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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”