Taking care of your skin involves more than just cleansing and moisturizing. At The Dermatology Clinic, we believe that preventive care is one of the most important tools you have to keep your skin healthy, and making self-checks a part of your daily routine is an essential part of skin care. Here’s a short overview of moles—what they are, why we get them, and warning signs that may indicate you should see a dermatologist.
What Are Moles, and Why Do We Get Them?
Moles are an extremely common type of skin lesion. In fact, every person has between 10 to 40 moles on average. They’re usually brown or black, less than 1/4 inch wide, are painless, and appear within the first 25 years of our lives. To put it simply, they form when skin cells called melanocytes grow in a localized area rather than being spread evenly across the skin. Fortunately, the vast majority of moles are benign. However, there are a few warning signs and abnormalities that you should be aware of.
When Should I Go to the Dermatologist?
Although malignant moles are relatively uncommon, they do occur. Here’s a brief list of what you should watch out for:
– Asymmetrical moles should be examined by a dermatologist because common moles are circular and symmetrical in shape.
– Moles with uneven or undefined borders may be a concern because most moles have clearly defined borders.
– You should always get large moles checked because they deviate from the average size of 1/4 inch.
– Moles that change shape are abnormal and should be examined.
– Moles can fall within a wide range of colors; however, moles that vary in color throughout should get checked out.
You can easily remember these warning signs during self-checks with ABCDE (asymmetry, border, color, diameter, evolution). Additionally, since most moles appear before the age of 25, you should definitely get any new moles or growths examined as you age.
Detecting these warning signs requires awareness of what’s on your skin. If you’ve noticed any recent changes in your skin, or you’d simply like a little peace of mind with a screening, The Dermatology Clinic in Baton Rouge is ready to schedule an appointment with you. Our staff of experienced physicians and aestheticians can help you with staying on top of new moles, freckles, or skin tags that may be suspicious. Give us a call at (225) 769-7546 or complete our online form today to schedule an appointment.