Moles are generally harmless but some can also be a sign of skin cancer.
Moles are found in different places in our body. Some may have many and some may have few, but what really are moles? Why do they appear and does it signify anything about our skin? And are all moles safe? Read further to learn more about moles.
A mole or a nevus is a dark or brown spot on your skin that is raised. It is comprised of skin cells that have grown in a group. The cells are called melanocytes, which are the ones that produce melanin (the pigment color on our skin). Moles appear during childhood and may continue to appear during the first 25 years of a person’s life. As years pass, the color of our moles usually change, although not everyone or every mole does. There are also instances that hair develops in the mole. Some moles can also disappear overtime.
Other factors that can make our skin form moles are due to sun exposure and hormonal changes such as pregnancy and puberty. Moles are generally harmless but some can also be a sign of skin cancer. To determine if a mole is cancerous, is that it significantly looks different from other moles, if it changes its color, size or shape, if it’s painful or if it bleeds, itch or feels tender, if it looks crusty or inflamed, it exhibits different shades or brown and black, it becomes more elevated. If you notice one or more of this symptoms you should immediately have a doctor check up on it.
For normal skin moles they can be classified into different types. The types are determined according to where they have developed, where they are located and if they exhibit typical or atypical symptoms.
- Common. Is sized at 5-6mm in diameter. It is smooth with a dome like surface. Found usually on skin that is always exposed to the sun.
- Atypical moles. Also called dysplastic nevi, has irregular symptoms. They vary in color and are larger than other moles. They can be flat or raised, although the said mole can look and have similar signs of the of precancerous moles, most dysplastic nevi are benign but having many of these moles puts a person at a higher risk of cancer. Regular examinations are highly recommended.
- Congenital moles or congenital nevi. These moles are present at birth and are caused by melanocyte cells in the middle layer and outer layer of the skin. They range in size and can also be referred as birthmarks. A drawback with congenital moles is that it can develop into melanoma later in life, so monitoring it is a must.
- Acquired. Are the moles that appear during our childhood days up to adulthood. Most of these moles are benign in nature. It is the most common type of mole and is caused by sun exposure.
Other classification of moles are the following: A Junctional melanocytic nevi are moles that occur from the build up of melanocytes. The Intrademal nevi are the flesh colored moles. The compound nevi have a central raised area with the surrounding areas flat. They have borders and are even in pigmentation and the Halo nevi are raised moles with a ring of skin around it.
Whatever and how many you’re mole are we should always know and inspect our body if we feel that in anyway there is a different look or symptom with a mole, have a specialist check it immediately.