Moles are a type of skin growth that is common in many people. They are formed by clusters of pigment-producing cells called melanocytes. Although most moles are harmless, it is important to know the different types and be aware of any changes to them. Moles generally appear as a single shade of color, ranging from beige to dark brown, and have a well-defined border. However, moles can develop during any stage of life and may darken with sun exposure or hormonal changes.
There are several types of moles, including:
- Junctional nevus: These moles are typically round or oval with a flat surface and can appear at any age.
- Compound nevus: These moles have a raised surface and are brown in color.
- Dermal nevus: These moles are usually skin-colored and have a raised surface.
- Blue nevus: These moles are typically blue or blue-gray and can appear anywhere on the body.
- Halo nevus: These moles are surrounded by a white ring or halo and can appear at any age.
It is important to monitor any changes to moles, as this can indicate skin cancer. Signs of concern include:
- A mole that changes color, shape or size
- A mole that is larger than a pencil eraser
- A mole that is asymmetrical or has an irregular border
- A mole that is itchy or painful
- A mole that bleeds or oozes
If a mole is causing discomfort or there is a risk of skin cancer, it may need to be removed by a dermatologist. Depending on the type of mole, the dermatologist may use surgical excision, laser surgery or shave removal.
Protecting your skin from sun damage is an important step in preventing skin cancer. Here are some tips to reduce exposure to the sun:
- Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and hats
- Apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 to all exposed skin
- Limit time in the sun, especially during peak hours
- Avoid tanning beds
Overall, it is important to be aware of any changes to moles and take steps to protect your skin from the sun. If you have concerns about a mole or notice any changes, consult with Dr. Neily Venice Board Certified dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment.