Can skin cancer look like a pimple?

Skin cancers come in many shapes, sizes and colours, so they can often be difficult to distinguish from normal freckles, moles and blemishes. Sometimes, skin cancers can even mimic other common skin problems like rashes and pimples. In particular, a serious form of skin cancer called nodular melanoma can often look very similar to a pimple. Nodular melanomas are a firm, raised bump which are usually red, brown or skin coloured. They can sometimes be misdiagnosed as a harmless pimple. However, the main difference is that nodular melanomas will typically be firm or hard to the touch, whereas pimples tend to be soft.

Melanomas can grow very fast and, if left untreated, can be fatal. It is therefore very important to regular monitor your own skin for signs of skin cancer and regularly see a professional for a skin cancer check at least once a year.

If you notice any new, changing or unusual bumps, lumps, freckles, moles or blemishes, get it checked as soon as you can. If you have any sore or blemish – including anything that resembles acne – and it doesn’t heal within a reasonable time, this can be a symptom of skin cancer and you need to seek a professional assessment.

When checking your own skin for signs of skin cancer in between regular skin checks, look out for the ABCDEF symptoms of melanoma.