X
X

Enter to win a free product from Dr.Brandt

*By entering to win, you agree to receive future emails from Dr.Brandt and SheFinds.

beauty

Moles 101: What Are They, Why They Develop And Are They Really Skin Cancer

January 14, 2016 by Lisa Fogarty
shefinds | beauty

Moles don’t have the most appealing name and our attempt to call them “beauty marks” doesn’t always fly. For better or worse, however, they’re a part of life most of us have become accustomed to seeing on various body parts. Whether you have a cute little mole on your upper lip, a la Cindy Crawford, or a mole on your thigh that you’re dying to have removed, you should know everything you can about these marks including why they’re there, how you can tell if your mole is “healthy,” and what you can expect if you have to have one removed.

Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse, a board-certified dermatologist in Los Angeles and clinical instructor at the University of Southern California, answers a few common questions about moles below.

SHEfinds: What are moles and why do they develop?

Tsippora Shainhouse: Moles (nevi) are benign aggregations of melanocytes (melanin/pigment-producing cells). Most develop during childhood, adolescence and up to early adulthood. You can be genetically predisposed to developing moles. Some are stimulated by ultraviolet (sun) light. Hormone fluctuations, particularly puberty and pregnancy, can also make existing moles darker, larger and more raised. Common subtypes include: compound moles which extend from epidermis into the deeper dermis, junctional moles which do not go deeper than the border between the epidermis and dermis and dermal nevi or deep pigment moles.

SF: Should an adult be concerned about moles that develop later on in life?

TS: New moles should not develop after age 50. If any new spots develop, see your dermatologist for a possible biopsy.

SF: How can someone tell if a mole is abnormal?

TS: Signs to keep in mind, regarding changing and potentially suspicious moles, include the ABCDE pneumonic:

1. Asymmetry of the mole. If you draw a line down the center and the two sides are not mirror images, considering consulting a doctor.

2. Irregular borders. The edges of a mole should be smooth and regular. If you have a mole with jagged edges, contact your physician.

3. Color. Moles can be any single shade of brown, but if you see mixes of colors or new black areas or a mole that is much darker than all of the others, it must be seen.

4. Diameter. If the mole is larger than a pencil eraser, it should be checked out.

5. Evolution. If the mole that you have always had suddenly looks different, it may be a sign that it is becoming malignant and needs to be checked.

SF: What happens when you visit your dermatologist to have a mole removed?

TS: If a lesion looks suspicious to your dermatologist, it will be biopsied. A shave biopsy involves a tiny injection of local anesthesia (feels like a pinch and slight burn), then a blade is used to slice off the lesion. It will leave a small open sore that will heal within 1-2 weeks. Keep the site clean with soap and water and apply antibacterial ointment and a band-aid. It can take about two weeks for most biopsy results to come back from the pathologist (the doctor who reads the slides of your biopsy specimen). At that time, you will know if it was a pre-malignant or malignant lesion that would require further excision (with stitches). The site will likely heal up as a pink or light patch on the skin. Sometimes a bit of color returns because the melanocytes were not all removed.

When in doubt, visit your dermatologist (which you should begin doing each year in your thirties) so that he or she can thoroughly examine your moles and determine whether additional steps are required to keep you healthy.

For more beauty tips, check out how often you should clean your hair brush and how to make lipstick.

 

From Our Partners

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

From Our Partners

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

beauty

The One Hyaluronic Acid Product Dermatologists Swear By For Women Over 30

April 20, 2018 by Emily Belfiore
It's the best of the best

beauty

This Anti-Aging Serum Is So Good It Has A 5-Star Review On Sephora

April 20, 2018 by Emily Belfiore
It's out of this world!

beauty

4 Life-Changing Foundation Tricks You Should Try For Younger-Looking Skin

April 20, 2018 by Jessica Harrington
It's all about flawless application!

beauty

7 Concealers Every Woman Over 30 Should Be Using

April 19, 2018 by Emily Belfiore
They're the best of the best!

beauty

Lush Cosmetics Just Launched The Cutest New Mother's Day Collection

April 18, 2018 by Jessica Harrington
Mother's Day shopping complete.

beauty

The $2 Product With Amazing Reviews & Reputations Everyone Should Own

April 18, 2018 by Emily Belfiore
It's a total lifesaver!

beauty

The Best Anti-Aging Moisturizers That Are Made With Natural Ingredients

April 18, 2018 by Emily Belfiore
They work better than those other ones

beauty

5 Haircuts Celebrities Swear By To Look 10 Years Younger

April 18, 2018 by Jessica Harrington
Give one of these a try.

beauty

This Easy-To-Use Gadget Will Make You Rethink How You Shave

April 17, 2018 by Brianna Peters
It's amazing!

beauty

You Heard It Here First: Tamanu Oil Is About To Blow Up In The Beauty World

April 17, 2018 by Jeanine Edwards
It's a beauty game-changer.

beauty

4 Cheap Natural Cruelty-Free Products Dermatologists Swear By

April 17, 2018 by Emily Belfiore
Everyone should be using these!

beauty

6 Beauty Products That Are ALWAYS Selling Out At Sephora

April 17, 2018 by Emily Belfiore
They always fly off the shelves!

beauty

4 Life-Changing Makeup Products You Should Try For Younger-Looking Skin

April 17, 2018 by Jessica Harrington
These are amazing.

beauty

Stowaway Cosmetics Just Debuted The Most Amazing Color-Changing Lipstick Ever

Lipstick is hands down one of the beauty items I ...

beauty

This Easy-To-Use Gadget Will Make You Rethink How You Shave

We've all been there. You're supposed to head ...

beauty

You Heard It Here First: Tamanu Oil Is About To Blow Up In The Beauty World

I'm lucky to not have super sensitive skin, but ...

beauty

I'm 24 And I Got Lip Injections--Here's What I Looked Like Before And After

I have been insecure about my lips for as long ...

LOAD MORE
+
LOAD MORE POSTS