Moles are a natural skin lesion and appear on everyone’s skin. It is quite normal for an adult to have 10 – 40 moles. Some people are born with moles, but it is more common for people to develop moles within their first thirty years of life. While most moles are nothing to worry about, moles can develop into malignant melanoma, which is a type of skin cancer.

Causes: Melanocytes are the cells in your body which create the pigment that produces your skin’s color. Moles appear when there are clusters of melanocytes. Instead of the melanocytes spreading out evenly throughout your skin, they cluster together causing a well-defined, focal area of darker skin pigmentation, otherwise known as a mole.

Symptoms: Over time, moles may change color due to age, exposure to sun, and/or pregnancy. It is important to be vigilant if a mole sudden appears different in size, shape, or color. Please consult a doctor if a mole develops the following characteristics:

  • Asymmetry (half of the mole is not the same shape as the other half)
  • Irregular or undefined edges (border of the mole looks ragged or blurred)
  • Many different shades of color
  • Size is larger than a pencil eraser
  • Evolves or changes over time

Moles with these characteristics may be early warning signs of malignant melanoma.

Treatment: Normal moles do not require any treatment, but they may be removed if they are bothersome in appearance or because the mole is irritating, painful, rubs on clothing, or bleeds. Moles may be removed by shave removal or excision. Generally, any moles that are removed will be examined under a microscope by a Dermatopathologist to look for any abnormal changes or signs of melanoma.


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