Most people have either birthmarks, moles or a combination of both, and for the most part, neither of these harmful. Cindy Crawford’s mole can also be called her birthmark because she has had it since birth , thus it is both a mole and a birthmark. These benign, pigmented parts of the skin may be brown, black, tan, or even red, purple (think vascular lesions or hemangiomas), or pink in hue. They may have been present all your life, but it is possible that these moles may turn into something more harmful if exposed to too much sun over the years. Moles and birthmarks can become cancerous with skin cancer continuing to be the most common form of cancer in the United States.
All About Moles and Birthmarks
There are some warning signs that anyone should keep an eye out for when conducting regular self-scans of their whole body, particularly their moles and birthmarks. If your moles exhibit any of the following, you should seek the help of a dermatologist in St. Louis for treatment. Moles that are:
- Itching or bleeding
- Changing in color
- Changing in shape
- Changing in size
- Larger than six millimeters in diameter
- Contain multiple colors
- Are located somewhere hard to monitor such as on the scalp
These should all be looked at and monitored by an experienced dermatologist, particularly if sun damage to the skin has occurred as skin sun damage over the years can progress to skin cancer if gone unchecked.
Moles with Suspicious Skin Changes
Moles Suspicious for Cancer shown on Left. Moles that are Benign and Not Cancerous on Right
How Does Sun Damage Effect the Skin?
Sun damage can cause problems anywhere on the skin, but the most damage is seen on the face, on the hands and on the arms where the skin is most frequently exposed day after day. Damage may show up in the form of age spots, sun spots, wrinkles and rough skin. It can also lead to signs of premature aging and skin cancer, which is why prevention is so important but so also is regular care from a trained, experienced dermatologist.
The sun should be avoided whenever possible during the midday hours when the UV rays are at their strongest. Excessive exposure in general should be avoided, no matter what your age. Sunscreen should be worn daily, even in the winter months.
If you’re worried about the condition of your skin, particularly any birthmarks or moles that seem to be affected by excessive sun exposure, a trip to the St. Louis Laser Lipo Center should be made as soon as possible. The damage may be treated easily and can stop the spreading or growth of any potential cancer, moles can be safely removed, and all treatment options can be prevented to keep you and your skin healthy for as long as possible. Contact Dr. Wright – your dermatologist in St. Louis – today to get your consultation!