Known also as “beauty marks”, occasionally these beauties can become a life threatening danger. Color, tone, margins and location – these are the factors that will determine if a mole is in fact a beauty mark, or there is an indication for having it examined. At the cusp of another sunny summer, here is all you need to know about skin moles.
What are skin moles?
A skin mole is a mark on the skin, a bump which may appear in childhood, or at any time in the course of our lives. When it is healthy and normal – it is round or elliptical, and its color may vary between pink and dark brown (in any case its color should be uniform). The mole’s color is determined by the amount of the
pigment in the skin – the melanin. Another sign that a mole is normal is that some hairs may grow from it.
When does it require attention?
Under certain conditions skin moles may become a source of bad news. Therefore, we should be alert and monitor our skin moles, to notice if a change occurs in any one of them. Any change of this sort should send us directly to have it checked. An examination will diagnose our condition, and may, at times, lead to
of skin cancer (melanoma) at its early stage, when it could be treated more easily.
A changing mole – a bad sign
The signs that a mole is turning, or has turned to be malignant are as follows:
• When the mole is no longer round or elliptical but has irregular and undefined margins.
• When its color is not uniform, but changing – blue, pink and all shades of brown.
• When the skin mole is no longer small (a malignant skin mole may reach about 5 mm.
• When the mole is bleeding – a skin mole turning into a wound which does not heal, but bleeds.
• When a new mole appears – a mole that was not there before.
Who is at risk? How can we monitor and follow up?
There is no alternative to becoming familiar with your own body – and even with skin spots and skin moles it is important to listen to your body, to become familiar with it and take pictures of each mole or beauty mark, to make sure there is no change of color, shape or size.
As always, those with fair skin – blonds and redheads are in a special risk group, their moles should be monitored and followed up every six months. People who were exposed as children to the blistering sun and suffered from sun burns – should also be regularly monitored.
People born with multiple skin moles are under a higher risk of skin cancer, they too should be under observation and follow up.
Another group of high risk are people with a family history of skin cancer, since this disease also has a hereditary component.
Treatment of skin moles
Treatment of skin mole includes follow up and if needed, dissection of any mole suspected of being cancerous (including sending it to biopsy in order to ascertain if it is malignant or not). Beyond the various exams and treatments the best way to maintain your health is to avoid exposure to the sun as much as possible,
wear a hat, and apply a high SPF sunscreen lotion.
What are the usual treatments to remove a skin mole?
Similarly to facial treatments, removal of a skin mole can also be done in a number of ways, according to various considerations such as its depth and its location.
Surgical removal – a procedure suitable mainly for deep and complex skin nevi, when the mole is dissected and removed. Following this procedure a small scar will remain, and the recovery time is longer than with other treatments.
Electric burning (electrocoagulation) – – the removal old skin moles using a special electric needle which burns the nevus until it is removed. This type of treatment may cause skin spots.
Dissection of a skin mole with laser – the most common and the most effective method at the present, mostly suitable to remove surface beauty marks. The removal of skin moles using laser is performed without the need for cutting or suturing the skin, therefore, treating scars after laser removal of moles is very rare. This
is the classic solution for benign moles since it is not possible to perform a biopsy.
The treatment is performed under local anesthesia, during which the nevus is burned and removed. Though removal of moles with laser may cause a skin burn, the burning sensation soon disappears and you can return immediately to your daily routine.
Does the removal of moles and beauty marks cause a scar?
The removal of moles and beauty marks leaves a scar that fades with time. However, take into account that if the mole is located in a more prominent place (in the facial area, for example), the scar will be more obvious. Especially in cases like this, scar treatment depends heavily on the skill of an experienced
dermatologist, who removes the mole delicately and professionally.
What is the treatment that is most appropriate for you? You will get the answers (and the best results) from an experienced dermatologist.