Moles are skin growths that often occur as small dark spots. They can develop anywhere on your body, including your armpits, scalp, and face. Rarely do people seek treatment unless Fort Worth moles appear in noticeable areas that affect their appearance, such as the face. Although moles are primarily harmless, they can become cancerous, which is why you should visit your doctor whenever you notice any changes. The following are symptoms, causes, and prevention methods of moles.
What does a mole look like?
A typical mole appears as a small brown spot, but these pigmented lesions can appear in different colors, sizes, and shapes. They can be black, brown, tan, blue, pink, or red. Moles can have a smooth, flat, wrinkled, or raised texture, and some of these lesions may have hair growing from them. Most moles are circular or oval and usually less than six millimeters in diameter. If a mole appears at birth, it may be more significant than usual, covering a part of a limb or face.
Most people develop moles by age 50, and these growths may change or fade away with time. Hormonal changes during adolescence and pregnancy may make moles larger and darker. Some people have clusters of brown spots on their face, especially around the cheeks, eyes, and nose. They are sometimes called flesh moles, but the correct term for these clusters of spots is dermatosis papulosa nigra. It is a type of seborrheic keratosis and not a mole. They can occur in anyone, but they are common among women of color. Unlike moles, flesh moles do not carry a risk of skin cancer. Most people who seek treatment do so for cosmetic concerns.
When should I seek treatment?
Although moles are primarily harmless, you should see your doctor if it looks unusual. A mole may indicate skin cancer with irregular, notched, or scalloped borders. If one half is unlike the other or a color changes, that could signify skin cancer. It is also essential to look for new growth and watch for moles that keep evolving, changing size, shape, and color. Sometimes you may notice new symptoms such as bleeding and itchiness, a sign of an unusual mole. The symptoms of malignant mole vary – some may show all of the characters above, while others may only have one or two distinctive characteristics.
How can I prevent moles?
Exposure to UV radiation is associated with increased melanoma risk. For this reason, you should take measures to protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation. Your child may develop more moles if you don’t protect them from sun exposure. The following steps can help you prevent moles.
- Use sunscreen. Specialists recommend using a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen before stepping out and even on cloudy days. When buying sunscreen, look for one with an SPF of at least 30. Ensure you apply the product generously to your skin, especially when swimming.
- Avoid peak sun times. Sun’s rays are usually the strongest between 10 a.m and 4 p.m, especially for people in North America. If you can, schedule your outdoor activities for when it is not too hot or consider using a sun-protective umbrella.
If you have further questions about moles, consult with your doctor at Northstar Dermatology.