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Most moles do not require treatment, unless they are cancerous. If the mole is irritated frequently or snags on jewelry or clothing, you might consider having it removed. A mole can also be removed cosmetically, for example, if it is large or visible on the neck or face.

Mole removal should only be performed by a dermatologist. Do not attempt to remove a mole yourself. Ask your friends and family for a recommendation. These are some of the options that your doctor might recommend:

Surgical shaving: The dermatologist will use a surgical blade to remove the mole from the skin’s surface.

Surgical excision: The dermatologist will remove the entire mole. The area can be closed with stitches if necessary.

A doctor might examine a mole under a microscope to determine if it is cancerous.

Your skin is the largest organ of your body. Skin moles, also called “nevus” and “nevi”, are skin growths that vary in color from the natural skin tones to darker browns or blacks. Moles can occur anywhere on your skin and mucous membranes.

Most skin moles develop in childhood and the first 20 years after birth. It is normal for an adult to have anywhere from 5-40 moles.

An average mole lives for about 50 years. Moles tend to change over time. They usually become lighter and more raised. However, some moles don’t change and other gradually disappear.

There are Different Types of Skin Moles

  • Common Nevi: A normal mole is a small, pinkish, or brown growth that appears on the skin. It has an edge.
  • Congenital Nevi: is a condition where moles were discovered on the skin at birth. About one in 100 people will experience congenital nevi. These moles could be more likely than those that develop after birth to become melanoma. A skin mole that is larger than 8 millimeters in size has a higher chance of developing into cancer.
  • Dysplastic Nevi: These moles can be larger than a pencil eraser, and they are irregularly shaped. Dysplastic nevi are characterized by an uneven color, with darker centers and uneven edges. These moles are usually hereditary and can be passed down from one generation to another. Dysplastic nevi can increase your risk of malignant (cancerous)melanoma. A dermatologist should examine any changes to a mole for signs of skin cancer.

How to Check Your Moles for Melanoma

Melanoma may be indicated by unusual moles. The ABCDE guide will help you identify if a spot or mole may be melanoma.

A– stands for an asymmetrical shape. The other half is different from the one that’s in it.

B– stands for border. You should look for moles that have irregular, notched, or scalloped borders.

C– stands for color. You should look out for growths with a change in color, multiple colors or an uneven color.

D– stands for diameter. You should look for new growth in moles larger than 1/4 inches (about 6 millimeters).

E– stands for evolving. You should be on the lookout for moles that grow in size, shape or height. Moles can also develop new symptoms such as itching or bleeding.

When is Mole Removal Necessary?

Most moles do not require treatment, unless they are cancerous. If the mole is irritated frequently or snags on jewelry or clothing, you might consider having it removed. A mole can also be removed cosmetically, for example, if it is large or visible on the neck or face.

Mole removal should only be performed by a dermatologist. Do not attempt to remove a mole yourself. Ask your friends and family for a recommendation. These are some of the options that your doctor might recommend:

Surgical shaving: The dermatologist will use a surgical blade to remove the mole from the skin’s surface.

Surgical excision: The dermatologist will remove the entire mole. The area can be closed with stitches if necessary.

A doctor might examine a mole under a microscope to determine if it is cancerous.

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