1. What’s a mole?
A mole is a common type of skin growth that may appear at or after birth. Moles show up due to a disorder in melanin production and, therefore, have brown, red, pink, or flesh color. They may also have hairs growing from them and, even though they are mainly harmless, it is important to pay attention to any changes that may suggest cancer growth.
2. What are the different types of moles?
The three main types of moles are:
- Congenital moles: which come at birth, are mostly benign and look flat, varying in color.
- Acquired moles: which, as the name says, appear during a person’s lifetime mainly due to excessive sun exposure. They look round, brown and may get darker with age but not necessarily turn into melanoma.
- Atypical moles: which differ from the first two types by being larger, having irregular-shaped borders, and having a greater risk of becoming cancerous. They can also have a variety of shades.
3. When to have a mole checked by your dermatologist?
An annual skin checkup is recommended by dermatologists, in which they will look for changes in moles and possible cancerous growth. If you notice any unusual changes in your skin in between this period, such as rapid growth, a sudden change in shape, itchiness, or spontaneous bleeding, make sure to visit your dermatologist for help.
4. What to look for when examining your moles?
To check for any signs of skin cancer, keep in mind the ABCDEs of melanoma:
- B-Border: that are irregular and often poorly defined
- C-Color: changes within the same mole
- D-Diameter: usually 6mm or larger
Besides, make sure to check for signs of a returning mole after its removal. The risk of melanoma development becomes greater if the originally removed mole had cancer cells. Thus, prefer to keep on with monthly checkups with a dermatologist.
Tips for healthy skin:
Skincare is an important daily practice that keeps away most of the skin disorders, including moles. Dr. Yassine advises you to use a regular cleanser, moisturizer, and daily sun protection. Always pick a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher which will prevent moles of darkening and be more apparent.