Varieties of Moles and why you have them

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Team MoleSafe Creator
Posted 15/04/19

Most people are born with one or more moles somewhere on their body. Some people develop moles over their lifetimes. Most moles appear during childhood, while on others they don’t show up until later in life. Genetics, exposure to the sun or changes in hormones are what causes moles.

Some facts about Moles (Melanocytic Nevi)

Moles are a dark group of melanin producing skin cells that grouped together, raised above the skin. Moles can present in all kinds of shapes and sizes. People with fair skin are usually more likely to develop multiple moles on their bodies.

New moles appearing after birth are usually the result of the skin’s exposure to sunlight. Most moles are harmless, but as moles change over time there is a small risk of their cells turning cancerous. As such, it is recommended that you have your moles and skin checked by a professional on a regular basis, especially if there is a history of skin cancer in your family.

The causes of Moles

1. Genetics

If members of your family have moles then it is likely that the cause of your moles is genetic. Growing moles after childhood is also an indicator that they are genetically caused. Moles that are caused by your genes are more likely to develop into melanoma.

2. Sun Exposure

Sunlight is the main cause of developing moles. High exposure to the sun during infancy and early adolescence increases the chances that moles will grow in size or new moles will develop.

3. Hormones

Hormonal fluctuations during the periods of adolescence, pregnancy and menopause may prompt new moles to emerge or existing moles to change.

Mole Varieties

Not all moles are the same. Here are the most common types of moles:

  • Common Moles

These moles are even in color, are shaped like a smooth dome and have clear edges. You will find these moles on body parts that are most frequently exposed to sunlight. They have a rare but occasional risk of evolving into cancerous melanoma.

  • Atypical Moles

Moles that are atypical are general diagnosed as such because of the abnormal symptoms they present. These symptoms include fuzzy borders, moles that are larger than others on your body, moles that are not one color and moles that are bumpy or unevenly shaped. If a mole is atypical and genetic it can cause melanoma. Atypical moles that are uneven or larger than a quarter inch should be paid special attention.

  • Acquired

Caused by sun exposure, acquired moles can appear during childhood or later in life and generally are not a risk. However, with age benign moles may turn cancerous.

  • Congenital

These are the moles you are born with. Melanocyte cells in the central layer of skin (dermis) or the outer layer of skin (epidermis) are the cause of these cells. Sometimes confused for birthmarks, these moles have a wide variation of size and appearance. These can be at risk of turning cancerous later in life.

Other Varieties of Moles to have checked by a professional

  • Junctional Melanocytic Nevus
  • Intradermal Nevus
  • Halo Nevus
  • Compound Nevus

Having your moles checked professionally at MoleSafe

Monitoring changes in your moles is the best way to know whether they are at risk of turning cancerous. Having a professional keep a record of your moles or lesions and tracking their changes is the safest way to do this. We know that early detection of cancerous moles is the most important factor in avoiding surgery and even the fatal outcomes of skin cancer.

If you have numerous moles, new moles, moles that are changing in appearance, or a mole that seems suspicious make an appointment with MoleSafe ASAP. We can give you a head-to-toe skin exam, information about your moles and lesions, and a diagnosis of whether any of your moles are at risk. Knowing if there is anything alarming about your moles will allow you to begin a treatment program immediately.

You can also use our free, quick and easy risk assessment tool developed by MoleSafe to get a better idea of whether your moles are at risk of evolving into melanoma.