Leon E. Brown, MD
Dermatologist located in Takoma Park, MD
Most moles aren’t a problem from a health standpoint, but not all of them pop up in cute places like those on models and celebrities. Leon Brown M.D., private practice dermatologist in Takoma Park, Maryland, can help with unsightly moles and he can assess any moles that have changed shape, size, or color. Don’t wait for a mole to become a problem. Call Dr. Brown for an appointment today.
Mole Removal Q & A
What is a mole? How do they form?
Moles are dark colored growths on the skin, usually brown or black. They can occur nearly everywhere on the body, either by themselves or in clusters. Typically, moles appear from childhood up to about the age of 25. It’s normal for one to have as many as 40 moles. As you age, some moles may become raised or change color, and hairs may develop while others may not change or may even disappear.
Moles form from clusters of skin cells called melanocytes, which normally make pigment that creates the color of a person’s skin. When they cluster, they produce the darker color associated with a mole. Exposure to sun, adolescence, and pregnancy may all cause moles to change color.
Are moles cancerous?
Most moles are harmless. Those that are cause for concern usually show visual signs of changes. Moles that first appear after the age of 25 are unusual. Those that change in size and color should be checked. If a mole becomes itchy or painful, or if it bleeds or oozes, it’s time to see Dr. Brown. There’s a mnemonic device used to self-assess moles and determine if they need medical examination. It’s the ABCDE method:
- Asymmetry: Where the mole is irregular in shape and one half is a different shape than the other
- Border: Unsmooth, blurry, ragged or irregular borders
- Color: Changing color, uneven color, shades of color including tan, blue, red, white, black or brown
- Diameter: Moles bigger than about ¼-inch
- Evolution: Changes to the mole over time, including size, color and shape
If a mole exhibits one or more of these factors, it may be biopsied, or excised.
How are moles removed?
There are three basic ways moles are removed: freezing, burning or cutting.
- Freezing uses liquid nitrogen administered with a swab or spray. The extreme cold of the nitrogen kills the cells of the mole. This may cause minor blistering in the area, but it will heal naturally.
- Burning uses an electrical device to literally burn the mole and the upper layers of skin tissue.
- Cutting involves a scalpel or surgical scissors. The type of mole determines how deep the removal must be.
Each of these methods can be done with local anesthetics. Suspicious moles will be sent for cancer testing.
Dr. Brown accepts most insurances. Please contact the office for further insurance information.
Words from our patients
"Dr. Brown himself is a great doctor and very thorough."
"Easy to make appointments. I called all over to find a dermatologist who could actually schedule me in within the same month. He was one of the few."
"Dr. Brown was the only Doctor able to prescribe the proper medications, to correct the skin condition of tinea versicolor. He was very knowledgeable..."
"Dr. Brown was punctual, helpful, and knowledgable of my skin lesions, and after seeing several dermatologists, he was the ONLY doctor that was able to diagnose me..."