You are here: Home Blog Expert information from Dr Girish Gupta, our Consultant Dermatologist, on what you need to know about moles.

Expert information from Dr Girish Gupta, our Consultant Dermatologist, on what you need to know about moles.


Dr Gupta joined The Edinburgh Clinic in 2019 after 20 years of experience in Lanarkshire. He became a member and subsequently a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in 2003.

Dr Gupta was kind enough to answer some of the questions we are often asked about moles:

If I discover a mole, should I be worried? Is it dangerous?

Firstly, please don’t worry, as the vast majority of moles are not dangerous.

Nonetheless, it’s true that some moles can be a concern if they develop into a melanoma. The signs that a mole may be changing into a melanoma can be assessed using the ABCDE system:

Asymmetry – This is when a mole loses its symmetry and begins to look more lopsided
Border – The border of the mole becomes irregular or fuzzy
Colour – The mole develops 2 or more different shades
Diameter – If the mole is more than 6mm in size (although some melanomas can be smaller than this)
Evolution – This is the change in the mole over time

What is a mole and why do they grow?

Moles are collections or clusters of pigment cells called melanocytes. These melanocytes can be found at birth but generally they arise during the first three decades of our lives. As we get older these cells can increase in number or darken, an effect which can also occur because of pregnancy and after too much exposure to the sun.

What can I do to avoid getting moles?

It is not possible to completely avoid getting moles but changing behaviour in the sunshine with the use of high factor sunblocks, seeking shade and covering up should help reduce the chances.

Is there anything I can do to get rid of a mole if I already have one?

Actually, most moles do not require removal and can be left alone. However if there are any that bother you then they can be surgically removed if desired.

What does mole removal surgery involve, and is it painful?

There are two ways of removing moles surgically. Moles which stick out above the skin can be surgically shaved off (by a medical expert – please don’t try this at home!) but for moles which lie flat on the skin, a full excision is required to cut them out.
Both methods of mole removal require a local anaesthetic to be injected into the skin around the mole and this can cause a little discomfort, though only for around a minute. After this there is no pain from the procedure.

And what about recovery time? Does it take a while to get over mole surgery?

The shave procedure does not involve any stitches to be applied so there is actually very little downtime.

The excision method does require stitches to be applied, and these will need to be removed after a week to ten days.

If you would like to arrange a mole screening or discuss arranging mole removal surgery at The Edinburgh Clinic , please do get in touch by calling 0131 447 2340 or use our enquiry form.

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