Most adults have moles, and these growths are typically harmless. However, many people choose to have moles removed for cosmetic reasons. Others may require an examination to rule out conditions such as melanoma. Whatever the case, the providers at West Sound Dermatology can help.
What are Moles?
Moles are a common type of benign skin growth. A majority of adults have at least one mole. You may also hear them referred to as “nevi.” A mole is a soft, small pigmented growth on the skin. They may be present at birth or develop over time. In less common cases, patients may develop atypical moles, which have the chance of developing into melanoma and should be removed.
What Causes Moles?
Moles are caused by a high concentration of melanocytes, or pigment-producing skin cells, found in a small area of the skin. This is why a mole is darker in color than the surrounding skin. Benign moles are believed to be genetic. Atypical or precancerous moles are typically the result of sun damage, resulting in abnormal growth of melanocytes.
Mole removal is not always necessary for your health, but can be chosen for cosmetic reasons if you choose. Typically, your provider will first numb the skin using a topical or local anesthetic. The mole is then removed using a small surgical tool. If you are having an atypical or suspicious mole removed, your provider may also remove a small margin of healthy skin. In any case, care is taken to create as little scarring as possible.