Moles Dermatologist2019-05-21T13:09:23+00:00

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Moles, otherwise known as melanocytic naevi, are benign lesions consisting of clusters of melanocytes. Though benign, there is a potential for them to change and should therefore be monitored.

IN THESE VIDEOS, I EXPLAIN THE SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES OF MOLES – AND HOW TO TREAT THEM

In the videos above, I explain things in a simple way that applies to most people who have moles. Of course, no video or website can replace the value of a personalised consultation. At your consultation, you can have your skin carefully examined and get an expert recommendation to help you resolve your condition.

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Treatment helps people of all ages take control of their skin condition and get their life back.

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How do moles impact people on a day-by-day basis?

SOME WORRY ABOUT THEIR MOLES. IF YOU HAVE MANY MOLES OR IF THEY ARE CHANGING, YOU SHOULD GET THEM CHECKED BY A PROFESSIONAL

What benign moles look like

Mole size varies from a few millimetres to several centimetres across. There are different kinds of moles. Junctional melanocytic naevi are flat patches, usually round and mid to dark brown. Intradermal naevi are light brown or skin coloured, raised, soft and dome-shaped spots. Compound naevi are light, mid or dark brown warty spots or plaques. A lot of the time these have hairs growing out of them.

Some moles can become uncomfortable

Raised moles such as intradermal and compound naevi can catch and become sore and inflamed. If your moles are causing such symptoms, I can recommend straightforward treatment.

You should monitor your moles and get them checked if you are worried

Changes, such as moles becoming more raised or hairy and sometimes paler, can be normal and occur with time. You should monitor all your moles and check any new moles that appear in adulthood (especially after your 40s), especially if they carry on changing, as this can be a sign of something more serious.

Moles come in many different shapes and sizes

Atypical naevi are moles that may have an irregular shape and colour. These are usually multiple and sometimes run in families. As dermatologists, we take care to differentiate these moles from an early arising skin cancer known as melanoma.

In some cases, you might benefit from mole mapping

We can remove moles, but removal can result in a scar. Therefore, I advise that you leave them alone if they are benign and are not causing you any symptoms. If you have many moles, then I will give you advice on monitoring these and on any further monitoring, if you need it.

What my patients love about my service

MY PATIENTS ARE MY BEST PROMOTERS

Please pass on my thanks to Dr Pratsou for her assessment on my continued taking of roaccutane.

She was completely right, I didn’t need a new course, I needed to move away from the drug. The creams she gave me and Cetaphil recommendation have meant my skin has been the best it’s ever been (ongoing and since I saw her) ALL SUMMER :))))) I’ve had zero problems…and I’m loving it.

Thank you once again.


Phillip, Acne

“Dear Dr Pratsou,

Following the consultation today I feel it appropriate to say thank you for your help in dealing with my rosacea.

On each occasion, I have visited your department I have noticed the kindness and cheeriness of all the staff I have encountered and particularly wanted to say that you made me feel at ease with your calmness and excellent manner.

All is much appreciated.”


Anne, Rosacea

“Thank you very much!!

You three were (and are) a great team!

I will remember you.

You made me feel comfortable.”


Ellie

“Tania,

Please pass to Dr Pratsou my thanks for her skilled work.

The wound is healing beautifully and now the stitches are out it looks as though it will be almost invisible once fully healed.”


Graham, Skin cancer removal

“Dear Dr Penelope, Rena & the team, (I can’t remember the nurse’s name who helped me during my 2 procedures at the Spire!)

I wanted to thank you for your support and help during a very difficult time. You guys do a wonderful job – and we are eternally grateful for your help.”


Clarissa, Skin cancer

“I would like to put on record how impressed I was with the operation you performed for the removal of the SCC on my neck. I cannot even see where the cut or the stitches were! I am indeed very grateful for the excellent work you do.”


Harry, Squamous Cell Carcinoma

“Dear Dr Pratsou,

I am very grateful to you for your diagnosis, recommended treatment and advice. Your letter to my GP sets out both the course of events, and your own analysis of probable condition and possible cause, clearly summarising our discussion.

I hope there will be no recurrence but I will certainly come back to you if there is.”


Ryan, Skin rash

“Dear Tania,

Please pass on my thanks to Dr Pratsou. I saw her this morning for a mole check. She was so lovely and reassuring. Please also thank the two nurses who assisted her during the mole removal procedure. I was very nervous, but they were very efficient, which meant I did not have too long to think about it, but most of all they were very kind. They kept me distracted and calm, which made a huge difference. Thank you also for your efficiency in both booking me in so quickly.”


James, Mole removal
Dear Ms. Pratsou,

I am writing to thank you for the care you have given me in the past few months. From the moment I walked into your consulting room with a lesion on my cheek, a lesion that I fully expected to be some sort of skin cancer (and it was), you have been thorough, reassuring, respectful and in every way professional.

You recognised that I had some insight into the condition of my skin and the procedures required to treat me. You listened to me. You projected expertise and compassion.

During the procedure to remove the growth you ensured that the atmosphere in the treatment room remained not only calm, but actually pleasant. Had it not been that you were excising a growth and sewing me up, I almost felt as if you, me and the nurse were at some sort of women’s discussion group. The time flew by. I had zero anxieties about the procedure and as we both know now, the wound healed flawlessly.

Thank you for your expertise and your communication skills and all round good nature. I feel very lucky.


Karen Tatom, Skin cancer removal

We have replaced the images and names of real patients who provided these testimonials to protect their privacy.

The first step to feeling in charge of your skin is to book an initial consultation

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How it works

FEEL IN CHARGE OF YOUR SKIN IN 3 EASY STEPS

STEP 1 – CALL US
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Give us a call on 441183735198 and we’ll help guide you towards a first appointment.

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I’ll see you and examine your skin before I recommend treatment. In some cases, I can begin treating your condition on the same day.

FEEL IN CHARGE OF YOUR SKIN

I’ll guide you down the road towards a resolution of your skin condition so that you can get back to normal life.

More information about the moles

FOR THOSE WHO WANT THE DETAILS

Moles, otherwise known as melanocytic naevi, are benign lesions consisting of clusters of melanocytes. These are cells that produce the pigment (melanin) within the skin. Moles can be congenital or acquired.

Raised moles can catch and become uncomfortable. Though moles are benign, there is a potential for them to change. Therefore, you should monitor them for any worrying changes.

Moles symptoms and lifestyle impacts include:

  • mole size varies from a few millimetres to several centimetres across.
  • junctional melanocytic naevi are flat, usually round and mid to dark brown
  • intradermal naevi are light brown or skin coloured, raised, soft and dome-shaped
  • compound naevi are light, mid or dark brown warty spots or plaques. A lot of the time these have hairs growing out of them
  • raised moles such as intradermal and compound naevi can catch and become sore and inflamed

Your GP or a suitably trained Dermatologist should check any moles that start changing in size, shape or colour. Changes, such as moles becoming more raised or hairy and sometimes paler can occur with time. You should monitor all your moles and check any new moles that appear in adulthood (especially after your 40s), especially if they carry on changing

  • Atypical naevi are moles that may have an irregular shape and colour. These are usually multiple and sometimes run in families. As dermatologists, we take care to differentiate these moles from an early arising skin cancer known as melanoma.

Moles that appear within the first two years of life are known as congenital moles.

The tendency to have a large number of moles can sometimes run in families.

Moles that appear later on in life are known as acquired moles.

These can arise as a result of sun exposure, especially in those with fair skin.

I always start an examination by taking a good history of any change in pre-existing moles or concerns about a new pigmented lesion.

Other factors, such as your occupation, hobbies and general sunlight exposure, and family history, may also be relevant.

I will offer you a full skin check. That involves stripping down to your underwear so that I can examine all your moles both with the naked eye and with the use of a particular lens known as a dermatoscope.

This instrument will allow me to pick out any unusual lesions or detect any changes to the usual pattern of your moles. If I find any such changes, then I may offer you a diagnostic biopsy which consists of removing the mole and sending it to the lab for analysis.

If your moles are benign and are not causing you any bother then generally they will not require any treatment. You can leave them alone.

I can treat any moles that catch repeatedly and become traumatised through a simple procedure known as curettage and cautery.

If a mole stands out or is showing signs of ongoing change, then I may need to remove it by a procedure known as excision. I perform excision under local anaesthetic. We will send your mole to the lab and analyse to rule out any sinister changes.

I generally advise all patients to keep an eye on their moles and offer advice on sun protection.

Some patients may benefit from a process known as mole mapping. We can do mole mapping at different levels, and I can determine this during your consultation.

“How to protect your skin from the Sun”

There are different levels of protection from the sun. The most effective approach is to stay in the shade, especially between 11 AM and 3 PM, when it’s mostly sunny.

If you’re unable to stay in the shade or you need to be out and about, then a very effective method of protecting your skin from the sun is protective clothing, including long sleeves and a wide-brimmed hat.

If that’s not possible, or there are parts of your skin that you cannot protect in any other way, then I recommend a good quality sunblock. ‘Good quality’ means that it should have SPF of at least 30. Many people are not aware that SPF (which stands for Sun Protection Factor), will only protect you from ultraviolet-B light (UVB).

To protect your skin from ultraviolet-A, you need to be looking for high UVA protection. You can find sunblocks with the UVA circle logo, or preferably the UVA star system that goes up to 5. You are looking for a UVA star rating of 4-5.

Remember to apply your sunblock 15 to 30 minutes before being exposed to the sun. You should reapply sunscreen regularly every two hours, or sooner if you have come into contact with water (for example, after swimming or towel drying).

“I have multiple moles, do I need to have them removed as a precaution?”

We can remove moles, but removal can result in a scar. Therefore, I advise that you leave them alone if they are benign and are not causing you any symptoms. If you have many moles, then I will give you advice on monitoring these and on any further monitoring, if you need it.

“Does having multiples moles mean that they can turn into melanoma?”

We recognise that people with multiple moles (more than 50-100) have an increased risk of developing a skin cancer known as melanoma.

That is particularly the case if they have atypical moles and a family history of melanoma.

However, in 8/10 cases a melanoma is a newly arising lesion rather than a mole that has changed. Therefore patients with multiple moles are advised to keep an eye on their pre-existing moles and to report any new or changing lesions to their GP or a Dermatology Specialist.

Affiliations and memberships

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Questions and answers

RELEVANT AND INFORMATIVE VIDEOS AND ARTICLES

About the author

Dr Penelope Pratsou | Consultant Dermatologist

MBChB, MRCP (UK) (Dermatology)

I’m Dr Penelope Pratsou, a skilled independent Consultant Dermatologist based in Berkshire. I have specialist expertise in the diagnosis and management of all skin cancers, and in performing mole checks. I’m a trained skin surgeon and remove skin cancers, moles, skin tags, cysts and warts.

I also have invaluable experience in dealing with all skin conditions, from the common skin complaints of acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis, to the rarer and more complex skin problems, having seen it all through years of NHS work.

After I obtained my Membership to the Royal College of Physicians, I undertook rigorous specialist training in dermatology, before being appointed as a Consultant Dermatologist at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. There, I helped set up and lead a busy clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of suspected skin cancer. I was also actively involved in supervising and training both dermatology and GP trainees.

Alongside my increasingly busy private practice, I have maintained an NHS practice in Oxford in order to continue to engage with challenging cases and to develop my specialist interest in skin allergy.

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