What are Skin Moles?

Skin moles are a very common occurrence and are usually benign or noncancerous in nature.  A skin mole is a growth, frequently black or brown in color, which is present on any part of the skin.  They can occur alone or within groups.

A skin mole will usually present itself within the first 20 years of your life and most commonly in the childhood years although there are some moles that do not occur until a person is older.  By the time someone has reached the adult years 10 to 40 moles can be present on the skins surface.

A skin mole can change at any time becoming elevated above the skin or having a notable change in the color.  Sometimes a mole can have some hair growth.  It can also go the complete opposite way with no changes in color or totally disappearing.

A skin mole appears when there is a change in the skin’s cells growing in a group or a cluster instead of covering a more vast area and being scattered along the surface of the skin.  Melanocytes, which are also known as skin cells and are responsible for pigmentation of a person’s natural skin color may become darker when exposed to the sunshine.  This will usually take place during a pregnancy or when a person is in their teen years.

Skin moles can come in a variety of types.  There are moles that appear as early as birth, which are known as congenital nevi.  One in every group of 100 people will experience this type of skin mole.  Congenital nevi are the types that are more likely to change into skin cancer or melanoma.

If you notice a mole on your child you should have it checked if larger than 7 millimeters in diameter.  This is a sign of malignancy.  Another type of skin mole is called dysplastic nevi, is usually larger than the average, and has an irregularly shaped appearance to them.  The color of these skin moles has variations in hue with a dark brown center.  Their edges appear to be uneven in shape.

This particular type of mole is more than likely passed down to its family members making it hereditary.  A person with dysplastic nevi commonly have more than 100 moles and will also have an increased risk of skin cancer, otherwise known as melanoma.  This type of skin mole is not to be taken lightly and can signal a more serious type of cancer of the skin.

Since the average layperson would have trouble recognizing a skin mole that appears precancerous it is always best to get the opinion of the doctor.  Any change in appearance would warrant a doctor visit.

The following are what are known as the ABCDEs of cancer:

1) An asymmetric appearance or an unevenness where one side of the mole differs from the other side.
2)  Irregular border edges.
3)  Variant shades of tan, white, red, blue, black or brown instead of one color throughout the skin mole.
4)  A skin mole that is larger than the head of a pencil.
5)  A raised or elevated appearance.  Any of these changes should be checked by a dermatologist for any signs of cancer or melanoma.  If determined to be cancerous or precancerous it will most likely be removed.

Do not hesitate to follow up when noticing a skin mole as it may very well be your life that you will be saving.

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