Moles and mole removal at Belgravia Dermatology
- About – Moles are common skin growths which are usually brown but may be pink or blue. It is best to get a mole checked by an expert if it appears to be growing, becoming darker or starting to look irregular, especially if it starts standing out from the other moles.
- Treatments – Moles can be removed if they are causing symptoms or if they have become an aesthetic concern.
- Self help – Get used to your moles by checking your self in the mirror every month
- Next step -If you are thinking about having a mole removed, or if you have a mole you are concerned about then please arrange to see one of our Dermatologists
What is a mole?
Moles are harmless skin growths that are formed by a collection of skin cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes are able to produce melanin, the pigment which gives colour to the skin. This is the reason why many moles are brown in colour. Most moles develop between the ages of 5 to 30 years of age, mostly around puberty. The average young adult has about 20 to 30 moles over their body. Interestingly, moles start to disappear in later life and the average 70 year old may only have 5 to 10 moles.
Who gets moles?
Virtually everyone has a mole. Fair skinned individuals tend to develop more moles than darker skinned individuals. 1% of babies are born with moles. Moles present from birth are often more warty and hairy in appearance than those that develop through life.
What do normal moles look like?
No two moles are exactly the same, even within the same person. Moles typically have an even brown colour, are symmetric and well defined. Some moles may have a hair growing through them. In later life, moles may start to loose their colour and become fleshy. This is especially so for moles on the face.
When should I be worried about a mole?
It is best to get a mole checked if it appears to be growing, becoming darker or starting to look irregular, especially if it starts standing out from the other moles. A mole that is bleeding or scabbing, or causing itch or pain should also be checked. Very occasionally moles can develop into a form of skin cancer called melanoma.
How do I monitor my moles?
It is best to check your moles over regularly (once ever couple of months) to see if any have changed. It is useful to take a photograph as a baseline to help check against, especially if you have a lot moles. It is also helpful to ask a friend or a partner to check over the back area as this is difficult to assess by yourself without two mirrors.
I have lots of moles
It is not uncommon to have more than 50 or even more than a 100 moles. It is important to get into the habit of checking your moles as described above as there is an increased of malignant change.
Can I have a mole check for peace of mind?
Certainly. A full skin check is a good way of having all your skin lesions checked over.
How are moles checked?
Following a detailed consultation, our Dermatologists will be able to perform a full head to toe mole check. This will include assessing any moles which you are concerned about and all your other skin lesions as well. Dermatologists are used to seeing moles and are able to advise whether the appearance of any given mole is within the acceptable range. A device which contains a magnifying glass with polarising light called a Dermatoscope is also used in order to have a look at the pigment distribution under the skin. This can reveal very subtle changes about a mole, and help pick up those moles that are becoming or have become malignant. Our dermatologists are well versed in Dermoscopy and regularly teach this skill to other doctors.
Can moles be removed?
Moles can be removed if they are causing symptoms or aesthetic concerns. Various different surgical options are available including a modified shave excision, which does not require stitched, and excision with stitches. Moles can also be removed if there is any suspicion that they may be changing or starting to look abnormal.
Mole checks and treatments at Belgravia Dermatology
- Detailed consultation and skin analysis by a Dermatologist including a full head to toe skin check assessing all moles with Dermoscopy
- Advice on how to monitor your moles
- Serial monitoring for those with large numbers of moles or at high risk of skin cancer – your Dermatologist will check your skin every 6 to 12 months
- Mole removal for cosmetic reasons or for analysis
What should I do next?
If you are worried about a mole or would like a full skin check of all your moles for peace of mind then please arrange to see one of our Dermatologists who will be happy to help.