Moles develop when your skin cells (melanocytes) begin to grow in groups instead of being evenly dispersed on your skin. While melanocytes provide your skin with color, some moles are pre-cancerous or cancerous. If you ever notice that your moles have changed in color, size or begins itching or bleeding, it is important that you have it evaluated by a dermatologist as soon as possible as some skin cancers can become malignant and spread throughout your body.
Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers that people develop. 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of their lifetime.
When Should a Mole Be Removed?
Most moles are benign and it is common for people to have up to 40 moles by the time they reach 18 years of age. However, if a dermatologist discovers a mole is pre-cancerous, removing the mole can prevent you from later developing skin cancer. Even if the mole is not pre-cancerous, there may be other benefits to removing a mole. You may want to remove moles that are interfering with shaving or you may decide to remove moles for cosmetic reasons. Note that insurance does not typically cover the cost of mole removal for cosmetic reasons.
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Dr. Iris Gin is the NBC Living Well Expert in Dermatology and is one of the most recognizable names in the field of dermatology. She has been featured on numerous news and media including NBC, KRON, Best of the Bay TV, and SJ Mercury News.