Posts for: December, 2016
Almost all adults have a few moles scattered across their bodies; the average amount is between 10 to 40 moles. If you've wondered about the size, shape or appearance of any of your moles, our dermatology professionals at South County Dermatology in Narragansett, Westerly, Barrington and East Greenwich, RI have some basic information for you.
What are moles?
When skin cells called melanocytes bunch up in a small, rounded cluster rather than spreading out evenly, a mole, or nevus, develops. Moles can be flat or raised and are usually a different color than the skin surrounding them; they can be pink, tan, red or brown. People with lighter skin tones typically have more moles. While most moles are normal and harmless, some can have irregular properties like notched borders, varied colors or diameters larger than 5 millimeters. Many of these moles are atypical or dysplastic, which means they are benign but have physical features that mimic cancer. However, if these features develop suddenly, it can be indicative of skin cancer. In these cases, the mole will need to be removed by your Narragansett, Westerly, Barrington and East Greenwich dermatologist.
What is a cancerous mole?
There are three basic types of skin cancers that arise from moles: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. The first two are more common and less likely to spread to other areas of the body, while melanoma can be life-threatening if it spreads, or metastasizes. The good news is that by visiting your dermatology office once a year for a skin check, you increase the likelihood that any skin cancers will be detected early, which in turn greatly reduces your risk for developing metastasized melanoma.
Why are moles removed?
There are several reasons why moles are removed from a patient's body at our dermatology practice. It could be a cosmetic issue; some visible moles on the face, neck or chest can be distracting. Other moles might be in a location where they are constantly irritated by clothing or jewelry. Other moles might display properties of dysplasia or cancer that our dermatology professionals want to investigate further, and by removing these moles, they can be analyzed in a laboratory.
To schedule an appointment for a skin check or any other dermatology-related issue, contact South County Dermatology in Narragansett, Westerly, Barrington and East Greenwich, RI today!
Human skin is a remarkable organ, but one we often take for granted. It does more than hold us together and look presentable. It’s a complex system that protects our internal structures from outside damage. The skin is made up of three main layers: the epidermis (outer layer), the dermis (the middle layer) and the subcutaneous layer (the inner layer). Components of the skin include hair and nails.
The skin is more interesting than you think. Here are just a few fascinating facts:
Skin is Your Body’s Largest Organ
The skin is the largest organ in the body, weighing 12-16% of a person’s total body weight. The average adult is covered with approximately 20 square feet of skin weighing about 6 to 9 pounds.
Skin Protects Your Body
The skin acts as a barrier between us and our environment, insulating and protecting the organs, muscles and bones from external threats - everything from dust and dirt to bacteria and viruses.
Skin Regulates Body Temperature
The skin releases as much as three gallons of sweat a day in hot weather. Your skin helps control body temperature by distributing heat through the skin and by preventing dehydration.
The skin is a sensory organ, and has receptors for detecting hot and cold, touch, pressure and pain.
Other unique facts about the skin include:
- The skin is composed of approximately 300 million skin cells.
- Every half square inch of the human skin has approximately 100 sweat glands, 10 hairs, 15 sebaceous glands, and 3.2 feet of tiny blood vessels.
- A large percentage of the dust in your home is actually dead skin.
- Your skin sheds a layer of dead skin cells every day and is constantly renewing itself.
- Goose bumps are actually small pimples that help retain a layer of warm air over our body.
- Human skin is the thinnest on the eyelid.
Human skin varies in type, color and texture for every person, but everyone’s skin serves the same primary purpose - to protect our insides! Your skin is very important, which means you should take care of it by protecting if from the sun, moisturizing it regularly, and practicing good daily skin care. Whenever you detect an unusual skin spot or suspect a problem with your skin, contact your dermatologist for an evaluation.