Moles on skin occur due to overgrowth of pigment-producing cells (called melanocytes). When these skin cells grown in clusters on a certain area of the skin moles appear. Melanocytes are responsible for producing melanin which gives skin it’s natural color.
Moles are commonly known as “Birthmarks” or “Beauty Marks” and do not pose any health threats but it is important to keep a close vigil on these birthmarks which might become cancerous in the rarest of the rare situations.
Let’s understand some quick facts about moles that appear on our skin so as to understand it better.
- Most moles are harmless/non-cancerous, however, it’s important to identify which moles are unhealthy for our body.
- Benign moles are typically smooth, dome-shaped and have even edges. They usually don’t change shape, size or structure.
- They are usually tan, brown or black in color. An irregular color of a mole could be an indication of suspected melanoma.
- Moles can appear anywhere on the skin.
- They are either flat or raised.
- Most moles appear early in life during adulthood and are sometimes present during birth. A mole on skin that grows after 30 years must be carefully observed and checked by a dermatologist.
- They are usually smaller than ¼ inches (6 mm), the size of a pencil eraser.
- Moles are either congenital or acquired.
- Areas of your body which are majorly exposed to sunlight have the maximum number of moles.
- Moles are often confused with Seborrheic keratosis, freckles etc.
- An average individual tends to grow somewhere between 10-40 moles on his/her body.
- A lot of times hair grow in moles.
- One study published by National Institute of Health stated that 75% of adults over 75 years have them.
- Moles usually change color/shape/size over time. But it is important that we get it checked by a skin specialist or a dermatologist.
- Fair-skinned people are more likely to attract more moles on their skin.
- According to an article published by Cancer Research UK, people with 100 or more moles are 7 times more likely to have melanoma.
- Hormonal changes also lead to the growth of moles.
- Some moles also disappear with age.
- Other mole types include Dysplastic, Junctional, Compound, Intradermal, Halo, Atypical, Spitz etc.
Here’s a short video we found on Youtube which talks about various aspects of skin moles.
Now that we all have a basic understanding of what is a mole, how do they look etc. and so on, let’s move on to our next topic –
Why do Moles grow on Your Skin?
Mole or Nevi is referred to as abnormal growth of skin cells which are responsible for producing skin color. To have a better understanding, skin cells melanocytes are spread evenly throughout the outer and middle layers of skin. And melanocytes produce melanin, which gives skin its natural color. When these melanocytes grow in groups/clusters, moles appear.
Scientific studies have still not been able to figure out the exact reason as to why moles grow on our skin or why melanocytes grow in clusters, however, the below-mentioned points clearly indicate various occasions that result in the occurrence of moles.
Not one, there are a lot of reasons for moles to grow on our skin. Obviously, there are some which you do not have a control over such as congenital Nevis (or moles appearing at birth) but some can clearly be avoided by keen observation and frequent visits to your dermatologist.
Here are some of the most common reasons that cause a mole.
1. At birth – Mole that appears on birth is also called Congenital Nevi. They are mostly benign.
2. Hereditary – It may be there because someone in your blood relation has it already.
3. Sun Exposure – Overexposure to sunlight/UV rays result in so many skin problems including the formation of moles. Avoiding sunlight or using high factor sunscreens (SPF more than 15) can help reduce the growth of new moles and changes in existing moles.
4. Hormonal changes – Our bodies go through many hormonal changes such as pregnancy, puberty etc. that could also result in the formation of moles.
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