Pretty much everyone develops a mole, if not many moles, throughout their lifetime. In fact, most people have 10-40 moles in all, which may continue to crop up until around age 40.
While many moles are no cause for alarm and some fade away during older age, there’s a lot you can do about a bothersome mole before then. In some cases, mole removal is important for your overall health.
Moles take form when cells that give your skin color, known as melanocytes, cluster together. The result is a raised or flat lesion that’s smaller than a pencil eraser and brown, pink, or tan.
If you have a mole that’s grown larger, bleeds, becomes scaly, or changes in other unusual ways, see one of our Northstar dermatologists for a medical assessment. These changes could be signs of skin cancer.
Exposure to UV rays from the sun or tanning beds damages cells that form moles, increasing the risk for rapid duplication and the most serious form of skin cancer, melanoma.
Reasons you may wish to have a mole removed include:
- Possible or likely signs of cancer
- A mole that gets irritated by clothing or jewelry
- A mole you feel self-conscious about
If we determine that your mole is cancerous, we can remove it and even cure melanoma, if we catch it early on. When we suspect a mole may be cancerous, we remove it and check for microscopic signs of skin cancer.
We can also remove obviously noncancerous moles through a minor, outpatient procedure. Depending on the specifics of your mole, we may burn it off, shave it off, or remove it through surgical excision.
There are very few risks associated with mole removal. There’s a slight risk of infection, and any side effects, such as tenderness, tend to be mild and temporary.
Depending on the specifics of your mole and the means of removal, you may develop scarring. We can often take steps to minimize scarring, if that’s a concern for you.
If your mole does not indicate cancer and you’d rather avoid these risks, you can easily conceal some moles with clothing or makeup. If makeup or covering your mole in other ways has become tedious, you may prefer a more permanent solution.