Frequently Asked Questions

I have several moles. Should they be removed?
Not necessarily. Most moles are harmless; they appear on children and adults, but are most common during adolescence. Late in life, many moles actually disappear on their own. As long as a mole is oval or round, uniformly colored, smooth-bordered, and small, you probably have nothing to worry about. (Remember the “ABCD” guidelines for judging mole characteristics: asymmetry, border, colour and diameter .) If one mole seems different from the others, though, be proactive and call us for a consultation.

I got several tattoos when I was younger, but now I’d really like to get rid of them. Is that possible?
It depends. Small, simple tattoos can sometimes be scrubbed off the skin through dermabrasion; larger, more detailed ones may have to be surgically removed. Lasers can be effective in removing tattoos, but the more ink colors involved, and the more saturated the ink, the more treatments will be required.

Someone told me you can get rid of warts by putting duct tape on them. Is that true?
Sort of. Duct tape is waterproof, so covering a wart with it will soften the tissue around the wart core. When the tape is removed, the sticky residue may adhere to the core and extract the wart root – if it is a small, thin wart. Larger, more stubborn warts, and plantar warts, will likely require more traditional treatment such as a topical application, freezing, or a vaccine.

Is it safe to use sunscreen on babies?
Once upon a time, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) recommendation was to avoid using sunscreen on infants six months and under. New evidence, however, indicates that using sunscreen in moderation is safe even for infants. For best protection, use one with titanium or zinc oxide listed as a key ingredient.

What causes spider veins?
No one is sure, but certain families seem predisposed, particularly female relatives. Also, mechanical trauma, falls, blows, long periods of standing or sitting, as well pregnancy and hormones may play a role. Suggestions for prevention include using support hose, exercise, and weight reduction.

What are skin tags and what causes them?
Skin tags, or acrochordons, are soft, skin-colored growths that hang from the surface of the skin on a thin piece of tissue called a stalk. Skin tags are not skin cancer and cannot turn into skin cancer. They tend to appear mostly on the eyelids, neck, armpits, upper chest, and groin, and are slightly more prevalent in women than men. People who are overweight, diabetic, over 60, or have been pregnant are most likely to have skin tags. They are painless, harmless and, unless they are unsightly or located in a place that causes constant irritation, they need not be removed. No one really knows what causes skin tags; some of the most common theories include aging, friction, cessation of growth hormone, and high blood sugar levels.