Moles Archives | Dr Anastasia Therianou

Skin Moles to worry About

Skin Moles To Worry About

How do you know if a skin mole is dangerous? And is it best to remove raised and worried moles? Most moles are harmless, but as around 20 to 30 percent of cancerous moles develop in existing skin tags, knowing what to look out for is essential in the early detection of melanoma. While mole removal is relatively simple, it’s vital to act quickly if a skin tag is a threat to your health.

Moles are very common and most of us have one or more. They are concentrations of pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) and people with light skin tend to have more skin tags than people with darker skin. While freckles tend to emerge in childhood and adolescence, they change in size and color as we grow. New skin tags often occur when we are going through hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy.

Most benign skin tags are small and usually brown, tan, or pink with a distinct edge and symmetrical shape. A raised freckles may bother you if it affects your appearance but it is not necessarily a sign of melanoma unless it was previously flat. If you notice changes in your freckles or new, unusual skin tags that are rapidly increasing in size, it is time to get your skin tag checked by a dermatologist.

The A-B-C-D-Es is a simple way of checking your skin tags.

A is for asymmetrical. A skin tag with an irregular size shape is abnormal. It should be round or oval, with both sides matching if you were to draw a line through the middle.

B is for the border. Does your skin tag have an irregular, scalloped, blurry or jagged border? Common moles tend to have even borders.

C is for color. Does your skin moles have uneven color or multiple colors? Benign skin tags are a single color but melanoma may have different shades of brown, tan, or black. Red, white or blue may also appear in a melanoma.

D is for diameter or dark. Are your freckles larger than a pea? If so you will need to get it checked. Equally, any mole that is darker than others could be a sign of melanoma.

E is for evolving. Has your skin condition changed recently? Familiarise yourself with the appearance of your moles so you can notice changes as they occur.


Standout moles

Most normal skin moles resemble one another, whereas melanomas standout from the rest like an ‘ugly duckling’. To compare any suspicious skin tags to the ones around it. Is it larger, smaller, lighter, or darker than your other skin tags? Equally a mole that has no other moles near it could be a warning sign of melanoma.

Other Skin Moles

An itchy mole, along with other changes like crusting, oozing, and bleeding can be a sign of melanoma. However, itchiness can sometimes be caused by irritation of nerves in the skin due to exposure to the sun. Products applied to your skin, dryness of your skin, or the rubbing of a raised mole by your clothing or a seatbelt.

Be vigilant

As skin cancer comes in many forms it’s important to monitor your skin moles and watch out for any changes to them, any that become sore, larger, or become swollen or newly itchy. Also, look out for any new skin moles or freckles. While it’s normal for new skin moles to appear up to the age of 40, beyond that age it is a worrying sign. Check your skin for changes every month and have a yearly mole checkup with your dermatologist.

Harmless Mole removal

You can have a skin tag removed if you don’t like the way it looks or it irritates you. You may have a raised or unsightly freckles that affect your appearance, gets irritated when it rubs against your clothes, or gets in the way when you shave or get dressed. It is important that the doctor chooses the best surgical technique for 2 reasons: for removing the existing mole successfully but also for the best cosmetic result.

If you are worried about skin moles or unhappy about their appearance, I can give you peace of mind. I’m able to give the majority of my patients a clear answer about what their skin lesion is and only when necessary will I recommend removing the skin tag for analysis (testing it under the microscope). I am able to remove moles using techniques that leave minimal scarring. Contact me, Dr Anastasia Therianou, consultant dermatologist for hair loss and mole problems.

What is a dermatologist?

Dermatologists diagnose and treat skin conditions like skin tags or atypical moles, hair loss, and nail diseases. To become a dermatologist you have to be medically qualified just like any other doctor, and then train in general medicine. A dermatologist will then work, research and training in a specialist area, developing expertise in a dermatological sub-specialty. The whole process takes about 15 years.

Dermatologists treat over 3,000 skin diseases, including acne, psoriasis, and skin cancers, plus a huge variety of nail and hair conditions.

As well as prescribing topical and oral treatments, dermatologists are trained to carry out skin surgery, laser treatments, and more. With such expertise dermatologists are the best people to diagnose and treat your medical condition.

Skin conditions

Common reasons for referral to a dermatologist include eczema, psoriasis, and severe acne, acne scars. But the skin is a complex organ and there are in fact over 3,000 skin diseases, with about 20 of them accounting for the vast majority of dermatologists’ workload. In recent years skin cancers have increasingly been added to this workload, due in part to holidays abroad and the erroneous belief that tanned skin is healthy. There are also many underlying systemic diseases that manifest as skin rashes.

dermatologist moles
How you can identify the type of moles

Nail conditions

Fungal infections are a very common nail condition treated by dermatologists. Beyond infections, a dermatologist can also diagnose a range of abnormal growths within the nail. Some of these nail growths can be benign but may also be viral warts, fibroid tumors, or malignant growths. Symptoms and signs of nail conditions can include discoloration, scaling, or the nail ‘lifting’ so it is no longer completely attached.

nails dermatologist
Nails problem diagnosis

Hair conditions

A dermatologist is the best person to diagnose and provide hair loss treatments, which can be the result of a wide variety of conditions. These include anemia, androgenetic alopecia, alopecia areata, male pattern baldness, hair follicles, female pattern, and many different autoimmune diseases, thyroid disorders, traction, and baldness. Female hair loss can also occur as a result of polycystic ovary syndrome, after pregnancy and during menopause.

hair loss problems
Hair loss problems

What can a dermatologist diagnose?

Many scalps, hair, and nail conditions can be diagnosed by a thorough physical examination. The consultant will also review your medical history, ask about the symptoms, and examine the affected area.

In some cases, certain tests such as dermoscopy, a blood test, a skin swab, or skin biopsy may be necessary for diagnosis, or a trichometry or trichoscopy with video dermatoscopy.

You should seek medical advice when you first notice a medical condition. Consult your GP first for common problems such as mild acne, rosacea, and minor rashes.

They may refer you to a dermatologist near if specialist diagnosis and treatment is required. Seeking a consultation early will help reduce the potential risks and complications that may arise due to the dermatological condition.

I am a consultant dermatologist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, a big teaching medical team in hospital in central London.

While I cover general dermatology including acne, psoriasis, and eczema, my areas of particular interest are hair and nail disorders, skin cancers, and complex skin diseases.

I am one of the few London dermatologists in the UK who specialize in hair loss. Dr. Anastasia Therianou is a hair loss expert and mole, problem expert. To arrange a consultation book an appointment with me in my dermatology clinic in Harley Street.

To book an appointment or to request more information click here and please fill out the form and we will contact you shortly.

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