Spotted a growth or mark on your skin but not quite sure what it is? It’s common to assume such growths are moles, but they could be other things like skin tags – another type of skin growth.
Moles and skin tags can differ in terms of colour, size, and how they are formed – and this can affect how they should be safely removed if you wish to do so. We break down the difference between moles and skin tags:
Characteristics of Moles
Colour: Moles are growths on the skin that have black, brown, blue, or flesh-coloured tones.
Size: They can grow in a raised fashion or flat on the skin’s surface.
Causes: Moles form when melanocytes – skin cells that gives your skin its colour – grow in a concentrated cluster instead of spreading out over the surface of the skin. The increased skin pigment in that cluster gives your mole its colour. Moles may darken in colour the more they are exposed to sunlight.
Moles can form as a result of genetics, hormonal factors e.g. pregnancy, or sun exposure.
Cryotherapy: This involves the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze the mole till it drops off on its own.
Lasers: A targeted laser treatment precisely burns away the mole, sealing blood vessels while keeping surrounding skin intact.
Minor Surgery: For larger moles, Dr Kok might opt for a minor surgical procedure to remove the mole. This is a daytime procedure that does not require hospitalisation – a local anaesthetic will be administered to the treatment area to ensure the procedure is as comfortable for you as possible.
Characteristics of Skin Tags
Colour: Skin tags range in colour from flesh-toned to brown.
Size: often looks like a “3D” growth from one’s skin
Causes: Skin tags are small growths of skin tissue caused by friction – when the skin continually rubs against itself. Hence, skin tags tend to occur in areas such as the underarms, neck, or groin.
Removal: Like moles, skin tags can also be removed via cryotherapy: the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze the skin tag until it drops off on its own.
Laser treatments can also effectively remove skin tags, sealing blood vessels while keeping surrounding skin intact.
The good news: you don’t have to worry about them most of the time though – they tend to be harmless. But it’s always better to be safe than sorry and know your ABCDEs when conducting routine mole checks:
The ABCDEs of Mole Checks
Asymmetry: Imagine a line cutting through the mole. If the two halves don’t match, it’s considered asymmetrical – a warning sign for melanoma, a type of skin cancer.
Border: Normal, harmless moles tend to have smooth, even borders. If your mole has a jagged border, it’s best to get it checked.
Colour: Most moles only consist of one colour. A mole with multiple colours is a warning sign that shouldn’t be ignored.
Diameter: Cancerous moles usually tend to be bigger in size – usually larger than 6mm in diameter.
Evolving: Benign moles tend to stay the same over time. If you notice any change in size, colour, or traits such as bleeding or itching, this points to danger.
For more information on our mole and skin tag removal treatments, call us at +65 6738 4700, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit us at Wisma Atria Office Tower, #10-04, along Orchard Road.
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