Freckles, skin tags, and moles—Oh my! We all have small dots on our skin. Some we’re born with, some we develop over time. But what are they exactly? And when should you be concerned?
Freckles are flat groups of concentrated melaninized cells. They’re most noticeable on individuals with fair complexions, but can be found on any skin color. Freckles are mainly hereditary, but sun exposure can also increase the number of freckles on your skin. This is because freckles develop appear when your skin produces more melanin pigment in response to UV rays.
A skin tags is a small, soft benign skin growth that while harmless, can be annoying and unsightly. People usually develop skin tags on their eyelids, armpits, and neck and once removed, they don’t usually grow back. While treatment isn’t necessary, removal may be recommended if the skin tag causes discomfort. Removal can include freezing, cutting, or burning.
A mole is a growth on the skin that can occur anywhere on the body. It’s quite common to have dozens of moles by the time you reach middle age and it’s also common for them to change slowly. Some moles will become raised, change colors, or slowly disappear. While most moles are not dangerous, it’s important to recognize signs of change that could potentially be a warning sign.
When examining a mole, use ABCDE’s of melanoma to determine if an appointment with your dermatologist is necessary:
- Asymmetry (not equal on both sides if you draw a line down the middle)
- Borders (uneven, fuzzy)
- Color (moles with two shades of color)
- D(larger than 6mm)
- Evolving (if you notice any changes, please see a dermatologist)
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