Moles, also called nevi, are extremely common — nearly everyone has a few, and this is particularly true in light-skinned people. While people are often born with moles, they can also appear later in life, anywhere on the skin. Moles come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and yes, they also appear on the face quite often. They can be flat or raised, have various colors, may be dome-shaped, and can protrude in several "clusters" ( be mammillated) and you may not even realize that what you have is a mole in some cases.
Though moles are rarely cancerous, skin-cancer awareness campaigns may have done their bit and deposited fear into the back of your mind. If that encourages you to get your mole (or "dark spot not yet identified as a mole") checked out by a doctor, that's not a bad thing. However, you'll want to be aware that it's not uncommon for moles to grow, lighten, or darken during adolescence.
In adults, nevi are unlikely to be cancerous if they meet the following criteria:
- Your mole has not changed color, size, or shape for the last 12 months.
- Your mole has clear borders, is symmetrical, and is mostly made up of one color that isn't completely black.
- The appearance of the mole in question is a lot like that of other moles on your body.
This doesn't mean that you shouldn't seek medical attention to get your mole assessed, but it does mean you should not be worried too much when you do.
If your mole is new, itches, has grown, has irregular borders, has undergone any kind of change, or bleeds, on the other hand, you will want to see a dermatologist as soon as possible. Should you have melanoma, early diagnosis is your best bet for receiving timely treatment — and that could save your life.
What If My Facial Mole Bothers Me?
Moles may be common, but you might see your facial mole as unsightly. You may want to undertake steps to get rid of it even if it is completely benign, and poses no risk to your health.
Here's what not to do. Don't scratch your mole, try to bleach it with hydroquinone or any other bleaching agent, or attempt to cut it out yourself. If you're desperate to be rid of your facial mole, let a professional take care of it! (Do note that, unless there is any suspicion that your mole could be cancerous, your insurance policy is highly unlikely to cover the removal of your facial mole.)
Facial moles are generally removed under local anesthesia and on an outpatient basis. Your dermatologist will inject an anesthetic agent into the skin around the mole, excise it, and provide sutures. You will then be able to go home. The mole itself has a longer journey to make — it will almost always be sent in for laboratory examination to check whether it is cancerous or pre-cancerous. Should that hold true in your case, you may have to return to your dermatologist to have more skin removed.
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