Skin moles are extremely common. In fact, the average person has between 10 and 40 moles on their body–and nearly everyone has at least one. As ubiquitous as moles may be, however, many people know surprisingly little about nature’s “beauty marks.” As a result, some people may become very worried and stressed over harmless moles, or (far more tragically) fail to seek treatment for moles that are potentially dangerous signs of a serious medical condition. Here are 6 simple facts that everyone should know about moles!
1. Most moles are non-cancerous. There is no reason to worry about a common mole, as most moles are completely benign. Moles that are potentially dangerous can usually be identified, as long as you know the “ABCDE’s” of moles. (See fact #4 for more information.)
2. Moles are acquired throughout life. Though a small portion of the population is born with moles, most moles are acquired during childhood and young adulthood. Moles present at birth, as well as moles that develop after the age of 30, pose a higher risk of eventually becoming cancerous.
3. Moles change slowly over time. Slow, gradual change is normal for moles. Some may grow, shrink, or even disappear! It is also quite common for moles to grow hairs.
4. The “ABCDE’s” of moles can help determine if a mole might be dangerous. Any mole that displays one or more of the following characteristics could be dangerous, and thus warrants medical attention:
● Asymmetrical shape
● Borders that are jagged or uneven.
● Color variation. (Benign moles are usually brown, and they usually display one color all the way through.)
● Diameter that is larger than the eraser of a pencil.
● Evolving quickly. (Though slow, gradual change is normal, benign moles do not change a great deal in a short amount of time.
5. Early detection of skin cancer is key to long-term outcomes. In fact, skin cancer is almost always treatable if discovered early.
6. Moles can be removed for a variety of reasons. Mole removal may become necessary when a mole is deemed to be cancerous. In other cases, patients opt to remove moles for aesthetic reasons.
More questions about moles? If a mole is causing you concern, the safest route of action is to speak with a dermatologist. To schedule an appointment today!