What are moles?
Moles usually appear as black or brown growths on one’s skin. Moles can appear on any part of the skin and can happen in clusters or singly.
Most moles appear before one turns 25. Having about 10-40 moles by the time you reach adulthood is normal.
Sometimes, moles can change slowly e.g.become raised or change colour. Hairs may develop on the moles. Some moles may not change, although some may rarelydisappear completely.
What causes moles?
Moles occur when melanocyte cells in the skin grow in clusters instead of spreading out. Melanocytes produce melanin, the pigment that colours our skin, hair and eyes. Moles may become darker with sun exposure, during teen years or pregnancy.
What are the types of moles?
These are normal moles – a small growth on your skin that is pink, tan or brown with a distinct edge.
As the name suggests, congenital nevi are present from birth. They occur in about 1% of the population. These moles have a higher chance of developing into melanoma, a type of cancer, than moles appearing after birth.
Dysplastic nevi are typically larger moles, usually greater in size than a pencil eraser. They often have non-uniform colours with dark brown centres that fade into lighter edges. They are also more likely to become melanoma.
What should I look for when examining my moles?
Most skin moles are benign, which means they are non-cancerous. Moles that look different from other moles on your body are the ones you should be worried about. This is known as the “ugly duckling sign”. Those that appear after the age of 30 should be observed more closely too.
If you notice any changes in the mole’s colour, thickness, size and shape, see a dermatologist. You should also get them checked if they bleed, ooze, itch, scale or become tender or painful. You may want to use a mirror to check your moles or get the help of someone else. Pay attention to the areas most often exposed to sunlight.
The signs you should take note of are the “ABCDE”s. If a mole exhibits any of the following signs, go to a dermatologist to get it checked.
- Asymmetry – Your mole is not symmetrical, which means the two halves are not the same.
- Border – The edges of your mole are blurred, ragged or irregular.
- Colour – The colour of the mole is not uniform, which means it has a mixture of other colours like brown, black, blue, white or red.
- Diameter – The diameter of the mole is bigger than a pencil eraser.
- Elevation/Evolution – The mole becomes raised after being flat, or it changes elevation over time.
What causes skin tags?
We don’t fully understand what causes skin tags, but what we do know is that they form when collagen and blood vessels become trapped inside thickened skin. This happens more commonly in skin folds or creases where the skin rubs against each other.
Some people may be genetically predisposed to getting skin tags. In a genetic disorder called Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome, there are numerous benign skin tags on the body.
Skin tags happen more often in those who are pregnant, obese or those who have diabetes. It is associated with hyperinsulinemia (having too much insulin in the blood).
When do I need to remove my skin tags?
Skin tags generally do not cause any physical symptoms of pain. They usually only pose a problem when repeatedly irritated. The following are reasons for skin tag removal:
- It has become irritated and red from bleeding (haemorrhage) or black from twisting.
- Death of the skin tissue (necrosis).
If they become snagged by clothing or jewellery, they may cause some pain or discomfort. However, they are benign growths that are not dangerous and generally do not need to be removed.
Sometimes, a skin tag may fall off on its own without any discomfort. This may happen when it twists and the blood flow is disrupted.
Moles and Skin Lumps Removal in Singapore by Harmony Aesthetics
Moles and common skin lumps such as skin tags are easily removed using an Electrosurgery device. This involves applying a heated metal wire directly to skin lesions, causing varying degrees of tissue destruction.
Alternatively, the Dual Yellow Laser may be used in cases where fine precision is required to minimise collateral tissue damage (e.g., small facial moles, where lesions overlie areas of thin skin). Before undergoing any procedure, you will be counselled on the expected outcome, possible side effects, downtime, and recurrence rate, which varies between different conditions.