Moles are common skin growths that occur when melanocyte cells in your skin fail to distribute evenly and grow in clusters instead. Most adults have between 10-40 moles on their bodies.
Most moles are completely harmless from a medical standpoint, but you may not like how they look. At Holladay Dermatology & Aesthetics in Holladay, Utah, Dr. Robert Topham and our team of providers see all kinds of moles and understand that some can appear in the most inopportune places.
We can remove any moles that are causing you distress, but before we do, there are a few things you should know about moles.
All about moles
Moles come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. They can be pink, tan, brown, or red. Yours may be flat or raised, round or oval, large or small — all are normal. Within this acceptable range of characteristics, however, some features can be cause for concern.
While most moles undergo subtle changes over the years, rapid change is a warning sign. Since melanoma cancer tends to show up frequently in moles, it’s important to keep an eye on your moles and watch for changes and other possible signs of cancer. You can use the alphabet to help you remember the problematic symptoms:
A: Healthy moles are symmetrical. If your mole is asymmetrical, have Dr. Topham check it out.
B: The borders on a healthy mole are smooth and even. Uneven, jagged, or scalloped borders are warning signs.
C: The color of moles varies widely, but if yours is black or dual-toned, have it looked at.
D: The rule of thumb is that moles with a diameter smaller than a pencil eraser are fine. If yours has grown, call us.
E: The main thing to watch for is an evolving mole. Most moles change so gradually that you don’t notice. If you notice changes, it’s time to get it checked.
Why get a mole removed?
Most moles don’t need to be removed. However, many of our patients opt to have their moles removed for cosmetic reasons.
Another reason we often hear is that jewelry tends to snag on moles in the neck and chest area.
Finally, if we examine your mole and find it contains suspicious cells, removal is the best option so we can analyze the cells and begin treatment if necessary.
Types of mole removal
Mole removal is a routine, in-office procedure. Depending on the size and location of your mole, we may remove it by shaving it off or carefully cutting it out. Both these techniques keep the cells intact in case we need to examine them further.
Before we remove your mole, we numb your skin with a local anesthetic so you won’t feel a thing. Afterward, we cover it with some antibiotic ointment and a bandage. In some cases, a stitch or two may be necessary.
If you have an embarrassing or suspicious mole, don’t hesitate to call our friendly staff to schedule an appointment at 801-272-4408 today.