Skin Lesions on face? Causes, Treatment & Pictures

Skin lesions refer to that part of the skin that appears discolored or patchy, making it stand out from the rest of the skin. Usually, it is either primary or secondary. Primary skin lesions can exist from birth in the form of birthmarks, moles, etc, or can appear secondary to infections or other underlying skin conditions. 

Secondary skin lesions, on the other hand, are any modification in the appearance of the primary skin lesions that may be due to external aggravation, environmental factors, genetics, or more. For instance, if you scratch a mole and it forms a  crusted ulcer, that is when a primary skin lesion turns into a secondary skin lesion. Now, while skin lesions on any other area may not exactly feel like an issue, facial lesions are a problem. 

In this blog, we will help you familiarize yourself with facial lesions, the causes and symptoms, and the treatment that you can get from your dermatologist for the same.

Facial lesions: What are the Causes and Symptoms?

Skin lesions on face can happen due to many reasons. Most of these are certain skin conditions that happen primarily on the face. Take a look at the following.

Dermatosis papulosa Nigra

Facial lesions due to Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra

This is a common skin condition that leads to the formation of facial lesions. It happens in those with darker skin tones. This skin condition starts to form when a person hits adolescence. Mostly, it is a harmless condition and doesn’t require any intervention unless for cosmetic concerns.  

Symptoms of Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra

This condition can be identified by the following:

  • It occurs in large numbers at the same time

  • You can see the spots on the cheeks and forehead

  • It is seen in the adolescent  age group but can also be seen in adults

  • The lesion is not rough and has a smooth texture

Milia (Tiny) Epidermoid Cysts

 Facial lesions due to Milia epidermoid cysts

This is a skin condition that leads to specific white to yellow papule-like facial lesions. These lesions occur below the uppermost layer of the skin. These lesions are 1-2 mm in size.

While these are tiny in size, a full-fledged epidermoid cyst can vary in size and even grow up to the size of a golf ball. Milia epidermoid cysts are quite tiny and can also occur in infants. The cyst or resultant facial lesions is quite small and like a pore and has a yellow substance that is the dead keratin which could not be exfoliated by the natural skin exfoliation process.  You can even think of it as a tiny blackhead, only, it is like skin lesions on face and needs to be treated accordingly, as suggested by the dermatologist.

Symptoms of Milia (tiny) Epidermoid Cysts

This facial lesions condition can be identified by the following:

  • Yellow facial lesions that are 1-2mm in length

  • Can be extracted without scarring

  • These can be long-lasting if not treated

  • The cysts can happen on the genitalia, forehead, cheeks, and eyelids

Capillary Haemangiomas

Facial lesions due to Capillary Haemangiomas

These are also known as ‘strawberry birthmarks.’ Capillary haemangiomas occur due to the clumping of tiny blood vessels and thus causes benign facial lesions near the eye. This usually occurs in infants and toddlers. It may start at the age of six months and may go on until 15 months, which is when it starts to fade.

Symptoms of Capillary Haemangiomas

Here’s how you can identify Capillary Haemangiomas in babies:

  • The affected skin becomes lumpy in texture and red in color

  • The lesion starts to grow quite quickly but then starts to slowly fade away

  • It is more common in male babies

  • It tends to resolve on its own after reaching the maximum size by age 6-12 months

Naevi (moles)

Facial lesions due to Naevi

This is a classic case of primary skin lesions on face. Naevi is the scientific term for a mole. Moles, in general, are there on the skin at the time of birth and can happen due to genetic preponderance spontaneously. When melanocyte cells form a cluster, they form a mole. In most cases, moles are benign and do not pose any harm. However, if you notice any change in the size or color of it, or if it starts to hurt, then it's time to worry and consult a dermatologist. If ignored, it may undergo malignant change although it is rare. 

For your convenience, we are separating the symptoms of normal moles and cancerous moles so that you know when to reach out for medical help.

Symptoms of a normal mole:

  • These have a smooth texture

  • These moles have clean edges

  • They do not change in size or color over time

  • These moles have an approximate size (diameter) of 6mm

Symptoms of a cancerous mole:

Note that if you notice any of the following symptoms, immediately seek medical attention.

  • Your mole starts to appear larger

  • You notice a change in color

  • The mole starts to change shape and has jagged edges

  • If there is no symmetry (normal moles are supposed to be round or oval

  • If you notice any crusting on or around the mole

  • The mole is raising or becoming thick

  • There is itching and bleeding around the mole

  • Your mole or the skin around it is burning

Any of the aforementioned symptoms are a cause for worry. Seek help from a dermatologist, in that case.


Facial lesions due to Papilloma

This is the medical term used for a type of skin tumor. It is identified by its finger-like projections. Even though it means a tumor of the skin, a papilloma is usually benign and nothing to worry about. However, very rarely it may undergo malignant changes and lead to skin cancer. You need to check out and identify the symptoms and know which category yours falls into. A precancerous papilloma is known as dysplastic and a cancerous one is called a malignant one.

Symptoms of papilloma

Here’s how you can identify this facial lesions condition:

  • This one typically occurs on the face (eyes, nose, mouth) or the genitals 

  • Visually, it looks like flat warts

  • It can either be rough or smooth in texture

  • It occurs in the form of clusters that can either painful or painless

Given the unpredictability of papilloma, it is important to get it checked by a dermatologist so that you know whether it is benign or malignant. If benign, there is no problem. If malignant, early detection can get you treatment and save you from any further damage.

Seborrheic Keratosis

Facial lesions due to Papilloma

These are the kind of facial lesions that are light or dark brown or even black and are usually harmless. These are benign and do not lead to cancer of any sort. However, it is aesthetically unappealing and can also lead to irritation on the skin. It is quite easy to get Seborrheic Keratosis facial lesions removed surgically if your dermatologist suggests so and you do not have any other contraindication.

Symptoms of Seborrheic Keratosis

Following are some of the symptoms of this kind of facial lesions condition:

  • The affected area of skin is waxy and scaly in texture

  • Its color ranges from light brown and tan to dark brown and black

  • It mostly occurs in older age groups 

  • These facial lesions occur in clusters (multiple numbers)

  • It looks like it has been pasted on the face


 Facial lesions due to Fibroma

This one is also known as a fibroid tumor. These are benign or harmless tumors that are made up of connective tissues (fibrous tissues). Again, this can cause facial lesions as it mostly occurs on cheeks, around the mouth, around the nose, or even on the cheeks. Fibromas can also appear on the feet, causing other forms of skin lesions.

Symptoms of Fibromas

Following are the symptoms via which you can recognize a fibroma

  • The facial lesions appear in the form of papules on the cheeks and the nose

  • The papules  may be itchy or sensitive to touch

  • The lesions are usually solitary but multiple may also occur

Sebaceous Hyperplasia

This is typically a skin condition wherein the sebum is trapped in the glands. This leads to the enlarging of the sebaceous glands, thus creating shiny bumps and lumps in the form of facial lesions. Again, these are benign. However, many people wish to treat this and get it removed for cosmetic reasons. 

Symptoms of Sebaceous Hyperplasia

Here’s how you can identify these types of facial lesions:

  • These are quite small dome-shaped papules that have a central indent

  • They do not bleed or crust

  • These facial lesions or papules occur normally on the forehead

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Facial lesions due to Sebaceous Hyperplasia

This is a serious condition that may lead to facial lesions. But that is the least of your concern. This type of skin cancer develops slowly over time due to excessive and repeated exposure to the sun. Squamous Cell Carcinoma or SCC as it is popularly known can happen if you are exposed to the sun for a long time or even regularly visit tanning parlors. It grows slowly but steadily and requires medical or surgical intervention. You should immediately consult a dermatologist as soon as you notice any facial lesion suggestive of SCC. Since it is a form of skin cancer, it is better to catch and treat it soon.

Symptoms of Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

Following are the symptoms of SCC:

  • The facial lesions are in the form of crusted ulcers or raised nodular lesions. 

  • These look like red nodules

  • The nodules can form an open sore that may further bleed

Solar Lentigo

This is one form of facial lesions that most of you must be familiar with. Solar Lentigo is a medical term for age spots or sun spots that happen due to prolonged and excessive exposure to the sun. Mostly, there is no treatment required for Solar Lentigo. However, this condition makes the skin extremely sensitive and the patients are required to exercise extra caution, especially when stepping out into the sun. If you have sun spots, consult a dermatologist and know what is the prescribed course of action for you. Reason being, if left unattended, sun spots may undergo malignant transformation.

Symptoms of Solar Lentigo

Following are some of the symptoms that will help you identify the condition:

  • The facial lesions happen in the form of dark patches or flat spots

  • These occur on the face, arms, and shoulders

  • They vary in size; can be as small as a freckle and can even be as large as 13-14mm

  • These facial lesions can occur discreetly or clump together.


Yes, something as basic as acne can also be the reason for facial lesions. Usual acne can be treated with a good skincare regimen and products. However, if your acne is unusually large, constantly bleeding or filled with pus, or even painful, it is recommended that you consult a dermatologist.

Acne is usually benign in nature. But it may leave scars if left unattended. It is important to consult a specialist. Also, do not touch or try to clear it on your own.

Symptoms of Acne

Everyone knows how it is, but we will still try to list down a few identifying factors

  • It usually occurs on face, shoulders, chest, etc

  • Acne, if left untreated or if burst by own can leave behind ugly and permanent scars

  • It can range from pimples and blackheads to large and painful nodules

Cold Sore

These are the facial lesions that happen due to a variety of reasons, a few of them being menstruation, hormonal changes, stress, etc. It can also happen due to certain illnesses.  

It is not harmful in nature, although it can be uncomfortable and painful. Not to forget that the facial lesions are in the form of red clusters that do not look good.

Symptoms of Cold Sore

Following are some of the symptoms by which you can identify it:

  • These are red and painful blisters

  • These can either be genital or oral

  • The visibility of cold sores comes after inflammation on the affected area

  • It often occurs in clusters with watery fluid oozing out of the vesicles.

  • It mostly appears near the lips or around the mouth.

Actinic Keratosis

This is also a form of skin condition or facial lesions that occur due to prolonged and continuous exposure to the sun. Face, lips, ears, etc are the areas that are affected as lesions in the form of rough and scaly patches occur. It can also affect the scalp and can happen on the back of the hands.

How to identify it? Let us tell you.

Symptoms of Actinic Keratosis

Following are the key symptoms that will help you identify the condition and seek help from a dermatologist, accordingly:

  • The facial lesions can be yellow, pink, grey, brown, or tan in color

  • It appears on areas that are exposed to sun, like face and hands

  • It is thick, scaly and in the form of a crusted patch

  • It can be the size of a pencil eraser


This condition forms facial lesions in mostly babies and children. It is a serious bacterial infection and is quite harmful. It needs to be treated by a dermatologist as soon as identified. Most dermatologists recommend antibiotics to stop the infection from spreading.

Symptoms of Impetigo

Here’s how you can identify if the child is having facial lesions due to Impetigo:

  • The rashes can cause a burning or itching sensation

  • The facial lesions are located near the mouth

  • It can even be found near the chin

  • The lesions form a honey-colored crusty layer

  • The blisters are filled with fluid and pop easily

  • Facial lesions can even be in the form of rashes

Facial Lesions: Types of Treatment

Before the dermatologist suggests any kind of treatment, you need to be ready with your medical history and any kind of drug usage, whether in the past or in the present. This will help the dermatologist prescribe just the right drugs, something that does not interact or react adversely with your body.

Once that is done, the doctor will inspect the facial lesions to identify the root cause. This means they will check the symptoms and see if they fall in any of the categories and causes that we have already discussed. Depending on the seriousness of the condition and the discomfort of the patient, the requisite course of action will be taken. While benign facial lesions can be done away with oral medicines and ointments, cancerous ones will require extensive treatment and surgical intervention depending on the extent of spread.

There are usually three main courses of treatments that a dermatologist would recommend, depending on the seriousness of the condition; medications, surgical procedures, or home care. 

Facial Lesions: Home Remedies

Let’s discuss home remedies first in the case of facial lesions. Note that these home remedies should only be pursued after due consultation with a dermatologist. In no way do we recommend any sort of self medication. Home remedies are good, but they should help  you and not aggravate your condition. That is only possible if you consult a dermatologist first who can tell you whether or not to go for such natural treatments.

Home remedies for facial lesions are usually for symptomatic relief, rather than a complete cure. Following are the things you can try, after due consultation.

  • Try using oatmeal as an ingredient in your bathing rituals as it soothes the skin

  • Wear loose clothes that do not cause chaffing

  • Regularly moisturize your skin to avoid dryness and itching

  • Avoid harsh chemicals and ingredients such as alcohol and parabens that dry up the skin and cause further irritation

  • Apply sunscreen whenever you step out

Apart from these, keep yourself hydrated and eat fruits rich in antioxidants and vegetables to keep the nutrition quotient high. It will at least keep your basic acne issues at bay so that you do not get benign facial lesions. It will also save you from getting sun-related skin issues.

Facial Lesions: Over the Counter

This is often the first-line of treatment recommended by the dermatologists. There are certain topical and over-the-counter medications available, either in the form of ingestive capsules/tablets or even ointments. These contain soothing ingredients that reduce the irritation and inflammation of the facial lesions. Stronger medications may also contain skin-repairing ingredients to reverse the damage and do away with the marks.

In case your lesions happen due to more serious conditions, the dermatologist may recommend an even more extensive course of oral medications, combined with topical creams and ointments.

Facial Lesions: Professional Treatment

Dermatologists intervene with professional and surgical treatments when the facial lesions are aesthetically difficult to be treated with topical creams alone.. It is also the recommended course of action if the lesions pose an even greater threat, such as cancer. For instance, if your moles have been changing in size and color, it may be an indication of skin cancer. In such cases, it needs to be removed surgically, followed up with the prescribed treatment.

Another example is hemangioma, which is a vascular tumor seen in infants. It may seem benign but is a proliferation of underlying deformed blood vessels. Thus, it needs  medical attention and routine observation.

In any case, do not decide for yourself whether or not you need professional treatment. Consult a dermatologist and let them decide what the course of treatment should be.

Facial Lesions: Prevention

The best way to prevent facial lesions is by being aware of how your skin and marks are changing. Any discoloration or discomfort is your body’s way of telling you that everything is not right. Further, a good way to avoid lesions, at least the benign ones, is by taking good care of your body and skin, both inside and out. This means you should have the recommended food, hydrate yourself properly, and apply the right products with clean and non-carcinogenic ingredients. Also, we cannot stress enough the importance of sun protection. Apply sunscreen whenever you step out, whether or not you can see the sun.

Facial Lesions: The Bottomline

Facial lesions can happen to anyone. There are multiple causes for the same, as we have already mentioned. But it can be treated if caught in time. That works two ways; firstly, you should be aware of your own body, and secondly, know the right source of medical information. 

In today’s day and time when we are already suffering from a pandemic and social distancing is a mandate, do we run around looking for a trusted dermatologist? No. We keep them accessible in our pocket, the smart and mobile way. SkyMD is your friend here. Download the app and register for free, and get consultation anytime and anywhere from the world’s best dermatologists. Get diagnosed over video chats or texts with media and get instant prescriptions

With SkyMD, it’s time to be smart about your skin. Download the app now.


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