are pigmented or colored spots which are found on the outer layter
of the skin. They can be round or oval, flat or raised. Moles are
very common and typically pose little risk if they remain unchanged.
The majority of moles are brown, however, their colors can range
from black, dark blue, yellow, and a range of pinkish flesh tones.
The can occur alone, or be found in clusters on virtually any part
of the body. The exact cause is unknown, however most are the result
of hereditary genes, and often develop from sunlight.
In most cases a mole's color and shape will not
change, howver, chagnes in hormone levels found at the time of puberty
or pregnancy can cause them to grow darker or larger. During this
time it is also not uncommon to develop new moles.
Moles will sometimes lighten up and fade away on
their own after around 50 years, however, many will never change
throughout a persons lifetime. In some cases moles also develop
stalks which raise them above the skins surface when they later
drop off entirely.
There are a number of types of moles.
Congenital Nevi - There are moles that are present
at birth. Approximately 1 - 3 percent of all babies born have one
or more of these.
Junctional Moles - These moles are typically brown
and relatively flat. In some cases they may be slightly raised.
Compond Moles - Compond Moles are slightly raised
and can range in color from dark brown to tan. These moles involve
pigment-producing cells (known as melanocytes), which are found
in both the lower and upper layers of the skin.
Dermal Moles - Dermal Moles range from brown to
flesh tone and are elevated from the skin. These moles are most
common on the upper body and often contain hairs.
Sebaceous Moles - These moles have a rough texture
and are created by over-active oil glands.
Blue Moles - Blue Moles are slightly raised and,
as the name suggests, often have a blue tone. These moles are most
commonly found on the arms, neck and head, and are predominantly
found in women.
The majority of moles are benign and cause minimal
rish of cancer. In some cases if a mole is atypical is may pose
a risk of developing into malignant melanoma, known as a fatal form
of skin cancer. In most cases these moles are hereditary and often
larger than a pencil eraser. Their shapes are typically irregular
(see Dangers of Moles to learn what to
watch out for!)
The moles most commonly known to develop into cancer
are those we are born with. While any moles can become cancereous
these are the ones to keep an eye on. Large moles which are more
than eight inches in diameter are at a much higher risk.