Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains the difference between a freckle and a mole

Freckles and moles can be difficult to distinguish but it is important to understand the difference between them because they may be a sign of serious skin issues. Dr. Joel Schlessinger is here to explain the difference between these two common skin issues.

Moles, also known as nevi, explains Dr. Joel Schlessinger, are skin growths.

Moles can appear anywhere on the skin and are raised marks that are usually dark brown or black. Moles that are present at birth are known as congenital nevi. Other moles appear later in life and are often the result of sun exposure. While many moles are harmless, it is important to get them checked because they may be signs of skin cancer.

When examining moles for signs of skin cancer, look for the ABCDEs which stands for asymmetry, border, color, diameter and evolving. You should beware of moles that have an asymmetrical shape, blurred or irregular borders, an uneven color, a diameter larger than the size of a pencil eraser and moles that evolve or change over time. A dermatologist will be able to determine whether or not the mole needs to be removed.

The only way to remove moles is through a procedure performed by a dermatologist. Depending on the method of removal, the size and location of the mole, you may be left with a small mark or scar after a mole has been removed. To reduce the appearance of scarring, you can apply a product such as SkinMedica Scar Recovery Gel for several days after the procedure.

Freckles are patches of discoloration that appear with sun exposure, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

Freckles are small, light brown spots or patches that often appear on the face, arms, back and chest. They are not raised and are more common in individuals with light skin or hair. Freckles are the result of excess melanin and often become more prominent with sun exposure. Unlike moles, freckles do not usually indicate a serious skin issue. It is often impossible to tell the difference between a freckle that is ‘good’ and one that is ‘bad’ and if there is any question (and even if there isn’t!) you should probably see a dermatologist.

While there is no way to remove freckles, you can reduce their appearance by wearing sun protection daily. EltaMD UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 protects against UV rays and comes in tinted or untinted formulas. Reapplying sunscreen throughout the day, seeking out shade and avoiding the sun when it is at its strongest will help prevent freckles from becoming more prominent.

Do you have any questions for Dr. Joel Schlessinger? Ask below in the comments section.

Posted Friday, June 26th, 2015 at 2:46 pm
Filed Under Category: Skin Care
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