There are several types of skin lesions that are very common and almost always benign (non-cancerous). These can include moles, freckles, skin tags, benign lentigines and seborrheic keratoses.
What is a mole?
Moles are skin growths usually appearing in black or brown, appearing anywhere on the skin, alone or in groups.
Moles tend to appear in early childhood and during the first 20 years of a person’s life. Some moles may not appear until later in life. It’s completely normal to have between 10 – 40 moles by adulthood.
As the years pass, moles can change slowly, becoming raised, lighter in colour or containing hairs.
When examining moles, what should I watch out for?
Most moles are benign, the ones that are medically concerning are those that look different from other moles or appearing after age 30. If you do notice any moles that change in colour, height, size or shape, we always recommend booking a mole check with one of our Dermatologists. If your mole bleed, ooze, itch or appear scaly, tender and painful, get those checked over too!
You may need someone to help you when checking your moles at home, pay special attention to areas of your skin often exposed to sunlight and take care for those “hidden areas”.
The following ABCDEs are important signs of moles that could be cancerous. If a mole displays any of the signs listed below, have it checked immediately by a dermatologist:
- Asymmetry — One half of the mole does not match the other half.
- Border — The border or edges of the mole are ragged, blurred, or irregular.
- Color — The color of the mole is not the same throughout or has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white or red.
- Diameter — The diameter of a mole is larger than the eraser of a pencil.
- Elevation/Evolution — A mole appears elevated, or raised from the skin. Are the moles changing over time?
What happens if your dermatologist is concerned about your mole?
When Mr. Al Ghazal is concerned about a mole and believes it should be evaluated further or entirely removes, he will take a biopsy (a small tissue sample of the mole) and send this to our partner laboratory for a histology.
If the mole is found to be cancerous, Mr. Al Ghazal will remove the entire mole by cutting out the entire mole and a rim of normal skin around it and stitching the wound closed.
What is a skin tag?
A skin tag is a small flap of tissue that hangs off the skin by a connecting stalk. Skin tags are benign and not dangerous. They’re often found on the neck, chest, back armpits, under the breasts or in the groin area. Skin tags appear more commonly on women, especially with weight-gain and in middle-aged and elderly people.
What is a lentigo?
This appears as a spot on the skin that is darker (commonly brown) than the surrounding skin. Most commonly found on Caucasian patients, especially those with fair skin, but can occur for anyone.
What are freckles?
Freckles are small brown spots usually found on the face and arms. They’re extremely common and are not a health threat. They are more often seen in the summer, especially among lighter-skinned people, and people with light or red hair. However, they can occur in anyone and appear as darker brown spots in people with darker skin.
What are seborrheic keratoses?
These are brown or black growths usually found on the chest and back, along with the head. They originate form cells calls keratinocytes. As they develop they tend to take on a wart-like appearance.
To book a Consultation with our Consultant Plastic Surgeon to discuss any of your skincare needs, please call us on 0113 833 4900.