Skin Problems
 
Moles and Benign Skin Growths

» Moles
Moles are common. As a child grows new moles are seen and they get larger and darker. Sometimes moles may lose their colour and become lighter. Most moles are harmless, but sometimes they may become cancerous mole. If you suspect that your mole has change character, get it examined by Dr Joyce Lim, a dermatologist just to make sure that it is not a melanoma – a type of skin cancer that can arise from mole.

1. WHAT IS A COMMON MOLE?

A common mole appears during childhood and adolescence. Moles become larger or darker during teenage years, during sun exposure or during pregnancy. Common moles are symmetrical and have a uniform colour. They are harmless and do not require removal. They are removed for cosmetic reasons, for cultural reasons (fengshiu) and for medical reasons. See a dermatologist if a mole looks different from the others or it bleeds or become itchy.

2. WHAT ARE CONGENITAL MOLES?

Congenital moles are moles that appear at birth and are considered as a birthmark. They are usually seen on the body and majority are small and harmless. However, a large congenital mole (>20cm) has a higher risk of melanoma (up to 10%). The risk is higher in the first 10 years of life, the highest being within the first 5 years. See Dr Joyce Lim, a dermatologist if you have a large congenital mole or are unsure if you have one.

3. WHAT IS AN ATYPICAL MOLE?

Atypical mole, also called dysplastic mole, differs from common mole by having one or more of the following:
  • Asymmetry
  • Irregular border
  • Has more than one colour
  • Larger than 6mm in diameter
Schedule a routine skin examination with Dr Joyce Lim if you think you have a dysplastic mole

4. WHAT IS A SPITZ NAEVUS?

A Spitz naevus is a raised mole that looks like a melanoma with many colours (red, brown, black). They appear during the first 20 years of life and can also be seen in some adults. Schedule a routine skin examination with Dr Joyce Lim if you think you have a Spitz naevus

5. DO ALL MOLES EVENTUALLY BECOME CANCERS?

Fortunately most moles do not become skin cancers. However, there are signs to look out for to suggest that a mole is changing its character. We refer to it as the ABCD signs of a changing mole

The ABCD signs stand for Asymmetry, Borders, Colour and Diameter of a mole
  • Asymmentry -the two halves of the growth is asymmetrical
  • Borders - the borders are jagged, no longer smooth
  • Colour - the growth becomes red or purple
  • Diameter - there is a sudden increase in size
Suspect a mole is changing into a skin cancer if you have any of these signs and see a dermatologist early

If you have a family history of melanoma, schedule a regular skin check with a dermatologist – to detect early changes in your moles

6. HOW CAN I REMOVE MY MOLE?

See a dermatologist who is a skin specialist, trained to identify moles and melanoma if you intend to have your moles moved. Moles can be removed by laser or by surgery. Moles should only be removed by laser if the dermatologist is sure they are benign. If there is any suspicion of an atypical mole or Spitz naevus, surgery is the only option and the mole is removed and sent for Lab test (histology).

» Benign Skin Growths
1. WHAT CAN I DO FOR MY FRECKLES?



Milia are small white/yellow spots and commonly seen in children and adults. They are benign and often go away on their own. They can be removed by curettage/needle

2. WHAT ARE SYRINGOMAS?



Syringomas are growths of sweat glands seen usually around the eyes. They are commonly seen among Asians and there is usually a genetic predisposition. Over time new ones may form and they often join together to from bigger growths. As they will continue to grow larger they should be removed either by laser or surgery.

3. WHAT ARE XANTHELASMA



Xanthelasma are raised yellow patches seen on the eyelids and they are cholesterol deposits. You have to check your fasting blood cholesterol level. Usually the cholesterol level is high but they can also be seen with normal blood cholesterol levels. They continue to grow and usually it is better to remove them by laser or by surgery. Recurrence is common after removal.

4. WHAT ARE SEBACEOUS HYPERPLASIA?



Sebaceous hyperplasia are enlarged oil glands seen in older people. They are small yellow bumps which are firm and irregular and if you look closely you can see a small punctum (hole) in the centre and the edges are lobulated.

5. WHAT ARE SKIN TAGS AND SEBORRHOEIC KERATOSIS?

Skin tags are small skin outgrowths often seen on the face and neck. They increase in numbers as we age and is often seen during pregnancy. Sometimes, skin tags are accompanied by soft small brown or black skin growths called seborrhoeic keratoses. The growths appear as if they are "stuck-on" the skin with a rough and greasy surface. They are usually multiple, distributed on the face, body and limbs. Sometimes they may occur together with brown flat spots, the age spots/liver spots/sun spots.

6. WHAT ARE THE TREATMENTS FOR BENIGN SKIN GROWTHS?

Benign skin growths are removed by laser, skin surgery or cryosurgery. However, schedule an appointment with Dr Joyce Lim, a dermatologist, to exclude a skin cancer from a benign growth.

 
...................................................
290 Orchard Road
#11-16/20, Paragon Medical Suites
Singapore 238859
T : 6834 9159
Email: drjoyce@joycelim.com
 
...................................................
290 Orchard Road
#11-16/20, Paragon Medical Suites
Singapore 238859
T : 6834 9159
Email: drjoyce@joycelim.com