What You Need to Know About Moles
A nevus, or as we call it, a mole, is common and is a benign skin growth. It is made up of a collection of pigment calls called melanocytes.
Moles typically appear in your first year and can continue to appear over the years – often peaking by your 30s.
Genetics (congenital moles), sun exposure and sunburns are all directly related to the number of moles a person develops.
While moles by definition are benign, the more you have (especially atypical ones), the higher your risk of developing Melanoma.
It is important to ensure a Dermatologist monitors changes to your moles, to ensure nothing develops.
When moles look suspect, a skin biopsy is done to determine if cancer is present.
Currently 1 in 75 people will develop Melanoma.
People with lighter skin and eyes are at a greater risk.
There are flat moles (junctional moles) and raised moles (compound moles)
Moles can appear anywhere on the body. Pregnancy and sun exposure can change a mole’s appearance. However, change in moles can also be indicative of skin cancer.
To monitor your own moles, use ABCDE:
A = Asymmetry: meaning the mole is not symmetrical, or if you cut it in half, both sides won’t be the same.
B = Border: a mole that is atypical or cancerous will have an irregular or jagged edge.
C= Color: healthy moles are typically lighter and consistent in coloring. Worrisome moles are often very dark, almost black and they can be multicolored.
D= Diameter. Bad moles are often 6mm or bigger.
E= Evolution: the changes of the mole. Moles that increase in size, color, shape – moles that look different than the rest and change often, need to be checked.
Some mole removal is covered by OHIP. However removing “cosmetic” moles is not covered. Consultation with a plastic surgeon of a cosmetic dermatologist will help you better understand your options and costs.
While moles may be small and appear simple to remove, you can create some serious scars or disfigurement by doing it yourself or at a salon that isn’t properly training in mole removal and cosmetic dermatology.
At SpaMedica, there are multiple options:
- Surgical removal which includes an incision and sutures
- Liquid nitrogen or cold therapy – also called cryotherapy
- Chemical peel
Your post-operative course may include additional and complementary laser treatment to reduce or minimize the risk of redness, hypopigmentation (loss of normal skin tone pigment) and other therapies to eliminate the visible location where the benign skin growth used to be.
Schedule a consultation today to have your moles checked out. Often a consultation and the procedure can happen in the same day. SpaMedica also gives you follow up care instructions and a treatment plan for proper skin care after the removal.