Care for Suspicious or Unwanted Skin Growths in Bryn Mawr, Newtown Square, Philadelphia, and the Main Line

Patients who want a diagnosis and treatment for their moles at Bryn Mawr Skin & Cancer Institute should know that these very common skin growths, which are sometimes called “beauty marks,” are usually harmless and often do not change in appearance. However, some may gradually start to look different because of hormonal changes, may disappear altogether, or, in certain cases look suspicious for cancer. Changes in existing lesions or the appearance of new lesions on the skin can be the earliest signs of skin cancer. Thus, it is very important to self-monitor both new and existing lesions, and to have regular skin cancer exams.

Bryn Mawr Skin & Cancer Institute offers solutions for skin growths like moles. To schedule an appointment, Please BOOK ONLINE, call 610.525.5028, or Contact Us.

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What Causes Moles?

Moles form when pigment-producing cells called melanocytes cluster together. The medical term is a “nevus”—or “nevi” for the plural form. They typically develop on the skin between early childhood and the age of 25. Adults typically have between 10 to 40 moles in total.

What Do Moles Look Like?

Moles can appear on any area of the body and face. Though they are most commonly brown, some may be flesh colored or darker shades of brown to black. Less commonly, they can be red, pink, or blue in color. Moles are usually round or oval, less than a quarter of an inch (about the size of a pencil eraser) in diameter, and have distinct borders. Hairs sometimes grow from them.

What Are the Different Types of Moles?

Three of the most common types of moles include common nevi, congenital nevi, and dysplastic nevi.

Common nevi are normal, benign (non-cancerous), and have a uniform shape and color.

Congenital nevi are present on the skin when you’re born. Most do not have a higher risk of malignant transformation unless they are very large.

Dysplastic nevi, also referred to as atypical moles, are often larger than common nevi with an irregular shape and color. They occur due to genetic factors. The presence of dysplastic nevi puts an individual at higher risk for the development of melanoma.

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Meet Our Dermatologists &
Certified Physician Assistants

Our board-certified dermatologists & PA-Cs are dedicated to detecting and treating skin cancers. We treat the full spectrum of skin diseases. Our Mohs and Plastic Surgery practices are integrated, and offer patients the most advanced skin cancer treatment, delivering superior outcomes.

Treatment Options for Moles

Most of the time, common nevi won’t need to be treated, as they don’t hurt, itch, or bleed. However, if it’s uncomfortable to shave around the mole or if the patient is self-conscious about its appearance, it can be removed. Individuals should never try to get rid of moles on their own with at-home treatments as they could be erroneously treating a skin cancer.

All moles have malignant potential. If a biopsy reveals an advanced degree of atypia or cancer, it will be surgically excised. The amount of surrounding healthy skin removed is determined by the amount of abnormality present in the mole.

Dermatologists advise their patients to check their skin on a monthly basis and watch for any changes. If the color and appearance of a mole evolves over time, or if the patient notices any new symptoms—such as bleeding, oozing, tenderness, itching, and pain—they should see a dermatologist for further evaluation and treatment.

How Can Moles Be Prevented?

Moles are a common dermatological condition determined in large part by genetics. However, to decrease one’s risk of developing skin cancer, the team at Bryn Mawr Skin & Cancer recommends safe sun behaviors: Avoid sun exposure when the rays are strongest, wear a minimum-SPF 50, broad-spectrum sunscreen throughout the year, cover up with ultraviolet protective clothing and accessories, and avoid artificial sources of sunlight like tanning beds.

Bryn Mawr Skin & Cancer Institute offers solutions for skin growths like moles for the Philadelphia, Newtown Square, and Bryn Mawr areas. To schedule an appointment, Please BOOK ONLINE, call 610.525.5028, or Contact Us.

Book online