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A mole on supermodel Cindy Crawford

Holy Moley: The Truth Behind Moles

Jul 12 • Consumer Education, Skin Features, Skin Health • 10955 Views • Comments Off on Holy Moley: The Truth Behind Moles

Moles are small, dark, skin growths that can develop on any part of the body, alone or in groups. It is normal about have between 10 to 40 moles by adulthood. Moles are caused when the cells in the skin grow in a cluster instead of being spread throughout the skin. These cells are called melanocytes, which makes the pigment that gives skin its natural color.

Moles are usually not dangerous, but there are different types of moles that you should be aware of, such as:

Congenital Mole: When you are born with a mole, it is called a congenital nevus. About 1 in 100 are born with these. The mole’s size can vary but moles of bigger size have a higher risk of developing cancer.

Atypical Mole: These are called dysplastic nevi and are usually larger than normal and have abnormal shape. They have uneven colors of tan, brown, red and pink. These moles are often hereditary, but can be developed in anyone.

Acquired Mole: These moles are acquired after birth and are generally not a cause for concern. If you have more than 50 acquired moles, however, it is generally advised to see a doctor to make sure none of them are dangerous.

Check Yourself: Skin Self-Exam

Stick to this motto when checking yourself for questionable moles: the ABCDE’s of Moles.

  • Asymmetry: is one half of the mole unlike the other half.
  • Border: is the border irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined.
  • Color: does it vary in color from tan, brown and black or white, red or blue.
  • Diameter: is it bigger than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser).
  • Evolving: is it changing in size, shape or color.

If a mole displays one or more of the ABCDE’s, make an appointment immediately to see a dermatologist. Routine exams ntialfor moles are really important because early detection and prevention are essential to treat skin cancer. Other preventive measures include wearing sunscreen, protective clothing, avoiding tanning beds, and get a healthy dose of Vitamin D.

Here is a useful body mole map from the American Association of Dermatology.

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