Approximately 1% of the human population is born with a mole; the rest of us develop them throughout our lives. It’s completely normal to notice the occasional new mole in your teens and 20s – it’s estimated that adults, on average, can have up to 40 moles.
Whether you call them birthmarks or beauty marks, it’s important to make sure they’re always healthy. IDI provides comprehensive evaluations of moles, birthmarks, and all skin conditions, helping patients achieve clear, healthy complexions at any age.
What Are Moles?
Moles are benign skin growths that sometimes grow hair and become raised over time. The most common are clinically known as melanocytic nevi, which are overgrowths of melanin-producing cells that are either brown or dark brown. However, other types can vary in color, and might be tan, pink, or even blue.
Moles are typically round or oval-shaped, and can be found all over the body, including the scalp, underneath the nails, on the palms of the hands, and on the soles of the feet. They tend to be relatively small – under one-quarter of an inch or smaller – but moles present at birth can be large enough to encompass a significant portion of the body.
Although moles are mostly benign, certain abnormalities could be a sign of malignancy. Irregularities in shape and changes in size or color can be indications of potential complications.
If you experience any of the following, you should be screened:
- Being born with a large mole.Although most congenital nevi (moles formed before birth) are harmless, some might become malignant, and the larger they are, the greater the risk.
- Noticing an irregular shape.Moles that are splotchy or have erratic borders should be examined.
- Having lots of moles.It is believed that young adults with more than 50 moles are at particular risk of developing melanoma later in life.
- Being diagnosed with melanoma in the past.Having malignancies in the past presents a heightened risk of developing future melanomas.
Additionally, there is a genetic component to be considered. If you have family members who have experienced melanoma or other forms of cancer, you should undergo a screening.
Your dermatologist will conduct a visual examination to check if your moles exhibit any characteristics of concern. If you have numerous moles throughout your body, a skin exam will be performed. A skin exam is a full body examination where all growths and discolorations are scrutinized.
If there is a mole that appears concerning, a skin biopsy will be performed.
Moles that don’t exhibit signs of malignancy do not need medical treatment unless you wish to have them removed. If so, your physician will perform a technique designed to keep scarring to a minimum. The two techniques used most commonly are surgical excision or surgical shave. The appropriate procedure will depend upon the size and location of the mole.
IDI offers personalized, comprehensive skincare solutions designed to suit your individual skin concerns, skin type, lifestyle, and goals. If you have concerns about a mole or other growth, please contact our helpful team to book an appointment today.