Moles, Birthmarks, & Sun Damage to the Skin

A woman who has visited the St. Louis Laser Liposuction Center to have her birthmarks looked at.
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.

A woman who has visited the St. Louis Laser Liposuction Center to have her birthmarks looked at.

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.A 5 step diagram that explains how you can self-diagnosis yourself for skin cancer.

Moles with Suspicious Skin ChangesEight different examples of suspicious looking moles.

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.

What too much sun exposure can do to the skin.

What too much exposure can do to the skin. Brown and red discoloration from Sun Damage

Making Skin Care a Priority

No matter what type of skin you’re in, being aware of the risk associated with the development of skin cancer is becoming increasingly more important. Dermatologists and medical professionals recommend that everyone perform a self-examination at least once a month looking for any noticeable changes or concerns across the entirety of skin, paying special attention to moles, birthmarks and sunspots. Beyond this exam, it’s important to schedule an annual checkup so a professional can evaluate your skin as well.

Make an Appointment Today

When it comes to proactive skincare in the prevention of skin cancer, there’s no reason to wait. Contact Dr. Wright and his team at the St. Louis Laser Lipo and Vein Center today for more information on the full range of services we provide related to skincare including skin cancer screenings, annual appointments and treatment options in the event of a skin cancer diagnosis.

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!