Moles & Birthmarks
Known as nevi, moles and other birthmarks are benign pigmented spots or patches of skin that range in color from tan, brown, and black (moles) to red, pink or purple (vascular nevi, such as strawberry hemangiomas or port wine stains). Though most birthmarks are harmless, occasionally some may develop into cancer. Be aware that a mole does not have to be symptomatic to be dangerous. Therefore, at Gaughf Dermatology, we recommend that everyone have a yearly skin examination. Moles exhibiting any of the following warning signs should be examined immediately
- Itches or bleeds.
- Rapidly changes in color, size or shape.
- Multiple colors
- Looks different from all other moles
- Is located where it can’t be easily monitored, such as on the scalp.
ATYPICAL (OR DYSPLASTIC) NEVI
Moles can be “atypical” or precancerous and often need to be biopsied to be examined by the pathologist. Patients with atypical moles need to be examined yearly since these are a risk factor of developing melanoma. Regular examination leads to prevention and/or early diagnosis of melanoma. Melanoma can be fatal, but when diagnosed early, is completely curable.
Hemangiomas consist of blood vessesl close to the skins surface and are considered vascular birthmarks. They may appear several weeks after birth. These are common on the head, neck, or limbs and can be pink, red, blue, or purple. Some hemangiomas shrink on their own over time while others grow as the child grows.
WHAT WE DO:
Our providers will examine your hemangioma and determine if any treatment is needed. Laser therapy can be one treatment of vascular birthmarks as well as topical or oral therapy. At Gaughf dermatology we stay abreast of the latest research on birthmark treatments.