When Should You Remove Skin Moles?

Over 332 million people in the US have common moles. These beauty marks are often harmless, and most adults will continue to develop new moles well into their forties. However, it’s essential to keep an eye on your moles, especially existing ones.

Some changes signify a malignant mole, which is a sign of skin cancer. Asymmetrical, discolored, or huge moles are often ones that require medical attention. Some people may also remove skin moles for cosmetic reasons.

Are you concerned about your moles? Here’s how to tell if a mole is cancerous. Read on to discover more about when and where to get help in Northern Kentucky and Crestview Hills.

Types of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer refers to the abnormal growth of skin cells. Different types of skin cancer affect different types of skin cells. Most cancer cells start developing on the epidermis, or the top layer of the skin.

The epidermis consists of three main types of skin cells: squamous cells, basal cells, and melanocytes. Squamous cells sit below the outer surface of the skin. Basal cells are in charge of producing new skin cells and sit beneath the squamous layer.

Melanocytes lie beneath the basal layer. These skin cells are in charge of producing melanin, which gives your skin its color.

Squamous or basal cell carcinoma affects areas that are exposed to the sun. This includes the hands, lips, neck, ears, face, and scalp. Women may also develop this type of skin cancer on their legs.

Melanoma accounts for only 1% of all skin cancers but is by far the most common. It is also responsible for the majority of skin cancer-related deaths. Melanoma affects parts of the body that don’t see sunlight.

It can develop beneath your fingernails, toenails, palms, and even your genital area.

Changes in Existing Moles

Moles often develop between your childhood and teen years. Its color can range from black, brown, pink, and even your natural skin tone. You are more likely to have darker moles if you have dark skin or hair.

Moles can be flat against your skin or slightly raised. Moles can grow, be lighter, or disappear as you get older, and you can also develop new common moles. Because of this, it can be difficult to tell if you should feel worried about a mole changing or new growth.

So, how do you tell if an existing mole is becoming cancerous? We use the ABCDE method.

A – Asymmetry

Common moles and freckles are symmetrical, whether they are round or oval-shaped. If you were to cut along the center, you would have two matching halves. Atypical moles are often asymmetrical.

If you have an asymmetrical mole, one side may look like it bled color into your normal skin. Some cancerous moles look like paint or ink blobs.

B – Border

Moles are usually round and harmless. There is a clear distinction between the mole and your normal skin. Atypical moles have jagged and blurry edges.

C – Color

Common beauty marks consist of only one color. If a mole has more than one color, like red and brown, it may indicate the beginning of cancerous growth.

Color changes, like a mole darkening or lightning, can also be a cause for concern.

D – Diameter

Common moles are often smaller than 1/4 inch. Use a pencil or pen, and compare the back with a suspicious mole. If the mole is bigger than that, it’s best to get it checked by your healthcare provider.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that smaller growths are harmless. Skin tags, for example, should also get checked by a professional.

E – Evolution

Healthy moles and birthmarks do not have drastic changes. Evolution covers changes in appearance, size, and texture. It’s also concerning if the mole has started to cause pain, itching, or bleeding.

Getting a New Mole

Healthy adults will have around 10 to 40 moles. Many develop new moles until they are 40 years old. Typical growths can occur in areas exposed to the sun and seldom on the buttocks, scalp, or breasts.

Developing a new mole isn’t an immediate cause for concern, but you should keep an eye on it anyway. If it matches any of the ABCDEs, contact your dermatologist.

A Note on Itchy or Bleeding Moles

Cancerous moles may itch or bleed, but it doesn’t mean all itchy or bleeding moles are cancerous. Of course, you should get them checked by a professional but don’t immediately assume it’s cancerous.

Moles may itch due to dry or irritated skin. It could also be an allergic reaction to new soap or detergent.

Melanoma Risk Factors

The cause and development of melanoma can vary between patients. However, if you have a lot of moles, here are some risk factors to consider:

  • Blonde or red hair
  • Green or blue eyes
  • Heavy sun exposure on a regular basis
  • Personal history of skin cancer
  • Family history of melanoma
  • Personal history of indoor tanning
  • Experienced many sunburns early in life
  • Fair skin
  • Skin that burns reddens or freckles easily

Luckily, if you pay enough attention, melanoma is easy to detect and treat in the early stages. If you’re concerned about a mole, a quick visit to a dermatologist can put your mind at ease.

Skin Mole Removal

Healthcare providers start with a biopsy to determine if a mole is cancerous or precancerous. This often works for the early stages of melanoma, as cancer has not yet spread. You may also get a mole removal if you don’t like how a mole looks.

Remove Skin Moles Today in Northern Kentucky and Crestview Hills

Most moles are harmless, and many have grown attached to their beauty marks. However, if you notice any changes in a mole’s appearance or texture, it’s best to talk to a medical professional.

Are you looking for a Kentucky dermatologist to remove skin moles? Our experts at ZG Wellness and Dermatology can help with your skin health. Book an online appointment with us today to find the best solution for your skin concerns.

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