Moles are (benign) accumulations of pigment-producing cells in the skin. A birthmark is a normal and benign phenomenon, almost everyone has birthmarks. The number of moles someone has can vary from person to person. They can be of different colors: black, brown, red or even skin-colored. The shape also varies from smooth, raised to spherical. A light brown birthmark is difficult to distinguish from a freckle or lentigo. More on freckles and liver spots.
Birthmarks can suddenly increase from puberty, and existing birthmarks can also grow and increase in number during pregnancy. Often the shape is symmetrical and the birthmark has only 1 color.
Atypical moles are moles with an irregular shape and multiple colors. For example, there may be different shades of brown in the same mole. Atypical moles are benign, but sometimes need to be monitored. As a precaution, atypical moles are often removed and sent for histological tissue examination. People with multiple atypical moles have a higher chance of getting melanoma (skin cancer).
HOW DO BIRTHMARKS OCCUR?
Most moles develop between the ages of 3 and 20, although some moles can be present from birth. There are several factors that can increase the chances of developing moles, including:
- Genetics: The tendency to develop moles can be passed down through families.
- Sun exposure: Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or tanning beds can increase the number of moles that form, especially in fair-skinned people.
- Age: Moles can appear at any age, but they are more common in children and young adults.
- Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can cause the development of new moles or changes in existing moles.
Research suggests there may be some racial differences in the amount and characteristics of moles. For example, light-skinned people tend to have more moles than darker-skinned people. Studies have also found that lighter-skinned individuals have a higher risk of developing melanoma, a type of skin cancer that can resemble a mole.
In general, people with lighter skin have a higher risk of developing skin cancers, including melanoma, than people with darker skin. This may be due to differences in skin pigmentation, which can affect how the skin reacts to UV rays from the sun. Fair-skinned people tend to burn more easily and are more susceptible to sun damage, which can increase the risk of developing moles and skin cancer.
WHEN DO YOU SHAVE A MOLE?
When a birthmark is raised or has a bulge, it can be treated using the “shave technique”. This technique involves picking up the birthmark with tweezers and then gently removing it with scissors. After removing the birthmark, the spot is carefully cauterized to stop the bleeding. After the treatment, a small scab may appear, which takes about a week to a week and a half to fall off on its own. The healing process usually proceeds without complications and leaves healthy skin on the treated area. It is important to follow the dermatologist’s instructions and take good care of the area during the healing process.
WHEN TO DO AN EXCISION OF A MOLE?
When a birthmark is flat, an excision procedure is usually chosen. In this treatment, the birthmark is cut away and completely removed from the skin. The surrounding skin will be carefully numbed before the incision is made. Then the birthmark is cut away.
After removing the birthmark, the skin is carefully sutured using fine sutures. These sutures are usually placed under the skin to promote better healing and minimization of the scar. To protect the area and aid in the healing process, a sterile bandage is applied to the wound.
It is important to follow the doctor’s instructions regarding wound care and keeping the area clean and dry. The stitches will be removed after about 2 weeks. Removing the stitches is usually a simple and painless procedure.
After healing, a small scar usually remains where the birthmark was removed. The scar may be red and slightly raised at first, but fade and flatten over time. It is important to protect the scar from excessive sun exposure, as sun exposure can slow down the healing process and darken the scar.
cIt is important to protect the scar from excessive sun exposure, as sun exposure can slow down the healing process and darken the scar. If you are concerned about the scar or if signs of infection or complications appear, contact your dermatologist immediately.
For both shaving and excision, 1 treatment is sufficient. Sometimes when shaving, a little bit of sanding is done at a later time when it is not flush with the skin layer.
What are possible complications after treatment?
After both a shave and an excision of a birthmark, some complications may occur. It is important to note that complications are rare, but they can occur in some cases.
Some possible complications include:
- Color differences: After removing a mole, a difference in color can sometimes occur on the treated area. This can result in a lighter or darker spot on the skin. It may take some time for the color to fully return to normal, but in most cases the color difference will fade over time.
- Infection: Although infections are rare, there is always a small risk of infection after a procedure. It is important to keep the wound clean and follow the dermatologist’s instructions to minimize the risk of infection. Signs of an infection may include redness, swelling, pain, and pus formation. If you suspect an infection, contact your dermatologist.
With a shave procedure, there is a small risk of a recurrence of the mole, which means that the mole can grow back in the same location. This is less common than with an excision, because with a shave the birthmark is removed less deeply. One option is to treat again with the same coagulation method.
With an excision, the birthmark is completely cut away and a scar may be left at the site of the procedure. In most cases, the scar heals well and becomes flatter and less noticeable over time. However, sometimes the scar can become hypertrophied, meaning it can be thicker and raised. It is important to take good care of the scar and protect it from excessive sun exposure to minimize the risk of scarring problems.
It is always advisable to discuss any concerns or complications with your doctor. They can give you specific instructions about aftercare and guide you through the healing process.
Advice after a treatment
If you have recently undergone dermatological treatment to remove a mole, it is important to follow these steps to ensure a quick and good recovery:
- Houd de wond schoon en droog: Het is belangrijk om de wond schoon te houden om infectie te voorkomen. Gently wash the area with mild soap and water and pat dry with a clean towel.
- Avoid sun exposure: Make sure to cover the wound with a band aid and avoid sun exposure. Sun exposure can slow the healing process and increase the likelihood of scarring. Protect the wound 6 weeks after treatment with an SPF30 sunscreen.
- Avoid tight clothing: Wear loose clothing to prevent chafing and allow the wound to breathe.
- Follow your dermatologist’s instructions about using any medications or creams that may be prescribed to aid in the healing process.
- Check the wound: Check the wound regularly to see if there are any signs of infection, such as pain, redness, warmth, swelling, or pus. If you notice these symptoms, contact your dermatologist.
Remember that each individual may respond differently to mole treatment and the healing process may vary. If you’re concerned about recovery, don’t hesitate to talk to your dermatologist.
Are you interested, make a free and non-binding conversation with one of the skin therapistsSKN2.
How can Iconic Elements help you?
After having a mole removed, it is important to care for the skin in that area to promote the healing process and minimize the risk of infection. After the scabs have disappeared or the stitches have been removed, Iconic Elements Calming Cream can be useful in the evening for its calming properties.
Here’s how you can apply it:
- Clean skin: Always start with clean skin. Gently wash the treated area with a mild, unscented soap and gently pat dry with a clean, soft towel.
- Moisturize: Apply a thin layer of Calming Cream to the treated area. Use clean hands or possibly a sterile cotton swab to prevent contamination.
- Gentle movements: Gently massage the cream into the skin using circular movements. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, especially if the skin is sensitive after mole removal.
- Regularity: Repeat this application once a day, in the evening, or as directed by your doctor or dermatologist.
- Patience: Give the skin enough time to heal. Keep the area clean and protected from direct sunlight, as skin may be more sensitive to the sun after a removal procedure.
- Follow-up advice: It is always wise to follow the advice of your doctor or dermatologist. They can provide specific instructions based on your situation and the treatment method used.
While you are here
Age spots, also called lentigo solaris, are sharply outlined and even spots of light brown color. These smooth spots are flat and have the same color as a delicious cup of coffee (café-au-lait). They are common on the face and hands and usually range in size from a few millimeters to tens of millimeters. Fortunately, while multiple spots of varying sizes are often present, they are benign and nothing to worry about. If you want to know more about the causes and what you can do about it, click here