Moles are fairly common. Almost everyone has a few, although fair-skinned people seem to get more. Moles are the result of a natural process in your skin. Melanocytes, melanin-producing cells, are located in the upper layers of the skin. Melanocytes tend to spread evenly across skin, giving you your natural color. When melanocytes grow in clusters, their color production is concentrated and you get a mole. Moles can start in infancy or develop over time. Exposure to sun will further darken these areas because melanin is more concentrated. Moles can develop anywhere on the body but seem to occur more frequently in areas exposed to the sun.
There are the three B’s of mole removal:
- Benign—Most moles are benign and, depending on location, number and personal preference, may be seen as a natural beauty highlight to your features. In this case you can do nothing and thank Mother Nature for the exclamation point to your beauty!
- Blemish—If, because of location, number and personal preference, you feel your moles are crowding out and distracting from your more pleasing features, the benign blemish can be removed.
- Biopsy—Some melanocytes “go wild” and divide uncontrollably and become cancers. If there’s any doubt, it’s wise to have a biopsy of these lesions.
It’s simple to examine a mole you may be concerned about by following the ABCDE rule regarding changes in moles:
- Does the mole have asymmetric sides? Does it appear unevenly distributed?
- Does the border have blurry or jagged edges?
- Do you notice a change in color, either lightening or darkening, or the appearance of multiple colors?
- Do you notice the mole’s diameter becoming larger than .25 inches? (About the size of an pencil eraser.)
- Do you notice the mole elevating or raising above the skin and having a rough surface?
If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions or if you are unsure, see your physician immediately.
The erbium resurfacing laser can be used to remove moles that rank as benign blemishes. Similar to some scars, moles tend to be raised. Dr. Mudd can reduce and level them without the tissue trauma and scarring associated with surgical removal. This is especially important on the thinner and more fragile skin of the face.