A dermal lesion refers to any change in the normal condition of the skin. Dermal lesions, or skin lesions, can be grouped into two categories: primary and secondary lesions. A primary dermal lesion is an abnormality that has been present from birth or acquired later in life. Secondary lesions occur when a primary lesion changes as a result of being manipulated, treated, or in relation to the progression of any underlying condition or infectious process, such as candidiasis, herpes zoster, herpes simplex or impetigo.
Dermal lesions can be caused by any of a large variety of factors. The tendency to develop benign lesions such as freckles, birthmarks and moles is often inherited. Viral, bacterial, or fungal infection of the skin is often the culprit in cases of acquired dermal lesions. In cases of contact dermatitis, allergic reactions to environmental factors can lead to dermal lesions. In the extreme case of diseases like chicken pox and small pox, the characteristic dermal lesions that form as a result are often used to recognize the disease. The same is true for many skin cancers that have the characteristics or shape.
Complications of dermal lesions depend predominantly on the initial cause of the defect. The most common complication is permanent change to the condition of the skin, such as discoloration or scarring, however, complications of certain lesions can be life-threatening.
Treatment of dermal lesions depend heavily on the type and cause of the lesion. Treatments range from topical applications for less severe cases, to oral medications in the case of systemic infections. In some cases, surgical removal of the lesion may be required, which is often accomplished either by curettage, cryotherapy, or laser therapy.
Brooks I. Secondary bacterial infections complicating skin lesions. J Med Microbiol. 2002;51(10):808-812. http://jmm.sgmjournals.org/content/51/10/808.full. Accessed May 31, 2018.
Williams G, Katcher M. Primary Care Dermatology Module Nomenclature of Skin Lesions. The University of Wisconsin Madison. http://www.pediatrics.wisc.edu/education/derm/text.html. Accessed May 31, 2018.