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MOLE

Do you have a mole that you want to get rid of? Many of us have moles, but not all are created equal. For some, it is nothing more than a large freckle and doesn’t tend to bother us. For others, it can be unsightly, much darker in color than surrounding skin, or located on a part of the face or torso that triggers self-conscious anxiety or even embarrassment when it’s exposed. Moles can change slightly in color as we age, while some fade and gradually disappear.

Regardless of the reasons, you may want that mole gone, and you want it gone now. Before you resort to possibly harmful home remedies, be aware of several important factors.


WHY DO MOLES FORM?

A mole develops when certain skin cells grow in a cluster instead of spreading evenly throughout an area of skin. These cells, called melanocytes, manufacture pigment, which is why they are darker and more easily noticed than surrounding, lighter skin.

Some have been present since birth and others may appear as we grow older. When a mole changes shape, seems to grow larger, or develops unusual characteristics, it’s important to pay attention. Resist the urge to self-diagnose and have your physician take a closer look at it.


WHEN IS A MOLE NOT JUST A MOLE?

 

A mole can be present at birth, known as a congenital nevus (plural nevi). Some develop as we age. We’re often warned that a mole larger than a pencil eraser is cancerous. This is not necessarily true, but it is a good idea to have a doctor examine anything that is larger than a pencil eraser. Moles with an irregular shape and/or irregular borders may be a problem. A mole is suspicious if it changes shape or grows larger. They are typically brown or black in color—but a single mole should be the same color throughout. Moles that include different colors may be abnormal.

For safety’s sake, before removing a mole, get it checked by a knowledgeable physician. If it is cancerous, certain removal techniques are inappropriate and can leave cancerous tissue below the skin’s surface. At-home mole removal techniques are notorious for this.

While most physicians can successfully derteoimne if your mole is normal or abnormal, dermatologists and plastic surgeons are best suited to evaluate them.


CONSIDERING YOUR TREATMENT OPTIONS

A number of treatment options are available for removal of moles. To be on the safe side, if your cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist even thinks the mole is suspicious, he or she will want to have it tested to ensure that it does not indicate the presence of melanoma.

Following testing, the most common methods for mole removal include:

  • Shaving
  • Excision
  • Freezing
  • Laser resurfacing

Mole removal is a serious business—getting it wrong can be deadly. If you want to get rid of it, talk to a doctor that can properly assess and remove unwanted moles.