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Common Skin Lesions

There are hundreds of diseases of the skin, and Norris Dermatology in Portland, OR, specializes in diagnosing and treating these common skin lesions. While most aren’t serious, they can cause symptoms that range from mildly annoying to extremely painful. Fortunately, help is available. If you’re dealing with discoloration, a rash, bumps or other skin issues and you live in the Portland area, schedule an appointment with our board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Patricia Norris, for testing and treatment.

What Are Skin Lesions?

A skin lesion is any type of abnormal lump, bump, rash, blister, sore or ulcer, as well as any crusty, scaly or discolored areas on the skin. Dermatologists classify these as either primary or secondary skin lesions.

Primary: Present at birth or acquired it over a lifetime.

Secondary: The result of irritating a primary lesion, such as the crust that forms on a mole that has been scratched until it bled.


The good news is that most skin lesions are benign, which means they don’t cause cancer.

Most often, they’re caused by a fungal or viral infection on or in the skin, such as with warts or the herpes simplex virus, which causes cold sores.

Skin lesions that appear in multiple areas can be caused by systemic infections, which affect the entire body, such as chicken pox.

Genetics can be a factor too, such as with freckles and moles, as well as with birthmarks, which are present at birth.

Still other causes include an allergic reaction, autoimmune conditions like lupus, fungal infections and diseases such as diabetes.

Common Types of Skin Lesions

Dermatologists are specialists in skin health and diseases, and we diagnose and treat a wide range of skin lesions, including:


Dr. Norris will examine the lesion and discuss any symptoms that may be present. A small amount of the skin may need to be scraped off and examined under a microscope. In some cases, testing such as a skin biopsy or lab tests on a swab sample from the affected area may be used to confirm a diagnosis.


Treatment of skin lesions depends on their cause and can include oral or topical medications to relieve symptoms such as itching and to help fight infection. Some lesions may need to be surgically removed and some, like cysts, may need to be lanced and drained.

You can learn more about common skin lesions at American Academy of Dermatology. Call 503-227-7117 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Norris.

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