These days, moles are a huge concern for some people. Especially since around the 1960’s, when melanoma started to become more common. There are different types of skin cancer, but melanoma is the most dangerous. Since melanoma develops from about 25% of moles, it’s important to know what to look for. That way, you can ensure you stay happy and healthy for a long time.
To start, a non-cancerous mole is also called a common mole. Common moles are growths that appear on the skin when melanocytes, or pigment cells, grow in bunches. Some people are born with common moles or birthmarks, but the average joe acquires them over a lifetime. In fact, common moles usually develop in early childhood and new moles can appear until middle age. After that, they usually start to fade away. Most people can expect to have anywhere between 10-40 moles, that is considered normal. Interestingly, most moles appear because of exposure to the sun’s rays. For this reason, they rarely grow below the waist.
Identifying a Common Mole
Everyone should know how to distinguish between a common mole and a melanoma. Although it’s rare for a common mole to turn into melanoma, people with over 50 moles should be especially cautious. Common moles are usually pink, tan, or brown in color. However, people with darker skin or hair tend to have moles that are darker in color as well. Also, common moles tend to be smaller than 5 millimeters, which is about the width of a pencil eraser. In addition, moles should be round or oval and have a smooth surface with a distinct edge.
Try to incorporate checking moles into a weekly routine. Any changes you notice should be reported to your doctor. For instance, changes in color, shape or texture should be noted. Those that are fairer skinned should be more diligent about checking, as they are more likely to develop melanoma. Ultimately, your doctor will gladly check any moles that are concerning to you.
Sometimes, getting a mole removed isn’t just for health concerns. There are people who get moles removed for cosmetic purposes, too. Whatever the case, there isn’t just one way to go about it. In fact, there are many different ways to effectively remove a mole. A few of them are:
-Cryotherapy: In essence, cryotherapy is a method of mole removal that utilizes liquid nitrogen to freeze it off. This option is good for smaller moles that do not penetrate the internal layers of the skin. It is probably the most expensive, but it’s also considered one of the most effective.
-Radiowave surgery: High-frequency radio waves are used to remove moles. The radio waves are sent through a special wand tip which can vary based on the type of growth. This method isn’t as invasive as others and doesn’t generate a lot of heat. Therefore, there isn’t a lot of tissue damage and little to no scarring.
-Cauterization: This method of mole removal is used to burn off tissue and stop bleeding. Usually, there is minimal scarring and the procedure itself takes less than an hour.
-Laser: Lastly, laser removal works by breaking down the dark pigments into smaller parts. Because of this, it takes around 3-5 sessions to fully remove a mole. However, there is no pain or bleeding and the aftercare is fairly easy.