts. One of these home remedies is castor oil, which is rubbed on the affected areas several times a day. The celandine leaf juice has also been used as a wart remedy for centuries. If you have no celandine leaf, you can also make your own wart cream from celandine tincture and a simple cream base. The stem juice of the dandelion is often recommended for external wart use. Other well-known home remedies include toppings with Swedish bitter and milkweed, as well as essential tea tree oil or marigold ointment.
In general, however, it should be taken into account that the warts are caused by viruses. It is therefore important to support the immune system in the fight against the pathogen. Advisable is a balanced diet with a high content of vital substances. Regular exercise in the fresh air and various naturopathic procedures, such as pastor Kneipp's hydrotherapy or autologous blood therapy, can also strengthen the body's defenses.
From a medical point of view, treatment of these skin growths is not absolutely necessary. However, if the pedicle warts are bothersome, the doctor can remove them surgically under local anesthesia. In no case should you cut off the skin symptoms yourself, as they can bleed heavily with this self-treatment.
From a naturopathic point of view, it should be noted that a fibroma can also be a sign of overacidification of the connective tissue. Here it is important to relieve the metabolism. A base-excess diet is particularly suitable for this. A base treatment can also be useful. The basic foods include vegetables, salads and fruits. Unsulfurized dried fruit and nuts such as macadamia, pistachios or walnuts are also metabolized in a basic manner. In contrast, acidifiers are all products that contain animal protein. These include fish, meat, cheese, milk products and eggs. Alcohol, lemonades and all products that contain sugar and white flour also ensure that more acids are produced.
Treatment of lipomas
Therapy for lipoma is only necessary if it is perceived as unaesthetic, painful or very large. The treatment of choice is surgical removal under local anesthesia. Liposuction (liposuction) is also available as a therapeutic procedure.
There are also some naturopathic measures that can be helpful for lipomas. In naturopathy, the assumption is that the body deposits metabolic end products in the lipoma that it cannot get rid of. As with fibromas, deacidification of the body in the form of a fasting or fasting cure is recommended. The body's excretion capacity can be improved in the context of detoxification or drainage. Tea preparations or tinctures, which strengthen the excretory organs, are suitable for this. Known medicinal plants for drainage and detoxification are:
- Wild garlic.
Therapy for malignant skin growths
If you suspect melanoma or basalioma, a dermatologist should be consulted immediately. The faster the therapy begins, the better the chances of recovery. The main form of treatment is the surgical removal of the skin tumor. When removing, the surgeon ensures that there is a sufficient safety distance of one to two centimeters. From a tumor thickness of 0.75 to 1 millimeter, the so-called sentinel lymph nodes are also removed. If the tumor has already metastasized, the chances of recovery are rather slim. Among other things, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are used to extend the lifespan.
Therapy of keloids has proven to be very difficult in practice. Surgical removal alone does not make sense, since a keloid often forms again in the scar area after the operation. To prevent relapse, patients are also given corticosteroids. Local injection of corticosteroids is currently the most common method of treating keloid scars. The drug is said to slow down excessive collagen production in the skin cells. Local pressure can also reduce the size of the scar as part of a compression treatment after a longer therapy period.
Hildegard von Bingen's violet cream is also suitable for natural scar treatment. In addition to the fresh, blooming violet herb, it also contains essential rose oil. Other essential oils such as lavender, rock rose, geranium or chamomile can also be used for scar care. Another home remedy is apple cider vinegar. The keloid should be gently massaged with apple cider vinegar for two minutes every day. The vinegar can counteract skin irritation. Sodium is believed to have an anti-inflammatory and cleansing effect.
Medicinal plants for healthy skin
Various medicinal plants can generally have a positive effect on skin health. Aloe vera is one of these plants. The fresh gel from the leaves of the plant has an immune-boosting and immune-stimulating effect. It can also promote wound healing.
The pansy (Viola arvensis) is also known as a skin plant. For external use, three grams of dried pansy herb are poured over with a cup of boiling water. After a brewing period of ten minutes, the brew can then be used for dressings or washes. For the highest possible active ingredient content, it is advisable to obtain the herb in pharmacopoeia quality. The witch hazel (witch hazel) has an anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant and contracting effect. It mainly contains tannins, alkanes and aldehydes. Just like the pansy, the witch hazel can be used for envelopes and washes.
Like inside, so outside
Naturopathy always stands for a holistic view of a disease. The general principle here is: "As inside, so outside!". Paracelsus and Hippocrates already believed that skin problems are linked to pathological processes inside. A purely external treatment therefore does not meet the requirements of traditional medicine. Ideally, treatment of skin growths always involves the entire body. Frequently used therapy methods are:
- phytotherapy (herbal medicine),
- traditional drainage therapies such as cupping or bloodletting,
- nutritional therapy,
- Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) or Ayurveda,
- orthomolecular medicine.
From a psychosomatic point of view, the skin is our outer shell. It delimits your own self from the outside world and protects you from external influences. Stress, tension and various other psychological factors can weaken this protective cover and make it susceptible to pathological changes. Relaxing therapy methods such as autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga or meditation can help to achieve more balance and inner balance. This is then mostly reflected in the exterior. (fp)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters
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