Moles are mysterious as well as dangerous. In old times, moles used to be associated with a number of superstitions. If erupt in high number, moles can have a devastating impact not only on skin but psyche as well. Before you go for a treatment, it is better to develop a complete understanding and its underlying causes.
Causes of moles
Moles are a common skin growth—benign tumours that outgrow from a natural process in the skin. Melanin is the natural pigment found in skin, which is responsible for the skin color. It is produced by cells called melanocytes. Exposure of sunlight stimulates the even transfer of melanin pigment to skin cells which results into tanning. But sometimes these cells don’t distribute evenly and grow in clusters, forming moles. Moles can form anywhere in the body but they tend to develop more on frequently sun exposed areas.
Is it common? Or not so common?
Although moles are quite common but the certain abnormal characteristic of a mole can make it quite uncommon. A common mole is usually 5-6 mm in diameter, has distinct edges, a flat or smooth surface and most importantly even pigmentation. Such moles are quite normal and carry low risk of turning into skin cancer.
However, moles with irregular features like variation in color, fuzzy borders, bigger size, and mix of both raised and flat components, may carry high risk of skin cancer. A person with high number of such moles are at higher risk of melanoma. Regular self-examinations are also important to detect any changes. Keep an eye on below mentioned changes:
- Irregular borders
- Change in color
- Different colors in one mole
- Moles larger than 6mm in diameter
- Change over time
Mole myths busted!
- One of the common myths associated with moles is that, it becomes cancerous when exposed to sunlight. This is not true. Cancerous moles can grow almost anywhere, whether the area is exposed to sun or not.
- Malignant tumours will always be uneven and darker. This is again a myth. Some malignant tumours can be perfectly round without noticeable color variations.
- Another myth is, if a mole doesn’t hurt you it isn’t cancerous. If you have a mole unchecked until the point of bleeding or hurting, you may end up in trouble! Bleeding often signifies advanced stage of melanoma.
- Melanoma follows the ABCD rule that is Asymmetry, border irregularity, color that is not uniform and diameter greater than 6mm.
- Skin moles are transmittable; it is again not true. They can’t spread from one individual to another.
Instead of mingling around such myths it is better to get it checked by an experienced dermatologist.