Medical & Surgical Dermatology
Moles are caused by melanocytes, the pigment-providing cells in the skin, growing in a cluster rather than spread throughout the skin. These clusters are typically brown or black, but may range in color from pink to tan or skin-toned. Most adults have between 10 and 40 moles on any area of the skin.
There are several types of moles, and some types may increase your risk for melanoma, a malignant type of skin cancer. Your Water’s Edge dermatologist can tell you if your skin moles are common, benign moles, or if they could be cancerous. The following types of moles often require treatment, and they include:
Atypical mole (dysplastic nevus)
These are often large with an irregular shape and uneven coloring. More than four atypical moles suggests a higher chance of developing melanoma.
Congenital moles are present at birth, and can range in size from small to giant (larger than 20 centimeters). Approximately one in 100 people is born with congenital moles. Having large or giant congenital moles increases the risk of developing melanoma.
Spitz nevus mole
Spitz nevus moles so closely resemble melanoma, dermatologists often cannot tell the difference by looking at them, so they are generally biopsied. These moles are usually pink, raised and dome-shaped; and they may bleed or ooze.
Acquired moles appear after birth and are common, but people with more than 50 acquired moles have a higher risk for developing melanoma.
Water’s Edge Dermatology offers several mole treatment options [link to mole treatment page]. Your Water’s Edge dermatologist will determine the right mole treatment for you. Options include:
- Surgical excision
- Surgical shaving
Moles cannot be prevented, but you should examine your skin regularly to look for any new moles or changes in existing moles.
Use the “ABCDEs of Melanoma Detection” to help you recognize moles needing further examination by your Water’s Edge dermatologist:
- A — Asymmetry; one half is unlike the other
- B — Border is irregular, scalloped or poorly defined
- C — Color is varied from one area to another
- D — Diameter; melanomas are usually greater than 6 mm
- E — Evolving; a mole or skin lesion that looks different or has changed
Click here to make an appointment with your Water’s Edge dermatologist to have your moles examined.