Reliability is a great goal. Every day, you want to prove that your work is consistent, that your promises ring true, and that you are a person of your word. We also crave a sense of regularity in the way we look. When blemishes obscure your appearance, each spot and protrusion stands out and can attract attention.
The average human has approximately 10 to 40 moles on their body. The overwhelming majority of skin lesions are non-cancerous, but they may cause you discomfort and aesthetic displeasure.To address the existence and persistence of unsightly moles, let’s define our terms and explore your options.
Know the Skin You’re In
The lower depths of the dermis contain specialized cells called melanocytes. These cells are responsible for producing melanin which is the compound that gives our skin its color. But when melanocytes become overactive or cluster into unwieldy groups, moles may form.
Moles vary greatly in appearance and hue. Some are raised above the plane of the skin, while others extend above it. A mole may be red, brown, pink, or even blue, and the size is generally about the same as a pencil’s eraser.
Many people are born with moles, so they must not be confused with spots that are caused by exposure to the sun. Actinic keratoses (AKs) are lesions formed after the skin reacts with ultraviolet rays. Some AKs manifest themselves as brownish-red patches, but others are invisible to the naked eye. A keratosis may merely present itself as a dry, rough swath of skin that may itch or even bleed.
If you are experiencing pain or disfigurement as a result of sun exposure, please contact a trusted medical professional.
Prevention is the Best Cure
Before elaborating on the many ways in which we can treat unwanted moles and keratosis, we should pause for a moment to endorse every doctor’s best friend: prevention. By adhering to the proper UV protection plan, you may be able to fend off the growth of new lesions.
If you have noticed a new or unusual blemish on your skin, the following tips can help you monitor your wellness.
The A, B, C, D, & E’s of Cancer Detection
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, keeping track of a suspicious lesion is as easy as A, B, C, D, and E. Just keep these steps in mind as you assess any mole that worries you.
- A is for Asymmetry – If a spot appears uneven, lopsided, or amorphous, you may be experiencing the growth of a melanoma.
- B is for Border – Similarly, the contours of your mole’s border can indicate trouble. Study the perimeter and look for jagged edges or a splotchy definition.
- C is for Color – As we mentioned earlier, lesions can be everything from blue to pink to black. If the hue of your mole does not match any of the skin tone surrounding it, contact a medical expert for their valued advice.
- D is for Diameter – Larger lesions may be cause for concern. Is your mole larger than a pea? If so, it may indicate the presence of melanoma.
- E is for Evolution – Watch for changes in your skin protrusion. If it spreads rapidly or shifts in sensation and/or appearance, please do not hesitate to ask for professional help.
Removing Moles and Lesions
The process of treating an unwanted imperfection is very straightforward. Your surgeon can perform a “shave excision” which means that he will remove all of the irregular tissue that rises above the plane of your skin. The site of the excision is then gently cauterized to close the micro-wound. Your body will produce a flourish of collagen to repair the excision, and your skin will naturally scab and heal.
Your doctor will provide you with any necessary topical products, such as hydrocortisone, to treat the area after your mole or keratosis is removed. But once a lesion is gone, that does not mean that your enhancement journey is complete. On the contrary; health care is a lifelong endeavor. The removal of irregular tissue is just the beginning in your overall quest to be your best possible version of yourself.
After removing the mole in question, your physician will send the excised tissue to a pathologist. Your entire medical team is all striving for the same goal: your continued health and improvement. The pathologist will analyze the former lesion and look for any signs of skin cancer in the tissue sample.
Not all moles are created equal. The size of your growth could be an indicating factor in your risk of developing melanoma at some point in your life. Other considerations to keep in mind are the dimensions and qualities of the lesion that was removed. Atypical moles are known as dysplastic nevi. When a growth varies wildly from its surrounding skin tone and texture, there is a higher prevalence of melanoma.
Your doctor should also assess your overall risk for skin cancer by examining more than simply the discolorations that upset your appearance. If you have more than 50 moles on your body, you may present an increased risk for not only melanoma but also certain cancers – particularly breast cancer.
Please be prepared to share your medical history when you consult with a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. As the old saying goes, beauty is only skin deep… but your wellbeing runs much deeper. It is important to alert your caregiver to a family pattern of skin cancer or unusual lesions so that he or she can treat more than just the mole; he or she can keep you thriving on all fronts.
Together, we can make sure that your future is as bright as your complexion. Call (310) 858-6749 to reach our Beverly Hills office and start a conversation about your best self.