Irritated Mole Treatment – The Woodlands Dermatologist Anthony J. Perri, M.D.
Aside from being a little unpleasant to look at, most moles are nothing to be concerned about. In fact, it’s common for most people to have anywhere from 10 to 45 moles during their lifetime, the majority of which tend to appear prior to age 40. Often, patients seek treatment for irritated moles in The Woodlands and Conroe simply to improve appearance. There are, however, cases where moles can become real causes for concern.
What Are Moles?
Moles are a common type of skin growth, often appearing as small spots that are dark brown in color. These are caused when clusters of pigmented cells called melanocytes grow together in clumps rather than dispersing out across the skin as they do normally. Moles can develop anywhere on the body, including between your fingers and toes, under your nails, in your armpits, and even on your scalp. Knowing this, it’s easy to understand why it’s fairly common to develop irritated moles.
The Woodlands and Conroe patients most often see moles appear as characteristic brown spots, however, moles can exhibit many variations from this norm, including differences in:
- Size: Moles that are present from birth can be quite large, sometimes covering wide areas of the face, limbs, or torso, though most are usually less than 1/4 inch in diameter — roughly the size of a pencil eraser.
- Color and texture: Aside from brown, moles can be tan, black, blue, red or pink in color. They can also be smooth, flat, wrinkled, or raised. They may also have hair growing from them.
- Shape: Moles can vary in shape from oval to round and even become irregularly shaped, though this is usually a warning sign that a larger issue may be developing.
Can I Help Prevent Moles?
While the exact cause of moles isn’t completely clear, sun exposure and UV radiation are believed to play a role. Doing the following can help reduce your risk of developing moles as well as the risk of existing moles becoming problematic:
- Avoid peak sun times: Excessive sun exposure in general should be avoided, but in particular, staying out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is helpful in prevention, as the UV rays are strongest during this period.
- Avoid tanning beds: The sun’s rays aren’t the only thing that can expose you to UV radiation. Tanning beds also emit UV rays and can increase your risk of moles and skin cancer.
- Use sunscreen year-round: Many believe that sunscreen is only necessary when the sun is out, but sunburns can occur even in cloudy conditions. Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 daily, about 30 minutes before going outdoors, and reapplying every two hours (or more often if you’re sweating or in the water) can help protect against the effects of UV radiation.
- Wear protective clothing: Wearing sunglasses, large-brimmed hats, long sleeves and other protective clothing, including clothing specially treated to block UV rays, can aid in prevention.
Can Moles Be Dangerous?
The vast majority of moles aren’t considered dangerous. In fact, many will fade on their own with time. Unfortunately, moles do have the potential to become cancerous and progress into melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer.
Melanoma accounts for over 75% of skin cancer deaths each year in the US. Thankfully, melanoma has a very high success rate of treatment when it is discovered early. Dr. Perri recommends you perform regular self-checks on your skin to look for changes in moles and your skin in general.
When examining moles, dermatologists often look for what they describe as the ABCDEs:
- Asymmetry: one half of the mole is not identical to the other half.
- Border: the mole’s edges are irregular, notched, or scalloped.
- Color: the mole’s color has changed, has many colors, or has uneven color throughout.
- Diameter: the mole is larger than ¼” in diameter.
- Evolution: the mole continues to change in height, shape, or size, or if part or all of it turns black.
Additionally, you should be aware of irritated moles. The Woodlands and Conroe patients whose moles become painful, itching, burning, oozing, or bleeding should see Dr. Perri as soon as possible. Abnormal moles that grow back after having been removed and moles that appear after age 30 are also a concern.
How Are Moles Treated?
Whether you simply want to get rid of a mole for cosmetic reasons or you believe it may be potentially dangerous, the safest course is to schedule an appointment with Dr. Perri. Depending on your particular situation, he may choose to either perform a surgical excision, in which the mole and a margin of surrounding skin are removed completely with a scalpel, or a surgical shave, which uses a smaller blade to cut around and beneath smaller moles. In both procedures, you will receive general anesthesia, though the surgical shave doesn’t require sutures like excision does.
Above all, Dr. Perri and his staff have your well-being in mind. If you have a mole that may be reason for concern, don’t hesitate to call us. We offer two convenient locations with flexible weekday hours to accommodate your schedule and ensure you don’t have to wait to be seen.
Need treatment for irritated moles? The Woodlands and Conroe dermatologist Dr. Anthony J. Perri and his staff are here to help. Call today for your appointment: The Woodlands – 281.943.2749 Conroe – 936.522.4966