Moles often appear on the body in the form of brown or black growths on the skin. Moles can appear anywhere on the body and in any size. Moles usually begin to appear from early on in childhood to about 20 years of age. Moles are constantly changing as a person grows. They change in shape, size, and color. They may even disappear all together. Hair often grows out of moles. Moles can begin to darken over the years after frequent sun exposure. Pregnancy can also cause moles to darken. There are many types of moles that can appear on the body. The names of different moles can have a meaning as to whether or not they can potentially create a health risk.
Cause of Moles
Moles appear on the skin in areas where the skin cells are not evenly spread. When the cells are clustered, a mole appears. The cells that cause the moles are called melanocytes. Melanocytes are responsible for making the pigment that gives skin its color. Because the cells are clustered, moles are often darker than the body’s skin tone.
Congenital Nevi moles occur in about one out of 100 people. They are present at birth. These types of moles are likely to later result in melanoma (skin cancer). These moles have irregular borders. Congenital Nevi moles should be checked for melanoma characteristics and be monitored since they produce an elevated risk for skin cancer.
Dysplastic Nevi moles are very common and are oten hereditary. People can have 10 to 100 moles and even more on some people. These moles are often larger than other moles with variations in the coloring. The edges of these moles are lighter than the centers and the borders are not destinctive. When Dysplastic Nevi moles continue to grow larger than normal, a person’s risk of developing melanoma increases.
Signs of a Problem
All moles have the possibility of changing into melanoma. There are certain signs to watch for that may mean a possible health problem. Moles should be watched for any changes, such as, changes in size and color. If a mole begins to raise or become scaly, it should be checked by a dermatologist. Moles that become red, itchy, tender or sore may be a sign that something is wrong. Moles should be checked immediately if they begin to bleed or ooze. These may be signs that the moles are developing into melanoma.
“Skin Conditions: Moles, Freckles, and Skin Tags” March 1, 2007 WebMD.com
“Symptoms” February 19, 2008 MayoClinic.com