Help! My Mole Is Inflamed!

It can be alarming to find a changing mole. Often, dermatologist will warn patients of moles that change shape or color. But patient might notice other changes, such as a mole (nevus) that gets bigger or becomes inflamed.

“Changes of any kind can be worrisome and a sign of concern,” says Dr. Adam Mamelak, a board certified dermatologist and Mohs micrographic surgeon in Austin, Texas. In these circumstances, dermatologists advise patient to reach out to their physician to ensure that the mole is healthy!

What’s Goin’ On?

hospital“An inflamed nevus will often look larger than normal, offering a reddish appearance,” notes Dr. Mamelak. This tends to happen when ordinary moles become irritated by being rubbed or damaged. They are often non-concerning reactions to shaving or other forms of agitation. “The truth is, we can irritate moles and make them red, or cut them and make them bleed, just like the rest of the skin.”

The problem is these changes can also be seen in skin cancer, and differentiating between irritation and malignancy is key. “The changes in these moles can be subtle, and often requires further investigation,”  Dr. Mamelak explains.

Something To Be Inflamed About?

Beyond simple agitation, an enlarging mole can potentially be a sign of melanoma. When scanning the body to evaluate the skin, it is important to take note of even the most minor changes that occur. “The American Academy of Dermatology uses the acronym ABCDE, as a form of evaluating for skin checks,” shares Dr. Miriam Hanson, board certified dermatologist at Sanova Dermatology. A for asymmetry, B for border, C for color, D for diameter and E for elevation or evolution. An inflamed nevus can offer display multiple characteristics that could cause concern including a change in color and evolution in both size and depth.

Proper Precautions

If a mole is inflamed, it is important to identify the cause of the irritation. If no cause can be identified, or the changes continue to be present for more than a few weeks, further evaluation may be advised. “If a mole is consistently bothering you when going about your daily life, or the changes persist, it may be beneficial to look into mole removal,” Dr. Hanson says.

“If you are seeing these noticeable changes in your skin, it is important to let a professional evaluate and rule out any concerning conditions,” Dr. Mamelak says. It is also imperative that you receive yearly skin exams, as you may not always notice small but significant differences in your moles and skin.

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Are you concerned about any of your moles? Contact us today to schedule a full body skin exam today!

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