moles

Moles

Pigment in the skin is produced by cells called melanocytes. These cells when grow in an area of the skin, then present as moles. They can be more pigmented than the surrounding skin hence can present as different shades of brown to black but can be skin coloured. They are commonly known as melanocytic naevi. They can be flat but sometimes present as significantly raised bumps. The surface is usually smooth but can sometimes be rough and warty looking. They can be present at birth, when they are known as congenital melanocytic naevi and if appear later in life, are known as acquired naevi.

They are benign, but a mole has the potential to change into a type of skin cancer known as melanoma. Hence the advice is to regularly check moles and report any significant changes to your doctor. Also sun damage is considered to be responsible for change in moles hence sun protection is very important especially in fair skinned people.

Benign moles can be raised and annoying at times especially if they are in body folds and are being irritated due to friction or in areas such as cheeks in males when they can be irritated while shaving. They can be removed with shave excision if they are annoying. If you notice a changing mole then report it to your doctor immediately for assessment.

Shave excision will leave a flat scar which may become depressed if the skin under heal. Sometimes the scars can also become bumpy if the skin over heal. If a mole needs to be completely removed then they can be removed by a procedure known as excision biopsy. This involves complete cutting out of the mole with suturing of the skin. Your doctor will explain more fully before a decision is made during consultation.