Most people aren’t born with moles, but that’s not to say they won’t develop in the later stages of your life. Getting these skin lesions is quite common, both in children and adults, and experts say that having anywhere from 10-40 moles on an individual is normal.
However, where most moles are harmless, some have malignant/cancerous properties, giving individuals a sure sign that there are signs of melanoma, aka skin cancer, brewing in the body.
Should you be worrying about moles? What can you do about moles that keep changing their shape and size? This guide aims to answer a boatload of questions regarding moles, so make sure to stick around, and find everything you can, and should!
The Different Types Of Moles
Moles are clusters of pigmented cells that can appear anywhere on the body. There are several types of moles that all look slightly different from one another.
A common mole, for example, is the most prevalent type and usually appears as a small, round, and uniformly coloured mole.
On the other hand, an atypical mole tends to be larger and has an irregular shape or colour. It’s essential to keep an eye on your moles’ appearance, as changes in size, shape, or colour might signal something more serious.
Knowing the different types of moles is a crucial first step in maintaining healthy and safe skin.
How To Identify Malignant/Atypical Moles
Whether you’re getting prepped for laser mole removal treatment, or just want to check for yourself, dermatologists prefer using the ABCDE technique to filter out the atypical moles apart from the harmless ones. Here’s how you can do it too:
- Asymmetrical: Does your mole have parts that don’t match the rest? Asymmetry can mean danger!
- Border: Poorly defined mole borders are red flags in the mole world.
- Colour: Multiple shades of colours, typically 2-3, can be a cause for concern
- Diameter: Moles that are larger than 6 millimetres can be a cause for concern (though that doesn’t mean melanoma does not exist in smaller moles)
- Evolving: Ever-changing moles are the biggest red flags of melanoma. Make sure to check your moles now and then, and look for signs of changes.
When Should You Worry About Moles?
While most moles are typically nothing to worry about, using the above ABCDE technique, you can assess the situation of your moles, and let your dermatologist know, as soon as possible, to deal with them.
According to research, a new mole might not be a sure sign of melanoma, but since 30% of melanoma cases start on existing moles, it’s still important to let your healthcare provider know about any moles that pop up on your body!
Oftentimes, moles might be anything to worry about, but under the right conditions and times, moles can turn into worse conditions, such as melanoma. Early detection is always the key to beating illnesses like Melanoma (Skin Cancer), and the better you are at identifying the conditions, the better it is for your health