A dermatofibroma is a round, brownish to purple growth commonly found on the arms and legs. Dermatofibromas contain scar-like tissue and feel like hard lumps in the skin. They are harmless and not cancerous. Sometimes, if the diagnosis is not certain, a portion of the lesion may be removed for tissue analysis (biopsy). When a dermatofibroma becomes bothersome, such as getting in the way of leg shaving or being irritated by clothing, it can be flattened with simple office treatment to destroy the upper part of the growth or be completely removed by cutting the lesion out. Occasionally, the dermatofibroma after some years may again become noticeable. Usually, any regrowth is slight and can be handled by additional treatments. If there is any unusual change or marked regrowth of a dermatofibroma, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Dermatofibromas are benign tumors of the skin that have the following characteristics:

  • Often on the extremities.
  • Firm, hyperpigmented dome-shaped papules.
  • May be tan to pink in patients with lightly pigmented skin.
  • Peripheral rim of darkening pigment is common.


We do not know why people grow dermatofibromas, although it has been proven that they are not hereditary. Some may be caused by insect bites or other small injuries.

Risk Factors

Dermatofibromas are typically found in young to middle age adults, those in their twenties and thirties. Also, they are seen much more often in women than in men.

While they are usually only seen on legs, dermatofibromas can be found at any place on the body. They are commonly found in women and are usually very small in diameter as they are often less than a centimeter. Normally, only one will appear on the body, while it is possible to have several. They can be different colors, usually pink or brown. Dermatofibromas have a rubber-like feel to them and are felt under the skin. Like most skin abrasions, they itch or cause slight discomfort if they are touched or bumped. Since they are commonly found on the legs, they often bleed when they are shaved over.


If a person is worried about a bump like this, a dermatologist should be able to diagnose it visibly. While they are not often harmful, dermatofibromas ca be removed surgically to determine if it is a cancerous bump on the person’s body.



Treatment is not often necessary for dermatofibromas, as some disappear with time. However, if treatment or removal is necessary or desired, there are a few ways that it can be done. Intra-lesional steroid injections are one option, but it will only reduce the size of the bump. Cryotherapy, cryosurgery, lasers, and removal are all options of treatment, but all of them will leave a scar where the dermatofibroma once was.


American Academy of Dermatology The British Association of Dermatologists


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