By Gary M. White, MD

It is very common for people to develop a single, red, inflamed papule or papulonodule. The face is a common location. Rarely is this cancer. Acne, a bug bite, folliculitis, ruptured cyst etc., all may be found. Watchful waiting for a few weeks usually allows for the lesion to resolve spontaneously. There is no hard and fast rule, but single lesions growing past say a month should be considered for a biopsy to rule out squamous cell carcinoma.


Epidermal inclusion cyst, ruptured.
Acne cyst

Bug Bite A red plaque on the forehead for 6 weeks (biopsy-proven).
Insect Bites


Moles may occasionally become inflamed. This patient presented with a mole that had suddenly changed--in this case more red and tender. Biopsy showed intradermal nevus with acute folliculitis.
Changing mole: Intradermal nevus with acute folliculitis

Squamous Cell Carcinoma The SCC usually develops a central keratoitic core. It is more common in the older patient on sun-damaged skin.
squamous cell carcinoma


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