SKIN GROWTH AND MOLE CHECK
At Vital Face and Vein we specialise in mole examination and treatments.
WHAT IS A MOLE?
A mole is a common benign skin lesion due to a local proliferation of pigment cells (melanocytes). A brown or black mole contains the pigment melanin. A mole can be present at birth (congenital naevus) or appear later (acquired naevus).
WHO GETS MOLES?
Almost everyone has at least one mole, fair skinned people tend to have more moles than darker skinned individuals. The average fair skinned New Zealander has 20 to 50 moles Sun exposure seems to be a factor in the in the development of moles in teenagers and adults.
WHAT CAUSES MOLES?
Although the exact reason for local proliferation of pigment cells is unknown, it is clear that the number of moles a person has depends on genetic factors, sun exposure, and on immunological factors.
- People with many moles may have family members that also have many moles, and their moles may have a similar appearance.
- People living in Australia and New Zealand tend to have a lot of moles which may relate to sun exposure.
- Immunosuppressive treatment leads to an increase in numbers of moles and risk of skin cancer.
WHAT ARE THE CLINICAL FEATURES OF MOLES?
Moles vary widely in appearance and they may arise on any part of the body.
- They may be flat or protruding.
- They vary in colour from pink or flesh tones to dark brown, steel blue, or black.
- Light skinned individuals tend to have light-coloured moles and dark skinned individuals tend to have dark brown or black moles.
Moles may be considered abnormal or atypical when the mole shows some or any of the following features
- A mole that is large particularly if it is bigger than 5 mm and has ill-defined or irregular borders; varying shades of colour; with flat and bumpy components.
- A funny-looking mole; large, or different from other moles
- A recent change in the size, shape, structure or colour of the mole.
- A new mole that develops in adult life (> 40 years)
- It appears different from the person’s other moles (a so-called ugly duckling)
- It has ABCD characteristics (Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Colour variation, Diameter > 6 mm)
- It is bleeding, crusted or itchy
- Moles that are suspicious are usually removed and sent for testing. Harmless moles are often able to be removed with surgitron which has the benefit of usually causing much less or no scarring than standard excision techniques.
Our doctor will advise you what type of moles you have and what method of removal is suitable . Skin tags are removed with surgitron as are most crusty lesions. Sometimes early skin cancers are able to be treated with topical creams or nitrogen treatments.