Many moles on the skin are completely benign, and do not pose a health threat. Oftentimes, though, people want these moles removed because they find them unattractive. Types of moles include dysplastic nevi, which can become melanomas. Dysplastic nevi are usually irregular in size, shape, color and border. They can be located on any area of the body, not only those exposed to the sun.
Removal of Moles
Depending on their depth, location and color, as well as the patient's skin type, age and other factors, treatment for benign but unattractive moles and birthmarks may use the following methods.
Laser or Pulsed-Light Therapy
Laser or pulsed-light therapy is most beneficial on superficial moles and birthmarks. Laser mole removal is only able to treat flat superficial moles. Moles with deep roots cannot be removed effectively with a laser, and may grow back.
Surgical excision may be considered for deep or raised moles or birthmarks. It may also be recommended for irregular or potentially malignant moles, which will include a biopsy of mole tissue. During an excision, the doctor cuts out the entire mole and surrounding tissue, and stitches the skin closed.
Surgical shaving is recommended for smaller moles and does not require stitches. The doctor numbs the area around the mole and uses a surgical blade to cut around and beneath the mole.
An actinic keratosis, also known as a solar keratosis, is a common premalignant skin lesion. An actinic keratosis occurs when the cells that comprise 90 percent of the epidermis, the keratinocytes, change their size, shape or organization in a process called cutaneous dysplasia.This alters the texture of the skin surface and may extend deeper, into the dermis.
Such a lesion is typically caused by chronic exposure to sunlight, particularly ultraviolet light and is therefore mainly found on areas of the body most frequently exposed to the sun. While not a skin cancer, an actinic keratosis, left untreated, may develop into an squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer capable of metastasizing and even resulting in death. Although not dangerous in itself, an actinic keratosis must always be taken seriously and examined and treated by a dermatologist.
Symptoms of an Actinic Keratosis
An actinic keratosis appears as a scaly reddish or tan lesion on the epidermis, or surface layer of the skin. It may manifest as rough or scaly skin, bumps, mottled patterns, or protrusions called cutaneous horns. Actinic keratoses usually appear on the face, including the ears and lips, or on the neck, arms and hands.The lesions may range in size from a pinpoint to several centimeters in diameter and may be yellow, brown, red or violet in color, and smooth, wrinkled or furrowed in texture.
Treatment of an Actinic Keratosis
Depending on the location and severity of the lesion, an actinic keratosis may be treated in a number of ways. The patient and doctor will decide on methodology in consultation. These may include:
- Cryotherapy, or freezing
- Curettage, or scraping
- Application of cream or ointment
- Chemical peeling
- Photodynaminc therapy using laser light
Pediatric dermatology involves comprehensive diagnosis and treatment services for the unique skin of infants, children and adolescents. While children and adults experience many of the same skin conditions, certain conditions are more prevalent in younger patients and require special care that takes into account the growing needs of these patients. Children are often at risk for fungal and bacterial infections of the skin, as well as a wide array of other acquired and congenital conditions.
Our treatments are gentle yet successful, allowing children to engage in their everyday activities while efficiently managing their skin ailment. Children with healthy skin can also be seen by our doctor for regular examinations to learn about proper skin care, including adequate sun protection. Early examination by a dermatologist can promote a lifetime of healthy skin for our pediatric patients.
Dr. is highly skilled and experienced in treating pediatric skin conditions and strives to provide a comfortable, safe and worry-free experience for both child and parent. We take the time to educate parents about their child's condition to help ensure proper treatment and home care so children can enjoy clear, healthy skin as they grow.
Dermatopathology refers to the diagnostic evaluation of skin biopsies. After a skin biopsy is taken from a patient, the dermatopathologist studies it under a microscope and provides the doctor with detailed observations. Dermatopathologists are qualified medical professionals trained in dermatology or pathology who have chosen to undergo additional training in the observation and interpretation of skin biopsies. The dermatopathologist's observations help the doctor provide his/her patients with an accurate diagnosis and, if, necessary, treatment plan, for their skin conditions.
For more information about Medical Dermatology, or to request an appointment, please complete our online form or call 970-926-9226 (Vail), 970-927-2800 (Willits), 970-710-2400 (Spring St.) 970-668-0998 (Breckenridge) or 970-930-6490 (Glenwood).