What are moles?
Moles are generally harmless skin growths that may be flat or raised. They vary in color from pink flesh tones to tan or brown. Most people have at least some moles, some people have many. The number depends on our genes. Moles sometimes appear in “crops,” especially during adolescence.
What are the causes?
Moles can begin to grow in infancy. New ones can develop at any age. Once a mole appears, it usually stays for life without becoming a medical problem. A growing or changing mole, especially in an adult, should be checked by a physician. It is important to be aware of your moles and any possible changes in order to monitor for potential skin cancer, particularly for adults.
Most moles are harmless and safe to ignore, but when treatment is necessary, it can be done under the following conditions:
- You have a mole that has bled, has an unusual shape, is growing rapidly, or changing color noticeably is giving warning signs of possible malignancy.
- You have a mole that is irritated by your clothing, comb, or razor is only a nuisance, but we can remove it to prevent ongoing irritation.
- You have an unsightly mole that you want to remove for “cosmetic reasons.”
Treating a protruding mole is a simple procedure. After numbing the skin, we will remove the projecting part of the mole with scissors or a scalpel. We may, as a matter of course, send the removed portion to a laboratory for microscopic examination. The wound heals to leave a flat mole, but the color generally remains the same. As a rule, dark moles leave dark spots. Quite often we can remove the entire mole.
Moles sometimes grow annoyingly coarse hair, and it may be safely removed by shaving or plucking. Permanent removal of the hair, which has roots deep within the skin, requires complete surgical excision of the mole. Electrolysis of the mole should be avoided.
Request an appointment
To have all of your moles evaluated or if you are concerned about a particular mole, call to schedule an appointment with DermPhysicians of New England, request one online or give us a call at (781) 272-7022.