Moles are medically known as “nevi.” They are most often identified as small, dark brown spots on the skin. However, they can come in a range of colors, sizes and shapes. Moles can develop anywhere on your body, and in most cases are harmless. In certain cases moles can become cancerous—and therefore it is important to monitor moles as an important step in the detection of skin cancer.

Causes of moles

Moles are caused when pigmented cells—called melanocytes—are distributed unevenly as clusters or clumps in the skin. Melanocyte cells produce melanin, which is the pigment that gives your skin color.

moles

Preventing complications with moles

Although there is no way to prevent your skin from developing a mole, there are strategies to catch potential problems with a mole that may develop into malignant melanoma (skin cancer). Exam your skin on a regular basis, and remember to check all areas on your body, including those that are hard to see and that are not exposed to direct sunlight.

Use this “A” to “E” guide during your routine self-examination to detect the potential for melanomas:

  • “A” is for Asymmetry: (moles with irregular shapes, such as two very different-looking halves, may be of concern)
  • “B” is for Borders: (Moles with notched, scalloped or irregular borders are common with melanomas)
  • “C” is for Change in Color: (If a mole changes in color over time, or has an uneven distribution of color within its boundaries, this may be a concern)
  • “D” is for Diameter (Moles that are larger than ¼” or 6 millimeters should be checked by a physician)
  • “E” is for Evolving (Any mole that changes over time in size, shape or color—or becomes symptomatic with conditions such as itchiness, bleeding or oozing—should be checked by your physician)

 

In addition to frequently checking your skin, you can also prevent the possibility for cancerous changes by:

  • Staying out of the sun during the peak hours of intensity
  • Using sunscreen (SPF 15+)
  • Covering up: (broad-brimmed hat, tight knit clothing with longer sleeves and clothing made with a specialty fabric to block UV rays)

 

It usually isn’t necessary to treat a mole, but if it is determined that one or more of your moles is suspicious, your Sante Medical physician may take a tissue sample or biopsy to detect cancerous cells.

Benign moles can be targeted and removed using one of our Resurfacing Lasers, in particular the SmartXide CO2 and VariLite KTP lasers.


It usually isn’t necessary to treat a mole, but if it is determined that one or more of your moles is suspicious, your Sante Medical physician may take a tissue sample or biopsy to detect cancerous cells.

Related Procedures To Think About

Laser Resurfacing

SmartXide CO2 and VariLite KTP