Skin growths and changes are a normal part of aging

Development of skin lesions is common as we age. A benign skin growth is a skin lesion that is noncancerous, most commonly a mole or freckle that has multiplied and gotten darker over time. While most growths do not require medical treatment, some people opt for removal of the growth for cosmetic reasons.

Regardless of whether the growth is benign, it is important to make note of moles, skin tags, cysts and any other skin lesions you have had, or that have recently appeared. Moles, in particular, are a concern as changes in appearance can sometimes indicate a benign growth becoming malignant (cancerous). Changes to size and shape may signal the start of melanoma, a form of skin cancer.

To assess skin growths, follow the ABCDEs of melanoma:

  • A - Asymmetry – Rather than being round, a mole has become uneven or formed another mole shape.
  • B - Borders – Rather than round or oval borders, the edges of the mole are jagged and irregular.
  • C - Color – The mole changes color—red, white, brown, purple, blue or black—or it becomes darker.
  • D - Diameter – The mole grows to more than 6 millimeters vs. the normal size of less than five millimeters.
  • E - Evolution – You’re over 30 and a new mole shows up, or an old one changes.

If you have concerns about a skin growth, talk to your primary care doctor. If your doctor suspects an abnormality, he or she may suggest a biopsy procedure to determine whether the growth is benign or malignant.

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.