Moles, which can appear anywhere on the skin, are common growths that appear when melanocytes (pigment cells) develop in clusters, and vary greatly in their size, shape, and color. Many people choose to have moles removed in order to enhance the appearance of their skin. Although moles are very common and rarely a cause for concern, it’s important to pay close attention to any changes in shape, size or pigmentation of moles – and to seek medical attention to have any suspicious moles examined. When a mole deviates in appearance from a common mole, it may be referred to as an atypical or mole – which is often bigger than a common mole and its shape, color, surface and/or border may appear different.

It’s important to monitor any changes in your moles, and to have your skin checked once a year by a board-certified dermatologist to examine any changes or new growths. At the Dermatology Institute & Laser Center, we are trained in examining moles (which the average patient may sometimes confuse for other dark spots on the skin) and identifying anything that should be more closely observed or further examined to make sure they are not potentially cancerous. We also recommend that people use the “ABCDE” system to look for changes in their moles on their own that should be looked at by a dermatologist, looking for changes in the following characteristics of their moles:

A. Asymmetry—one half does not match the other
B. Border—edges are ragged or blurred
C. Color—uneven shades of brown, black, tan, red, white or blue
D. Diameter—a change in size (usually greater than 6mm, about the size of a pencil’s eraser)
E. Evolving/Evolution (any mole that is changing in appearance)

All moles do not necessarily need to be removed – but if a mole is bothersome to you, or if you don’t like the way it looks, or if there is a chance that it could be potentially cancerous, a dermatologist can safely and effectively remove them through either a surgical excision or surgical shave. Dr. Ros and her team have years of expertise in examining moles and identifying those that are suspicious and require further testing – contact us today at either our North Bergen office at (201) 255-4046 or our Clifton office at (973) 472-1000 to schedule an appointment, or email us.