Although we don’t have as many moles in California as in more humid climates, they can still be found burrowing around yards and golf courses here and there. They’re typically an unwelcome visitor to your yard.
You could say the same thing about moles that show up on your skin. No one likes them (except maybe Cindy Crawford), and Dr. Malamet can remove them for you. Here’s when to pay attention to your moles.
A mole is usually your friend under age 30
When you suddenly find a mole in a not-so-beautiful location, you may think you’re more prone to these darn things than other people. Probably not. Human skin is good at growing these things — the average person has between 10 and 40 moles. Moles 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, those moles change. Some will develop hairs. Others will become more raised or change color. Others will disappear.
Why do we have moles?
The culprit is the same one that makes freckles and causes our skin to tan, melanocyte cells. Moles occur when melanocyte cells grow in clusters rather than being spread throughout the skin. Due to their pigment relationship, 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, kind of like your Uncle Herb from Pomona who comes for the holidays and lingers. Again like Herb, moles are usually harmless. But occasionally a mole changes color, height, size, or shape. That’s when you need to get it checked. Cancerous growths usually form after age 30, while harmless moles usually form well before then.
It is rare for a mole to turn into melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. However, people with more than 50 moles are more likely to develop melanoma. And since we live in the sunny clime of Southern California and we’re already on the lookout for skin cancer, it doesn’t hurt to add moles to your watchlist. Just not your Netflix watchlist!
These are warning signs with moles:
- A mole changes color
- Its size changes unevenly
- It changes height, shape, or texture
- Skin becomes rough and scaly
- Mole feels hard or lumpy
- It itches, oozes, or bleeds.
If you have any of those warning signs with a mole, or if you simply want to have one removed for cosmetic or other reasons, call Dr. Malamet at 818-380-3130.