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Reasons for these raised bumps and when they need to be treated.
An illustration of a girl from the chest up facing forward. There are two dark brown round shapes on her left cheek, and the rest of her skin is light peach-toned. She has shoulder length blond hair and is wearing a light blue spotted shirt with a lighter blue collar.
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Written by William Fix, MD.
Resident in Dermatology, Montefiore Med Ctr/Einstein-NY
Last updated April 25, 2024

Dermatofibroma quiz

Take a quiz to find out if you have dermatofibroma.

Care Plan


First steps to consider

  • Dermatofibromas do not need to be treated, but you should monitor any new bump for changes in color, shape, or discharge.

When you may need a provider

  • The bump is growing or changing in color or shape, or there is a discharge.
  • You want to get it removed because of the way it looks or it’s bothering you.
See care providers

What is a dermatofibroma?

A dermatofibroma is a harmless, non-cancerous, overgrowth of skin cells called fibroblasts. It may also be called a cutaneous fibrous histiocytoma.

Dermatofibromas are small, usually painless, raised bumps. They can be flesh colored, tan, brown, or reddish-pink. They grow most commonly on the lower legs and they affect women more often than men, according to an article in Histopathology.

Dr. Rx

Dermatofibromas are the second most common fibrous lesion of the skin. The most common is a skin tag. —Dr. Mollie MacCormack

They may appear after a minor skin trauma, like a cut or bug bite. Usually, they develop over time, growing slowly until they reach less than 1 cm (about ¼ inch) in size.

On rare occasions, larger lesions do occur, but dermatofibromas larger than 1 cm should be evaluated by a doctor.

While dermatofibromas are not cancerous, it’s a good idea to get any new skin growth checked by your doctor.

A dermatofibroma will not go away on its own, but it can be removed by a doctor if you wish.

Most common symptoms

Pro Tip

Most often, patients notice a new, small bump on their leg. But it can be on other areas of the body. —Dr. MacCormack

Dermatofibromas are raised, firm bumps that are usually less than 1 cm in diameter, but on occasion can be larger.

They can be pinkish in light-skinned individuals, or tan or brown in people with darker skin. And are usually painless, though itching, irritation, or bleeding may occur, especially if they get frequently brushed by clothing or zippers or nicked while shaving.

A dermatofibroma may form a small dimple in the middle when you pinch it. This is called the “dimple sign.”

Main symptoms

  • Firm raised papule
  • 5mm to 1cm diameter
  • Pink, tan, or brown
  • Painless, but may itch or feel irritating
  • May have a dimple sign when squeezed

Why do I get dermatofibromas?

There is no clear reason why some people develop a dermatofibroma. They occur when skin cells called fibroblasts overgrow, forming a bump. But the reasons why this occurs aren't entirely clear.

One theory is that a dermatofibroma is a “reactive growth.” This means it occurs as a response to something, which could be mild skin trauma like an insect bite or cut.

Women are more likely than men to develop them.

People with a weakened immune system, such as those with other illnesses like lupus, may be more likely to develop this growth.

Next steps

If you detect a new bump on your skin that doesn’t go away, it is always important to have it checked out by a doctor to make sure it’s not a skin cancer.

A doctor can confirm the diagnosis by using a special magnifying glass called a dermascope. They may also take a tiny tissue sample, called a biopsy, to examine under a microscope.

Once it’s diagnosed, you can discuss your treatment options with your doctor. You can leave it alone, or get it removed.

Treatment of dermatofibromas

Pro Tip

Tell your doctor if the lesion is large, growing rapidly, or has ill-defined margins. It could be dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, a form of skin cancer. —Dr. MacCormack

A dermatofibroma does not require treatment. Some people find it irritating or unattractive and want to get it removed. A dermatologist can usually perform this procedure in-office under local anesthesia.


Your dermatologist will use a local anesthesia to numb the area so you won’t feel it. Using a scalpel, an oval-shaped incision will be made around the lesion so that it is removed in its entirety.

If a dermatofibroma is not removed completely (for example if a shave removal clears the top of the lesion only) it will often grow back. Once the dermatofibroma is removed, the doctor will close the wound with stitches.

Your doctor will give you post-procedure directions, which are important to follow to reduce the risk of abnormal scarring. This includes keeping the wound clean and dry, and moisturized with vaseline

You should follow up with your doctor for removal of stitches if necessary.

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The stories shared below are not written by Buoy employees. Buoy does not endorse any of the information in these stories. Whenever you have questions or concerns about a medical condition, you should always contact your doctor or a healthcare provider.
Dr. MacCormack is a board-certified dermatologist and the Director of Mohs Surgery / Procedural Dermatology for Solution Health. She graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University and attended the University of Massachusetts Medical School where she was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and received both the Janet M. Glasgow Memorial Award and Janet M. Glasgow American M...
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