Many patients come into dermatology offices embarrassed to ask for a mole removal treatment due to aesthetic reasons. But a mole doesn’t need to be a skin cancer lesion in order to get it removed. Like with any cosmetic treatment, sometimes we just want to feel more comfortable and confident in our skin. Besides, just because a mole isn’t currently skin cancer doesn’t mean it will always be that way. Here’s why mole removal might be right for you.
Moles, known medically as nevi, are small growths on the skin that occur in response to clustered skin cells. When these skin cells -- known as melanocytes, which are responsible for giving skin its pigment -- cluster together, they often form a small bump on the skin. Moles can show up anywhere on the body but are commonly found on the face, chest, back, and arms.
The majority of moles appear within the first 25 years of a person's life, and it’s relatively common to have between 10 and 40 moles by adulthood. Moles may be brown, black, or even bluish in color. Sometimes, during the aging process and especially with sun exposure, they can darken. Most moles are benign, or harmless. But some moles can be cause for concern.
New moles that appear in adulthood -- after the age of 25 -- or moles that change color, shape, size, or border can sometimes indicate the presence of skin cancer. These malignant growths may appear speckled in color or have irregular or asymmetrical shapes. If a mole’s diameter is larger than the eraser of a pencil, it could be a dysplastic nevi, which spells a higher risk for skin cancer. If you notice any new moles or changes in existing moles, see a dermatologist for a skin cancer screening right away.
You don’t need to have cancerous moles in order to want them removed. Many people feel self conscious about moles in visible places like the face or neck. One of the most popular mole removal options is by way of laser. Laser mole removal is widely used for its safety, speed, and efficacy. Once the doctor confirms that the mole is not cancerous -- through conducting a biopsy or examining it under a microscope -- he or she can remove the mole entirely using a laser.
Laser mole removal is especially popular because its precision ensures that only the mole is removed, with surrounding skin cells remaining healthy and intact. Immediately after treatment, the site will be red and a scab will form in the following days. Once the site heals and the scab falls off, a smooth, light pink area will be left. Over the months and years that follow, fresh skin cell growth will cause this area to become less noticeable as it blends in with the rest of the skin surrounding it.
During laser mole removal treatment, bursts of light radiation are targeted toward the mole, effectively breaking down the melanocytes it’s composed of. Other methods of mole removal -- particularly if the mole ends up being a skin cancer lesion -- are surgical excision or surgical shave. These options may be used depending on the depth, size, and location of the mole.
Interested in mole removal? If you’re in Baton Rouge or the surrounding areas, contact Louisiana Dermatology Associates today for an appointment with one of our board-certified specialists.