Although moles are a common skin growth that affects a majority of people, some of these spots may require medical attention through mole removal procedures.
A mole, sometimes referred to as naevus or nevi, appears as a small or large coloured mark across various parts of the body. Commonly known as beauty marks, these small spots may be flat against the skin surface or raised above the skin.
They may be seen at birth or developed over time, especially during early childhood and into adulthood. There are even some cases where moles may disappear over time or become lighter in appearance. Hormone levels during pregnancy can cause moles to darken during all three trimesters and lighten in the months following birth.
For the most part, these tiny spots do not require specialized mole treatment unless they present signs of skin cancer known as melanoma.
According to the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation, there are two main types of skin cancer, non-melanoma and malignant melanoma. The latter is the most aggressive form of skin cancer and develops within the cells that produce pigmentation of the skin.
Key Factors Influencing the Development of Moles
Moles can be present at birth and may appear during childhood into adulthood. There are several factors that can increase the risk of moles developing or changing in dimension, size, shape, or colour.
- Genetic Factors: The National Library of Medicine published data that indicates a link between a variant within the BRAF gene and melanocytes formed into moles.
- Sun Exposure: The ultraviolet light from the sun stimulates the production of skin cells known as melanocytes. These are responsible for the formation of pigmentation resulting in darkening of the skin.
- Hormonal Changes: The changing of hormone levels in the body can affect the colour of moles, forcing them to darken and increase the risk of new moles developing.
- Age: During mole examination over time, a person may notice more mole clusters forming as they age. While the majority of moles develop during childhood and adolescence, there are other factors that see moles appear later in life.
- Other Factors: People with fair skin and light-coloured eyes and skin tone may have a larger number of moles appear across the body than those with darker skin tones. Underlying medical conditions can also cause moles to develop.
How to Check if Your Moles Are Signs of Skin Cancer
- Self-Examinations: Use a hand mirror and full-length mirror to examine all parts of the body to note any existing moles or spots. At least 20% of all melanomas are located on areas of the body not exposed to the sun’s harmful rays. Note any changes with every examination.
- Follow the ABCDE rule: A: Asymmetry (irregular/uneven shapes), B: Borders (irregular/blurred/jagged edges), C: Colour (brown/black/red/white/blue), D: Diameter (larger than 6 mm), E: Evolution (size/shape/appearance/irritation).
- Professional Evaluation: Only a skin specialist can offer proper evaluation of a mole that may show signs of skin cancer. The targeted mole is removed, and the tissue is examined for abnormalities.
When Should You Get Medical Attention for a Mole?
Due to the appearance or irritation of a mole, regardless of the size and shape, some people may want to have a mole removal procedure. Aside from aesthetics, it is imperative to seek moles treatment if any changes develop over the course of weeks or months.
Dermatologists recommend seeking immediate medical attention if you notice the move evolving or changing. Even the ones that have been present for years can cause issues.
- Changes in size, shape, or colour over time
- Itching, crusting, bleeding, or irritation is present
- Sudden increase in size or darkening
- Raised form skin surface
- Asymmetrical shape develops
- Irregular borders
How to Prevent or Control Mole Growth
Dermatologists in Brampton recommend following several basic steps to reduce the risk of new moles forming and controlling the growth of existing moles.
- Protect the skin from excessive ultraviolet light exposure
- Wear protective clothing (long sleeves/long pants)
- Wear a hat to shade the top of the head, neck, face
- Use high-factor sunscreen (minimum SPF30) every day year-round
- Avoid exposure to sun during the peak hours of 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Perform self-examination on a regular basis for changes to existing moles or signs of new moles
- Avoid the use of tanning beds or sunlamps
- Hydrate the skin cells by consuming three litres of water daily
- Monitor hormonal changes
- Schedule routine skin checks with a dermatologist
Consult a Dermatologist for Mole Removal Treatment
The skin specialists at Heart Lake Health Centre can help you with skin growths and mole removal in Brampton. Our dermatology team provides examinations and mole extraction when needed for laboratory testing. Call us today at (905) 846-9255 or email us at email@example.com.