By Arwa Lodhi
Many of us are born with them, while others find they increase in number during puberty or pregnancy. Moles can be considered to be ‘beauty spots’ by some, or a terrifying sign of skin cancer by others. Some are covered in them, whilst others have one or two dotted on their face or body. So when do you need to really take note of a mole, what can you do to hide them, and when should you seriously be considering consulting a doctor about mole removal?
Here’s all you need to know about how to deal with moles – naturally, of course!
Beauty spots are one of many types of mole
There are many different types of moles, the most common being junctional melanocytic naevi, aka ‘beauty spots’. These tend to be darker in colour than other moles, and are much smaller and lie flat against the skin. Another common type is the dermal melanocytic naevi, which is usually a wee bit raised, light brown and can sometimes have a hair or two sticking out of it (nice, right?). But just knowing these common types doesn’t tell you if they need to be removed.
Most moles are benign, meaning they are harmless, but in rare cases they can develop into melanoma, a serious and aggressive form of skin cancer. Melanomas usually take the form of a dark, fast-growing mark where there wasn’t one before, or a pre-existing mole that changes in appearance, itches or reddens. This is why you should always try to keep track of your moles, whether with photos or just taking a look once a week.
If you spot anything that looks like it’s changing, get it checked out by your doctor asap. While there are around 15,000 cases of melanoma skin cancer a year, there is a 90% survival rate because of mole removal during the early stages of development.
Assuming your moles are benign, there is no reason why you should get them removed. You can certainly have them removed for cosmetic reasons, or if they prove irritating as they brush against clothes. Or be like Marilyn Monroe and Blake Lively who are great examples of leading Hollywood stars who have embraced the moles on their upper lips and cheeks, celebrating their uniqueness.
Always consult an expert on mole removal
Sites like WhatClinic can help you discover mole removal clinics in your local area that can advise further on mole removal procedures. There are different types of procedures available depending on your mole size. It’s always best to consult a qualified clinician or dermatologist for their expert advice before making your final decision with regards to your mole removal surgery.
While there are creams that can be used to treat moles, little is known about their effects and dermatologists generally advise against using this method. When it comes to skincare if there is a cancerous concern, a bit of surgery is always the safest option.
The most common and efficient method for removing moles is surgical, of which there are three types: shave excision, punch biopsy, and excisional surgery. They range in invasiveness from the least, which is shave excision – to the most extreme, which is excisional. Shave excision removes only the protruding surface of the mole, and is done under a local anaesthetic. Punch excision is kind of like having a paper hole punch being taken to your skin to remove the offending mole, and excisional surgery removes the whole mole and surrounding skin, and may require stitches. It may also scar.
An alternative method offered by some mole removal clinics is laser mole removal. Suitable for small, flat blemishes, this should not be used to treat moles that are potentially cancerous.
How to care for your moles
Moles are potentially delicate areas of your skin and need to be cared for with special attention, so beyond keeping an eye on any changes, you should be aware of the following facts:
- A mole is more likely to become inflamed, than normal skin, if scrubbed or exfoliated. For this reason, along with the pollution damage on oceans, you should avoid using skin washes that contain microbeads or any other harsh exfoliant. Also avoid coarse flannels when washing.
- Regular moisturising is helpful to prevent the thin skin of moles from drying out.
- If you are want to remove normal mole hairs, using tweezers is advisable over shaving or waxing to avoid causing damage to the mole surface.
- Exposure to excessive levels of sunlight can trigger a mole to become cancerous. It’s therefore vital to always protect moles against the sun’s UV rays. If you have a significant number of moles on your exposed skin–lower arms, face and neck, for example–it’s a good idea to invest in an everyday eco moisturiser that contains SPF sun protection to be worn throughout the year.
- If you want to cover up moles with makeup, this is going to be exceedingly difficult. Not only are moles far darker than freckles, but they’re also often raised, which means they will cast a shadow on your skin even if the pigment is hidden. With 1 or 2 that you’d like to hide, it’s possible to dot on a heavy foundation, and blend well around the edges.
Gentle for all skins, and with 100% natural ingredients, this face wash not only cares for your moles, but it also greatly improves condition of the skin and pores. Hypoallergenic, too!
Recommended for all skin types, this is a broad spectrum skin protector that shields you with SFP 30 from UVA and UVB rays. An all natural sunscreen, it combines titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to provide all-over skin protection. Extracts of green tea, shea butter and jojoba oil hydrate, moisturise and replenish the skin of vitamins and minerals.
Want some on the spot coverage for your moles? This concealer by W3LL People is a cult favourite for a reason. Gives totally thorough coverage, naturally, and comes in a wide range of shades for all skin types and shades.
Treat your moles with special care and attention, remember that moles might not change for years. Keep them, and your skin, healthy with regular care. If you do end up needing mole removal, always take the advice of a professional mole removal clinic.