Topic of the month – August 2012

Birthmarks – harmless beauty spots or precursors of skin cancer?

In recent years, awareness for the danger of skin cancer has been continuously on the rise – meanwhile even the biggest sun worshipper is aware that the skin can be permanently damaged. In Germany, for example, every year about 24,000 people contract skin cancer, a so-called malignant melanoma. The risk of developing skin cancer over a lifetime is about 1:200 in Germany and 1:50 in Australia.

Melanomas frequently develop from already existing birthmarks. Therefore, the risk of contracting skin cancer rises in relation to the number of birthmarks or pigment spots which a person has.

How can one recognise a dangerous birthmark?

Whether a birthmark is potentially dangerous is difficult for a layman to recognise. For this reason, you should consult a doctor not only in suspicious cases, but also have a so-called screening, a preventive examination, carried out regularly by a dermatologist. There is the “ABCDE rule” as a starting point for potentially dangerous birthmarks.

Evaluation using the ABCDE rule

A – Asymmetry
B – Border irregular or not sharply defined
C – Colour, different pigmentation strength, multi-coloured
D – Diameter is greater than 5 mm
E – Elevation and evolution

On the basis of this rule, the dermatologist carries out his initial examination. If he finds a suspicious birthmark, he will perform a more exact examination using a dermatoscope, an optical microscope which presents the affected area of skin with up to 200x magnification.

What happens if a suspicious pigment spot is discovered?

If there is the suspicion that a birthmark has degenerated, it must always be removed by making a cut-out. Only in this way is it finally possible to carry out a histological examination and to confirm or rule out the suspicion of skin cancer.

To make a cut-out, the complete area of skin is removed, in fact down into the healthy tissue. Thus, relatively deep wounds are caused even with small pigment spots, which have to be stitched.

The birthmark is removed – and now a scar must be prevented

The removal of a birthmark always leaves a wound behind, which can lead to the occurrence of an unsightly scar. That doesn’t have to be!

As soon as the wound is closed or the stitches are removed, you should start scar treatment with Contractubex®. The active ingredients support the skin’s healing process and thereby ensure that the least obvious scar possible is formed. Massage Contractubex® 2 to 3 times daily for at least 3 months into the affected place. You’ll thereby ensure that the removal of a “beauty spot” does not leave any “beauty flaw” behind on your skin.


Contractubex® Composition: 100 g gel contains: 10.0 g Extr. cepae, 5000 IU heparin sodium, 1.0 g allantoin. Indications: Hypertrophic and keloidal scars, movement-restricting and cosmetically disfiguring scars after operations, amputations, burns, and accidents; contractures such as Dupuytren’s contracture and traumatic tendon contractures; cicatricial strictures. Contraindications: Hypersensitivity to parabens. Side effects: Very rare skin reactions. Mode of action: Contractubex® exerts an antiproliferative, antiinflammatory, softening, and smoothing action on proliferating scar tissue. Dosage: Unless otherwise prescribed, Contractubex® should be gently massaged into the skin several times a day until all the gel has been absorbed. In the case of hardened older scars, it may be necessary to cover the treated area with a dressing overnight. Interactions: None known. Package sizes: 20 g, 50 g. Merz Pharmaceuticals GmbH, Eckenheimer Landstraße 100, D-60318 Frankfurt/Main, Germany

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