Most people have between 10 and 40 moles scattered across their skin, giving them a one-of-a-kind configuration of skin spots. To ensure your moles aren’t cancerous, dermatologists Allan Mineroff, MD, Kristen Foering, MD, MTR, and Erin Santa, MD, FAAD, provide comprehensive skin evaluations at Allan Mineroff, MD, PC, in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Learn more about moles and warning signs of skin cancer by scheduling an appointment over the phone or online at Allan Mineroff, MD, PC today.
Moles are a type of growth that shows up on your skin. Moles can be darker in color than your natural skin tone and can be either flat or raised. You might start your life with a few moles present at birth, but you can also develop new moles over time, often due partly to sun exposure.
Moles appear in places where there is a cluster of melanocytes, the cells in your skin that produce a pigment called melanin. Most melanocytes are evenly distributed so you don’t see spots across large areas of skin.
To protect your moles from developing into skin cancer, apply sunscreen every day and take measures to avoid ultraviolet light damage, even from artificial sources like tanning beds.
Most moles are completely harmless and simply cosmetic features on your skin that are unique to you. They vary in size naturally, but you should keep an eye on the moles you have (and any more that appear) because of the risk of skin cancer. Skin cancer can manifest as a new mole or a change in appearance to a mole you’ve had for a long time.
You should schedule an appointment for a skin exam at Allan Mineroff, MD, PC, if you notice the following about a mole:
You should also report any new moles you see, especially if they have irregular borders or are larger than a quarter-inch in diameter. Any mole that is bleeding, itchy, painful, or changing quickly should also be examined as soon as possible.
Your options for treating a mole depend on whether or not the mole is suspicious of skin cancer.
Surgical removal is an option if you are interested in treating a mole for cosmetic purposes, or if they are irritated from rubbing against your clothing or jewelry. However, you may be interested in trying something less drastic first, like concealing your mole with makeup.
If a mole is significantly abnormal or suspicious for cancer, a biopsy is recommended to determine an exact diagnosis. Once that is established, definitive treatment options can be discussed to reassure the best possible outcome.
Learn more about moles and explore treatments by scheduling an appointment by phone or online at Allan Mineroff, MD, PC, today.