Moles, scientifically known as melanocytic naevi are small coloured spots made of melanocytes. They are usually brown in colour, or can be darker. They can also vary in feel, ranging from a flat or raised, to smooth or hairy. They usually tend to have a circular shape with a smooth edge.
Some moles can be found at birth, though most tend to develop during the first 25-30 years of life.
There is also a genetic element to moles, where you are more likely to have them if they are common in your family. Sun exposure can also bring them about.
Moles can also change in number and appearance; from fading away over time to responding to hormonal changes. These include during pregnancy, when they can become darker, to increasing in number during the teenage years, and even disappearing during old age.
As there are many different types of moles, there are also 3 main types. These are; junctional melanocytic naevi, which are usually brown in colour, flat and round, dermal melanocytic naevi which pale in colour, raised and sometimes hairy. The final main common type of mole are compound melanocytic naevi, which are also raised above the skin and sometimes hairy, but light brown in colour.
Harmless moles make up a majority of moles. However, it is highly recommended to check your skin for any new moles that develop or changing to existing moles. Changes in moles can include but are not limited to uneven or several different colours to one mole, a ragged or uneven edge, bleeding, itchy, red, and growth. Changes can be a sign of melanoma which is an aggressive form of skin cancer. However, most moles can be benign.
For non-cancerous moles, they can be removed via cosmetic mole surgery, where the surgeon may just make the mole level with your skin, a process called a shave excision. Cauterisation follows this to close the wound.
For moles that are cancerous, the main treatment is surgery, which will depend on your individual circumstances and what your physician thinks is best.
This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Doctify Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. In the event of an emergency, please call 999 for immediate assistance.