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Facial Lesions

A facial lesion can be the result of various physiological processes but perhaps the most common ones are referred to as birthmarks. These marks can form on any part of the body and are usually not of much concern unless they occur on the face.

Birthmarks, as the name suggests, are already formed before the infant is born. Other types of facial lesions, such as those caused by acne or rosacea, develop later in life.

Common facial skin lesions include moles, birthmarks, scars, acne and rosacea. A birthmark (nevus) is simply a mole—a brownish cluster of melanocytes—or a reddish cluster of small blood vessels. The blood vessel clusters often disappear shortly after birth, but they can also persist for a lifetime. Moles, being extremely common, usually become an accepted part of our appearance, but scars, especially facial scars, are more difficult to accept.

Macules, tiny flat spots of color on the skin, are often viewed as blemishes. But, like most skin marks, macules are a result of natural processes and cause no health concerns.

Pigmented Lesions

Pigmented lesions are usually tan or brown marks caused by a concentration of melanin, produced by the skin as a protection against the sun’s ultraviolet rays. This type of facial lesion is usually referred to as a mole. Such lesions are extremely common; most people have between 10 and 40 of them on their body. Pigmented lesions vary widely in color and shape as well as size. They can be either flat or raised. Pigmented lesions are almost always not a medical concern.

Vascular Lesions

One type of birthmark is known as a vascular lesion and is caused by an abnormality in the growth of blood vessels. Although most vascular lesions are formed before birth, some develop later in life when the body is changing, such as during pregnancy or puberty. Sometimes called “port wine stains,” vascular lesions are flat pink or red areas that may turn purple with age. Sometimes they grow larger to form a bump. Another type of vascular lesion is caused by a collection of veins and appears as thin, blue lines.

Acne & Rosacea Lesions

Facial lesions caused by acne and rosacea are the result of loss of skin tissue or a build-up of collagen to repair torn skin tissue. The pimples, pustules and cysts that form during acne often tear the skin. To repair the tears, our skin over-produces a protein called collagen. The excess collagen builds up as scar tissue that forms a bump on the skin. Deeper cysts often cause the supporting skin structure to collapse around the affected area. Because collagen does not fill in this deeper layer, a small depression forms in the skin.


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