What Causes a Mole ( Pigmented nevi ) ?
Research shows that at least 4 out of 10 people suffer skin lesions commonly referred to as Moles.
A mole is a growth that can emanate anywhere on the skin. It can appear alone or in groups and is usually brown or black in color. The most common moles do not turn into melanoma. They are round or oval, have a smooth surface with a distinct edge, and can be dome-shaped.
Although they can affect anyone, they normally appear in children and persons between 0-25 years. Before adulthood, one may get 10-40 moles. Lucky enough, most of them are non-cancerous. They are responsive to hormonal changes. For instance, they may darken during pregnancy, increase during teenage years and at older age (40-50 years), they may start to disappear.
Moles evolve constantly. As time pass, they can either start changing color or get more extrapolated. In some cases, hair may develop in the mole, this may cause some mild pain. However, not all moles change. Others fade away with time, often without your knowledge.
What Causes a Mole?
Normally, skin cells are expected to evenly spread over the skin. However, this isn’t always the case as there are times when cells in skin grow in a cluster. In such occurrence, moles start to appear on the skin. These skin cells are basically the pigments that gives skin its natural color,called melanocytes.
Exposure to sun may make moles to darken. This usually happens during pregnancy and during teen years. They get darker than the surrounding skin.
Inherited genes and the amount of sun we get exposed to during childhood are said to be the main factors determining number of moles. The more the sun exposure the more the moles. However, this isn’t always the case as they can also appear on sun-protected body parts likes genitals and soles.
Importantly, moles can affect anyone irrespective of their age, race and skin colors. They commonly affect freckles-prone people. Freckles are flat reddish, light-brown spots that normally appear during the summer. They usually affect light-skinned people, especially those with red hair and blue eyes. Generally, shunning contact with scorching sun’s rays and use of sunscreen helps to inhibit development of some moles and freckles. Moles also occur in animals.
Types of Moles.
Essentially, not all moles are created equal. Moles are grouped by multiple factors ranging from their time of development, location and whether they exhibit typical or atypical symptoms.
There are numerous types of moles. Some are more common than others.
A common mole is about 5-6mm in diameter with distinct edges, smoothed surface and even color. Though rare, they have high potential to turn into melanoma.
Common types are:
- Junctional melanocytic nevus – These normally appear as brown, round and flat lesions.
- Dermal melanocytic nevus – It’s easier to notice as they are raised, pale and hairy in some cases.
- Congenital nevi. These are moles that are present at birth. They are capable to develop into melanoma compared to those that appear after birth. They affect one in every 100 people.
- Dysplastic nevi. They are most likely to become melanoma. They are normally bigger than normal. They have uneven everything, including color and edges. Changes in a mole should be checked to bar development of skin cancer.
- Compound melanocytic nevus – Just like the latter, they are also raised above the skin, light brown and hairy.
Atypical moles :
Atypical moles exhibit irregular symptoms. These are possession of blurry borders, different colors and sizes and raised components. Regular examination is vital to detect and start treatment in moles.
The rare types of moles include are:
- Halo nevus – This normally develop in areas where the skin’s color has faded out. They are usually surrounded by a white ring.
- Clark nevus – They looks weird and larger than normal. They appear in a range of colors and are either flat or bumpy.
- Blue nevus – These are the dark blue moles.
Harmful and Harmless moles.
Most moles are harmless and painless only that they may lower your self-esteem. They can be a nuisance especially if cut while shaving. Moles can be surgically treated although it’s very costly.
It’s advisable to frequently check your skin for any new moles that develop or any new development to existing moles. Moles constantly change with time. It’s prudent to pay keen interest on the coloring, uneven edges, any bleeding or itching and size of moles as any abnormal change may be an early indication of skin cancer called melanoma.
Most moles are non-cancerous (benign). However, with time they can develop into melanoma which is a deadly form of skin cancer. Melanomas emerge as dark and rapid-growing spots on a new area on the skin. They also develop on a pre-existing mole where it changes in size, color and shape and starts to itch, bleed or redden.
Its major treatment is surgery but it all depends on your circumstances. If noticed and treated at early stage, the surgery is successful. Keen follow up care should however be employed to prevent melanoma from recurring.
In men, melanoma is usually found on the chest and back while for women, it’s the lower leg. Research shows that it’s the most common cancer in young women.
How to prevent cancerous moles.
It may not be possible to completely eradicate development of cancerous moles but avoiding overexposure to direct sunlight may inhibit chances of its development. This is essential for those who have a lot of moles. Avoid the sun damage by staying in a shade when it’s very hot, covering up with clothes and sunglasses, using appropriate high factor sunscreen and avoiding sunbeds’ UV rays.