There was a time when moles were known as “beauty marks.” Honestly. When they are on your face, they are pretty distinctive, but moles can develop anywhere on your body. If you are born with one or several, when they appear, and what they look like are all important factors. So exactly when should you worry about a mole?
What’s A Normal Mole?
Moles are quite common and almost all are harmless. A normal mole has an even brown, black, or tan color. It can be flat or raised a bit, and can be round or oval in shape. Normally they are less than 6 mm or about one-quarter of an inch across.
Moles we are born with are almost universally normal.
Once you have a mole, it will usually stay the same size, shape, and color for years. Some will even fade.
Different Types Of Moles
Moles are separated into three types.
Congenital Moles are those we have when we are born. They can be small, medium, or large. Most congenital moles larger than 20 mm have a risk of turning into skin cancer.
Acquired Moles develop after birth. They are smaller than a pencil eraser, and have an even color throughout with a symmetrical border. Most acquired moles will not develop into cancer.
Atypical Moles have an asymmetrical irregular border, and they have several colors within them. The color is uneven with some areas darker. These moles can run in families, and if you have several of this type of mole, your risk of skin cancer increases.
Do A Self Checkup
Examine your moles at least every 2 to 3 months and note any changes in shape, size, or color. It is always best practice to see Goodless Dermatology annually for a full body check.
When Is A Mole Of Concern?
Changing moles and new moles are always cause for concern. A melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer, so watch for the ABCDEs signs of cancer.
A is for asymmetry, where one half of a mole is different from the other half.
B is for an irregular border. Here the mole will have poorly defined edges.
C is for varied color where the mole has various shades of black, brown, white, red, and/or blue.
D for diameter means it is larger than a pencil eraser.
E for evolving, where it is changing, or has changed, size, shape, or color.
Watch for moles that itch, bleed, or are painful.
Finding skin cancer early is your best chance for successful treatment. Don’t ignore a changing mole, do regular self checks, and visit a dermatologist regularly.