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• Contact Dermatitis
• Eczema
• Moles (Mole Patrol)
• Pre-Cancers & Skin Cancers
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• Nail Conditions
• Rosacea
• Spider Veins – Face
• Severe Underarm Sweating
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Moles & Brown Spots

What causes moles?
Moles vary in colour from pink and flesh tones to dark brown or black. Everyone has moles varying from a few to a lot. The number depends on our genes and the accumulation of sun damage from childhood onward. Moles sometimes appear in "crops", especially during the early teens.

Moles begin to grow in infancy, and new ones can develop at any age with many staying for life without becoming a medical problem. A mole that grows or changes in childhood is almost always harmless. On the other hand, if a mole in an adult markedly changes in colour, size, or it bleeds, it will need medical attention.

When the skin around a mole loses its colour and appears to be surrounded by a white ring it is called "halo nevus" and it is harmless. With time, the white ring often disappears on its own. Malignant melanoma (mole cancer) is a rare cancerous growth that may resemble a mole. It is dangerous, and should be removed surgically. Melanomas seldom appear before the age of 20 years of age.

With the help of family physicians with internet access to remote areas, photographs of suspicious moles can be easily reviewed by a specialist in a larger center to assist with management of changing moles.


It is sometimes difficult to tell if a particular mole is cancerous and change is the best indicator of a problematic mole. A simple and effective way to keep track of unexpected changes is to check your moles every month. See a physician immediatey if a change is noted. Taking close-up photographs at home of any moles of concern provides a valuable record for comparison at any time by you and/or your physician. Follow the ABCDE+U's of moles to be sure you have noted all the possible types of changes in a mole which may indicate a problem.

Asymmetry: Asymmetry means that a mole does not look the same on two sides. Picture an imaginary line through the center point of your mole. If the mole looks similar on both sides of the line, then it is symmetric and considered to have normal symmetry. If it is not the same then it is asymmetrical and may be of concern.

Border: Border refers to the outline of a mole. Most benign moles have smooth borders. If a mole has always had a notched or irregular edge, this may not be as worrisome as when the mole used to have smooth borders and now is notched and irregular.

Colour: Colour refers to the number of colours within the mole. Most normal moles have one or two shades of colour within them whereas abnormal moles develop a mottled appearance. The more colours, the more cause for concern.

Diameter: Diameter refers to the size of the mole. Some would say that moles greater than 6 mm in diameter are of more concern, but there are many benign moles can be larger than 6 mm. More important than the absolute size or width, it is an unexpected change in the diameter of a mole that is of concern.

Evolution: When a normal appearing mole suddenly changes within a short period of time, and ABCD signs develop, prompt attention is mandatory.

"Ugly Duckling Category: When a patient presents with many many moles of benign appearance but one of them "stands out," like the story of the "Ugly Duckling," prompt attention is required.

Treatment: Most moles are harmless and safe to ignore. But a changing mole is giving warning signs of possible malignancy. A mole that is irritated by your clothing, comb or razor is only a nuisance, but your doctor can remove it to prevent ongoing irritation and a mole that is unsightly can be removed for "cosmetic reasons".

The techniques for mole removal are as follows:

  • the raised part of the mole is shaved off and tested.
  • the entire mole is cut out, sutured, and tested.
  • a part of a large mole is sampled, and tested.
  • The mole is excised and sutured. This technique is usually reserved for melanomas (mole cancers) as it will leave a more obvious scar than the first two methods.
  • In delicate sites, especially on the face, plastic surgical techniques are recommended.


Moles may be flat or protruding and are harmless skin growths.