Moles are growths on the skin that are usually brown or black and can appear anywhere on the skin, alone or in groups. Most moles appear in early childhood or during the first 20 years. Some moles might not appear until later in life.
The average adult has around 30 benign moles on their skin. Over time, moles can change, becoming raised and lighter in colour and hairs can also develop on the mole. Some moles will never change, and others will slowly disappear over time.
Any mole that itches, hurts, changes in colour, size, or shape, or bleeds should always be checked by a doctor as these symptoms can indicate the development of a malignant melanoma.
Freckles are small brown spots most commonly found on the face and arms. Freckles can occur in anyone, and appear as darker brown spots in people with darker skin. Both men and women can get freckles.
Freckles do not cause any harm and tend to come out in sunlight and are more prevalent especially amongst pale-skinned people and/or people with light or red hair.
A lentigo or lentigines are spots on the skin that are darker (usually brown in colour) then the surrounding skin tone.
Lentigines more commonly occur in Caucasian patients, in particular those with a fair pale skin, but can also occur in anyone.
Seborrheic keratoses are brown or black growths on the skin most commonly found on the chest and back, as well as on the head. They originate from cells called keratinocytes. As they grow and develop, seborrheic keratoses can take on a wart-like appearance.
The cause of seborrheic keratoses is unknown and they tend to be seen more commonly as people get older. They do not lead to skin cancer.
A skin tag is a small flap of tissue connected by a stalk that hangs off the skin. Skin tags are almost always benign and are not dangerous.
Skin tags tend to appear more in females, especially with weight gain, and in middle-aged and the elderly. They are can be found throughout the body but most commonly on the neck, chest, back, armpits, under the breasts, or in the groin area.
Skin tags are generally not painful but in some cases can become irritated if clothing items, or jewellery rubs and aggravates the skin tag. These can be removed if they are causing discomfort and a full quotation for the surgery and appointment can be made at the time of your skin consultation.
Our Consultant Dermatologist, Dr. Anthony Downs will examine and diagnose any suspicious moles, skin lesions, skin tags or lumps and bumps which are causing you concern. Dr Downs will make a full assessment of your skin condition using a dermatoscope and if any cancerous or pre-cancerous conditions are detected you will be given full information to take to your GP who can arrange treatment on the NHS or, alternatively, you may choose to have treatment at South West Dermatology on a private basis.
If your mole/skin lesion is not suspicious but you would like to have it removed this can be arranged for you, and a full quotation for the surgery and appointment can be made at the time of your skin consultation. The removal of benign moles, skin lesion and skin tags for cosmetic reasons is not currently funded on the NHS.
Suspicious moles & skin lesions consultations can be held at any one of our locations in the South West.
Dr Downs is happy to receive a photograph using the form below if you would like an initial opinion on an individual mole/skin lesion. You can then proceed to book a consultation with Dr. Downs if further investigation is required.