Besides being a unit of chemical weight or a small burrowing animal, a mole with reference to skin is described as a variety of skin imperfections. While many prefer to call mole as a beauty mark, the medical term for mole is melanocytic nevus. Moles are majorly composed of masses of melanocytes (pigment-producing cells of the skin). They appear to be brown, black, tan, red, purple, or skin-coloured and can be perfectly raised or flat. Most moles are smaller than the size of a pencil eraser (about half an inch). This article will talk all about moles, its types, causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
What are moles? Explore some Interesting Facts
Some unknown and interesting facts around moles are listed below:
– Moles are mostly flesh-coloured, tan, brown or black in colour that appear on the skin
– Moles can be both flat and raised. While regular moles are mostly raised, irregular moles tend to be flatter or nearly flat
– If you are exposed to sun in your childhood, your number of moles increases
– Most moles appear in the body at the age of 30 or above
– Irregular moles that are changing randomly in colour and texture have high chances of causing skin cancer called melanoma
Common Types of Moles
Moles are categorized under three basic types, including regular (symmetrical), irregular (atypical) and cancerous (melanomas). The same are explained below along with their specific characteristics:
Regular moles: These are mostly harmless and benign and are usually symmetrical. Regular moles do not have regular borders, uniform colour and are usually smaller in size (size can be compared to a pencil eraser). These moles can be both flat and raised and can have a presence of hair growth on it. These types of moles are specifically found in the lower leg and calf muscles. Any formation of new mole in the women’s calf which is changing its characteristics warrants immediate medical evaluation.
Irregular moles: Also known as atypical moles are usually asymmetrical in nature. As the name suggests, irregular moles have abrupt borders, multiple colours and tend to be comparatively bigger in size than the regular moles. Irregular moles are often found to be flat or nearly flat. If you have more than 20-25 irregular moles or have a presence of a congenital mole which is approximately 8-10 inches in size, you might confer high risks of developing melanoma or cancer. These moles can occur anywhere in the body, however are specially located in sun-exposed skin areas (ears, upper back and shoulders) where people are more prone to sunburns.
Cancerous moles: These are also known as melanomas and are highly irregular in shape. While there are very rare chances of a regular mole turning into a cancerous one, irregular moles confer a high risk of turning into cancerous moles. Mostly, the cancerous moles are characterised by five features, including:
B- Irregular border
D- Bigger diameter
E- Evolving and changing
Cancerous moles typically appear in the sun-exposed areas, including shoulders, upper back, neck and head.
Symptoms of Moles
Moles can develop anywhere on the body, including armpits, underneath nails, scalp, between your fingers and toes, etc. Most people have 10-40 moles in the body. The common symptoms (characteristics) of moles are explained below:
– Texture and colour: As talked before, moles appear to be black, brown, tan, red or purple in colour. As far as the texture of moles are concerned, they appear to be smooth, wrinkled, raised or flat. The moles may or may not have hair growth on them.
– Shape: Moles are mostly oval and round in shape. In case of cancerous moles, the shape can be abrupt which have irregular borders.
– Size: Most are usually less than a half/ one-fourth inch in diameter. Those moles which are present since birth can be bigger than usual that covers a part of the face, limb or torso.
Diagnosis Before Mole Removal Treatment
Your cosmetic surgeon can diagnose mole by looking at your skin. During a skin examination, your doctor will examine the appearance and texture of your skin from head to toe. If the surgeon suspects that the mole could be cancerous due to its physical characteristics, he can recommend a biopsy. Also, if you have a hair growth over the mole, the doctor might test the same by plucking it. In case of pigmentary changes or bleeding, the doctor might ask questions related to anty of the bumps or injury faced by the mole.
Benefits of Mole Removal Surgery
As talked above, moles are the excess skin growth that anyone can experience. At times, these moles vanish on their own, but when these moles start to discomfort or become problematic, it should be removed. The two most prominent benefits of mole removal surgery are listed below:
Lowers the risk of cancer: The most prominent medical reason for undergoing mole removal surgery is when it suspects cancer. Sometimes moles start to increase in shape, become asymmetric, grow undefined outlines, start changing colour, etc. there are chances that the mole is becoming cancerous. In such cases, it becomes crucial to consult a cosmetic surgeon and get the moles removed on priority.
Beauty enhancement: Majority of the people find moles unattractive and if it is at visible spots like the face. Having a dark or protruding growth on the face or other body part makes it physically unappealing and disturbing. In such cases, a mole removal surgery should be considered for aesthetic and chic purposes that can enhance the beauty.
Mole Removal Surgery
To get the mole removed, one must consult a cosmetic surgeon and a dermatologist to find the ideal treatment for you. Glamyo Health has a plethora of expert surgeons who are highly-skilled and thus can provide you with the best solutions. Following are some of the mole removal surgical procedures that can be opted on recommendation of an experienced cosmetic surgeon:
Open surgical excision for mole removal: This kind of mole removal surgery involves chopping off the mole from the crease line of the skin. During the procedure, the targeted area is firstly cleaned and topical anaesthesia is injected into it. Then, a sharp scalpel is used to cut the mole and some days later, the incision is closed by the surgeon using sutures or stitches. Open surgical excision of mole is not used followed these days because it involves risk of infection at the surgical area and causes pain.
Shaving procedure for mole removal: People with shallow moles are often recommended for mole removal by shaving it off. As the first step, the cosmetic surgeon injects anaesthetic to numb the targeted area, followed by which the mole is shaved off from the skin surface or from slightly underneath the skin. Although, the chances are rare, if the wound starts bleeding, a solution is applied on it and dressing is done. The most prominent advantages of this treatment are it is quick, involves minimal pain and leaves no visible scars.
Laser surgery for mole removal: This is one of the most latest and advanced surgical techniques which is practised these days to get it removed. During the procedure, both a high and low intensity laser beam is used to break the mole and get it removed. During the surgery, multiple impulses are directed into the skin in a single second such that the entire process of mole removal becomes simpler and effective against skin from heat damage. Laser surgery for mole removal also corrects the pigmentation of the mole along with the removal of imperfections. This kind of surgical treatment is cost effective, minimally invasive, expert-recommended, minimal pain, no or less blood, making it highly preferable by the patients.
Recovery Time for Mole Removal Surgery
Generally, the expected time for recovery after mole removal treatment is two to three weeks. The doctor might ask you to keep the wound covered with dressing in order to reduce its exposure to direct sunlight. Healing medications along with painkillers will be provided in case you feel any kind of discomfort post-surgery. Some methods to reduce the scarring would be stated by the cosmetic surgeon and the same should be followed diligently in order to avoid complications. Taking initial care of skin post mole removal surgery is critical because it will prevent you from infection.
Foods to Avoid After Mole Removal Surgery
Like after any other surgery, your nutrition in the body should be adequate. While a protein-rich diet boosts the healing process, foods high in sugar and nitrate content can reverse the effect. Consuming junk and unprescribed diet can increase the time it takes to heal the wound. Here are the top four foods to avoid your body’s wound care response post mole removal surgery:
Sugar: A diet which is rich in sugar and refined carbohydrates can result in the degradation of collagen and elastin fibres. This process is called glycation. Both collagen and elastin are made up of fibrous mesh that provides a particular structure to the skin and supports it with elasticity, playing a pivotal role in wound healing. If you intake large quantities of sugar, you are directly risking the degradation of elastin and collagen which can lead to the development of side effects such as scar tissues, known as keloid scars and hypertrophic.
Nitrate-Rich Foods: Good health of blood vessels that reach the wound site is vital in the wound healing process because these blood vessels are responsible for delivering oxygen and essential nutrients for repairment. However, if your dietary plan includes excessive nitrate, it can damage the blood vessels and thus hamper the wound healing process. Some of the nitrate-rich foods include processed meat (salami, bacon, hot dogs, ham, etc.) can pose danger to your wound health. Excess nitrate intake also leads to the build-up of plaque in blood vessels (atherosclerosis), obstruction in blood flow, reduction of the collagen production, etc.
Alcohol: It affects the nutrients absorption which is required to repair the skin following a surgical wound. Alcohol damages the cells that line the intestines and stomach such that the nutrients cannot be transported to the wound site. It impairs the protein absorption and proteins get converted into amino acids for optimum collagen production. While vitamin A, C, D, E, K and B are vital for skin healing, alcohol inhibits the absorption of these vitamins too. Also, zinc, which is a major element for collagen synthesis during the early granulation tissue, alcohol hampers its absorption too, thus limiting the wound healing process post-surgery.
Caffeine: This is also on the list of foods that should be strongly avoided post mole removal surgery because it also hampers wound healing. Although caffeine has strong anti-oxidant properties, caffeine also holds the potential of hindering the natural healing process of the skin. Excessive intake of caffeine affects nutrient absorption and also compromises your skin’s integrity to keep itself hydrated. Dehydration causes the skin to become fragile and susceptible to breaking. Caffeine has strong potential to limit the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the wound by reducing the blood flow. In case of excessive caffeine consumption, it can lead to tissue perfusion where the capillaries can become undernourished, thus increasing the healing time.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the different types of mole removal techniques?
Broadly talking, there are three different types of mole removal techniques, including open excision, shaving and laser surgery. While open surgery involves a lot of risk, laser surgery is considered to be the most advanced and effective technique that is used these days for mole removal.
What causes a bleeding mole?
A mole might bleed when it’s scratched, pulled, or bumped against an object. Moles sometimes become itchy and if it’s scratched, it can tear your skin and cause bleeding. If a mole is bleeding, it means that the skin vessels underneath your mole have become weakened and prone to injury.
How to treat bleeding moles?
If your mole is bleeding, apply a sterilized cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol or antiseptic lotion to stop the bleeding. Once the bleeding stops, you can apply a bandage to cover the area. Make sure you do not apply an adhesive on a bleeding mole, it can cause infection.
Does scratching a mole cause cancer?
It is highly unlikely that scratching a mole would cause cancer. With that being said, scratching a mole or picking it can cause infection.
What causes moles on the body?
Moles are caused when the skin cells, particularly melanocytes, start growing in clusters beneath the skin. Moles are either present on the body by birth or caused due to continuous exposure of the body to sunlight
What exactly are moles?
Moles are common types of skin growth that are of half an inch to 8-10 inches in size. They are mostly dark brown spots that are caused by clusters of pigment forming cells.
Is mole removal surgery really effective?
Yes, mole removal surgery prevents a permanent cure against the spread of cancerous and precancerous cells. It also adds to the aesthetic