Cosmetic Removal of Moles & Birthmarks

Many moles and birthmarks on the skin are completely benign, and pose no threat to the person on whom they appear, even if they are unsightly. Oftentimes, though, patients will want these moles removed because they find them to be unattractive. Fortunately, there are a number of effective removal treatment options available today, including, lasers, pulsed light therapy and surgical excision. 

What are the differences between moles and birthmarks?

Moles are skin growths composed of melanocytes, the cells that are responsible for producing the melanin that is ultimately responsible for giving your skin its color. Birthmarks, on the other hand, can be defined as any and all skin growths present at birth. Therefore, some moles are birthmarks, but not all birthmarks are moles.

What causes moles to appear?

There is a genetic component to the appearance of moles, as well as a sun-induced component. If you have a family with many moles, you might have many moles yourself. People who have many moles are at a higher risk of developing malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer known to man. In addition, moles can change depending on sun exposure. High levels of sun exposure can induce mutations in moles that change them. Changes within moles are the main reasons to visit your Dermatologist.

What causes birthmarks?

While some appear simply by chance, most birthmarks are genetically determined or inherited.

How are moles removed?

Some moles are removed for diagnostic purposes. In other words, to make sure that they are not malignant. Others are removed for cosmetic reasons–either because they’re not attractive or are located in a difficult area of the body.

How are birthmarks removed

Most birth marks are either removed by surgery or laser. For example, a hemangioma–a blood blister that appears soon after birth–can be treated with vascular lasers. However, a benign growth, such as epidermal nevus, might have to be removed surgically.

Can moles become cancerous?

Yes, moles can be mutated by their exposure to the sun. These mutations have the potential to turn a mole into a malignant melanoma, which is a deadly skin cancer. Be sure to have your moles checked regularly by your dermatologist.