Moles - Diagnosis & Treatment
A mole is a growth on the skin. Most moles are benign, but they can turn cancerous.
People can be born with moles, or they can develop moles over the course of their lives. It’s important to be aware of what moles you have and where they are located.
Although you don’t generally need to worry about moles, any changes in the mole’s appearance should be brought to the attention of your dermatologist at Signature Dermatology and Aesthetics. In particular, look for changes in color and/or size.
Sometimes moles can occur in areas of the body that negatively impact appearance or self-esteem, such as on the face. Mole removal is available, even when the mole poses no health risk.
Have a suspicious-looking mole? Our skilled dermatologists can screen the mole and your skin for malignancy concerns and discuss removal options.
What are the Symptoms of Moles?
On average, a person is likely to have as few as 10 to as many as 40 moles on the body. Most moles develop by age 50 and may disappear or change in appearance over time.
Moles can appear anywhere on the body. While the typical mole is simply a brown spot on the skin, other indicators of a mole include:
- Color and texture. While most moles are brown, they can also be black, tan, red, or even blue-ish or pink.
- Shape. They may be oval or round, and may have one or more hairs growing from them.
- Size. Moles vary in size, but many are no larger than the size of a pencil eraser.
Types of Moles
There are three types of skin moles:
Your dermatologist at Signature Dermatology and Aesthetics will alert you to any suspicious moles. You should never attempt self-diagnosis on a mole.
A common mole is also known as a normal mole, and is a small growth with the colors, sizes, and shapes described earlier.
Congenital moles are moles that are present at birth. Affecting about one in every 100 individuals, these moles can be much larger, sometimes covering large areas of the torso, face, or a limb. Unfortunately, these moles have a greater risk of becoming cancerous.
Dysplastic moles, which are hereditary, are larger and shaped more irregularly than normal moles. Typically, if you have dysplastic moles, you likely have in excess of 100 moles on your body.
What Causes Moles?
Skin moles arise when skin cells grow in clusters. These cells, known as melanocytes, are found throughout your skin and produce melanin, the pigment that colors your skin.
Various complications can result for some people who have moles, such as:
- Having very large moles
- Having too many moles
- Having moles of irregular shapes or textures
When any of these complications occur, you run the risk of developing melanoma or other types of skin cancer.
Should you have a mole that is giving you problems or has changed its size, shape, and texture recently, don't ignore it. Contact your dermatologist at Signature Dermatology and Aesthetics right away to schedule a thorough examination of your skin and moles.