Leave the Moles to Caddyshack

Humans are known to grow a variety of skin lesions: moles, freckles, skin tags, benign lentigines, and seborrheic keratoses. Not many people like having things like moles are their skin, particularly on the face and arms.

Well, unless you’re Cindy Crawford.

Moles that don’t burrow

Just about everyone has a few moles on their skin. The average person has between 10 and 40 moles. moles and cancerMoles can grow anywhere on the skin and are usually brown or black. Most moles develop in early adulthood over the first 30 years of a person’s life.

Over time, like everything else in life, those moles change. Some will develop hairs. Others will become more raised or change color. Others will disappear.

Moles occur when melanocyte cells (responsible for skin color) grow in clusters rather than being spread throughout the skin. Due to their relationship with melanin, which is responsible for the skin’s response to sun exposure, some moles darken with sun exposure, during the hormonal teenage years, and during pregnancy.

Moles and cancer

The vast majority of moles are simply hanging out, sort of like that uncle who can’t hold a job. They are harmless. Occasionally a mole changes color, height, size, or shape. That’s when you need to get it checked. Also, moles usually form BEFORE you’re 30, while cancerous growths usually form AFTER you’re 30, so growths later in life need to be watched.

It is rare for a mole to turn into melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. However, people with more than 50 miles are more likely to develop melanoma.

These are warning signs with moles:

• Its size changes unevenly
• A mole changes color
• Mole feels hard or lumpy
• It changes height, shape, or texture
• Skin becomes rough and scaly
• It itches, oozes, or bleeds.

If you have any of the above warning signs, or if your mole is simply becoming an irritation (such as on your bra strap line), Dr. Malamet can make it sleep with the fishes. Call us at 818-380-3130, and let’s take a look at it.

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