Moles are pretty common to the human experience and often add interest to your features, which may be why some call them “beauty marks.” If you’ve got a mole that’s changing in color or size, however, have it checked by the skin care experts at Specialists in Dermatology. They have offices in Houston and The Woodlands, Texas, for your convenience. Removing a mole while it’s atypical rather than cancerous is an easy fix, or it could be that your beauty mark is still healthy. Call today for an appointment or use their online scheduling service.
A common mole is a growth on the skin that’s made up of pigment cells, called melanocytes, that grew in clusters rather than spreading out like the rest of your melanocytes did. These are the skin cells that create color or melanin for your skin. A mole can also be called a nevus (singular) or nevi (plural).
It’s typical for adults to have 10-40 common moles. These growths usually appear in childhood and typically form on areas above the waist that are exposed to the sun. They may be round or oval, are usually smaller than the width of a pencil eraser, and have distinct edges or borders.
Normal moles are usually uniform in color, meaning they’re all brown or all pink or all tan. Atypical (dysplastic) moles often develop sudden color variations. For instance, part of the mole may stay its typical tannish brown color while another portion begins to darken.
Border irregularity is also a sign that your mole may be turning dysplastic. Normal moles have a well-defined border, while atypical moles may start to spread their color out into surrounding normal skin, becoming scalloped or otherwise irregular. They may also suddenly grow in size.
Normal moles change very little from one year to the next, other than to fade or grow a hair or two. Atypical moles may also begin to itch, bleed, or show other signs of irritation.
No. Most atypical moles are just that -- atypical. They may remain that way for the rest of their days without ever developing into cancer. Your odds of developing skin cancer do increase, however, if you have several atypical moles.
The first phase of treatment for an abnormal mole is a thorough examination by your provider at Specialists in Dermatology. Your skin care specialist can often tell by sight if the mole is showing concerning changes.
Depending on the appearance of the mole, a biopsy may be done to check for cancer cells or a surgical excision performed to remove the mole, especially if it’s in a bothersome location or you feel it’s unsightly. You can, in fact, choose to have your mole removed just because you don’t like it, regardless of whether it’s normal or atypical.