You wish you had perfect skin. Frankly, few people do. Even supermodels need help in keeping smooth, intact skin. Moles and warts, two common benign skin lesions, often require inspection and removal by your dermatologists in Andover and Brookline, MA, Dr. Alan Rockoff and Dr. Katherine Fening. At the Rockoff Dermatology Center, you can find your healthiest and most attractive skin.
What is a mole?
It's a flat, brown, blue, black, or flesh-colored lesion. Often, moles appear on the face, arms, or back, and typically, they are round, measuring no larger than a pencil eraser.
Most moles are benign--that is, non-cancerous. However, because of sun exposure, some moles may become malignant. In fact, 90 percent of skin cancers come from excessive sun exposure, says The Skin Cancer Foundation.
Should moles concern you? Well, your Andover and Brookline dermatologist likes patients to check their skin at home, including moles and other skin spots, monthly--particularly after age 40. Also, Dr. Rockoff and Dr. Fening ask patients to come to the office yearly for an eyes-on inspection their skin. These checks help catch cancers early while they are small and treatable.
If you wish to have a mole removed, your dermatologist employs several in-office techniques to comfortably and quickly remove it. Procedures include electrical cautery ("burning" off the mole with electrical current) or surgically shaving the mole flush with the rest of the skin.
Additionally, your skin doctors stress that watchfulness guards you against cancerous skin moles. So apply the ABCDEs of mole inspection and report changes right away. Look for:
- Asymmetry (shape should be consistent top to bottom and right to left)
- Borders (they should be smooth, not scalloped)
- Color (multi-colored moles or ones which change in color could be trouble)
- Diameter (growth to larger than a pencil top eraser is a danger sign)
- Evolving (report any changes in shape)
What is a wart?
It's a benign skin growth, uneven in texture and often occurring on the hands and the soles of the feet (plantar warts). Caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), warts can be unsightly and can easily spread to other parts of the body and to other people, too. HPV typically invades through breaks in the skin as in the areas around the nails.
Warts are easy to treat. Many over-the-counter liquids and patches which contain salicylic acid that slowly dissolves the lesions when applied as directed. Also, your skin doctor offers cryosurgery (freezing) with liquid nitrogen and surgical excision for sizable warts. You and your dermatologist will decide what course of treatment is best for you.
That's what you'll receive at The Rockoff Dermatology Center. If you have a worrisome mole or annoying warts, please call one of our offices for an appointment. Phone (617) 731-2390 in Brookline, and call (978) 475-9230 for the Andover location.