Sebaceous hyperplasia on the forehead and cheeks can look very much like a basal cell carcinoma. These small papules have a central depression and a uniform white lobular surface. A dermal nevus (mole) on the face can look exactly like a basal cell carcinoma. These benign growths may have no pigmentation and show the characteristic small blood vessels on the surface found in basal cell carcinoma. Molluscum contagiosum has a central depression. Seborrheic keratoses usually have horn pearls projecting from the surface. Irritated seborrheic keratoses are diagnostic problems and need to be histologically examined. Melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma are also included in the differential diagnosis.
Superficial basal cell carcinoma on the trunk can look like tinea corporis, nummular eczema, psoriasis and superficial spreading melanoma.