Moles are very common, and most of the people tend to have more than 1 moles on their skin. Moles occur when pigment cells in the skin, called melanocytes, grow in clusters. Light skin people tend to have more moles on the skin.
Nevus is the technical name of a Mole(plural: Nevil). This has arrived from the Latin word for birthmark.
There is no definite cause behind occurring moles, and its thought to be due to genetic factors or sun damage in most of the cases.
Generally, Moles emerge in adolescence and childhood, and the shape and color of it change with age and time. During pregnancy, due to hormonal change, a new mole can appear.
The size of most of the moles is 1/4 inch in diameter, and the color ranges from pink to dark brown or black. You can have moles anywhere on your body.
Types of Moles
Moles are of various types and categorized when they appear by how they look like, and how risky they are of becoming cancerous.
1) Congenital Moles
Birthmarks are known as Congenital Moles and they are wide in size, shape, and color. Nearly about 0.2 to 2.1 percent of infants are having congenital moles.
If you want to treat your birthmark for cosmetic reasons in adulthood then the treatment for the same include-
- skin resurfacing (dermabrasion)
- skin shaving (excision) of top skin layers
- chemical peel for lightening
- laser ablation for lightening
Congenital moles that are larger in shape have a greater risk of becoming malignant in adulthood (4-6% lifetime risk). Changes in size, shape, color, or the pain of birthmark should be evaluated by the doctor only.
2) Acquired moles (also called common moles)
These are the moles that you have on your body after you’re born. Also known as common moles and can appear anywhere on your body.
Acquired moles on the skin are usually:
- round or oval
- flat or slightly raised or sometimes dome-shaped
- smooth or rough
- one color (tan, brown, black, red, pink, blue, or skin-colored)
- small (1/4 inch or less; the size of a pencil eraser)
- may have hairs
Darker Skin People or people having dark hair tend to have a dark color mole on their skin than the fairer skin.
If you have more than 50 common moles on your body, then you are at a high risk of having skin cancer. However, it’s rare for a common mole to become cancerous but still, you should consult a doctor in this case.
3. Atypical moles (also called dysplastic nevi)
Although these moles can be anywhere on your body like neck, head, or scalp, and they are found often on the trunk. They rarely appear on the face.
Atypical Moles may have some characteristics that are similar to melanoma(a type of skin cancer). So, it is advisable to go for regular skin checkups to monitor the changes in your moles as they have the potential to become cancerous. They have been characterized as “ugly ducklings” of moles because of their appearance.
Atypical moles are:
- having irregular shape
- varied in color like brown, red, and pink
- having a size larger than 6 millimeters or more
- Found more common in people having fairer skin
- More common in people having high sun exposure
You are at a higher risk of getting melanoma if you have:
- four or more atypical moles
- a close relative who had melanoma
- had melanoma in the past
If someone from your family has a lot of atypical moles, you may have familial atypical multiple moles melanoma(FAMMM) and have 17.3 times higher chances of having melanoma than other people.
Causes of a New Mole
The cause of having a new mole in adulthood isn’t well understood, and they may be benign or cancerous. Genetic damage caused due to the interaction between ultraviolet rays(UV), both natural, or artificial with DNA that leads to melanoma and other skin cancers.
Reasons behind having a new mole are:
- increasing age
- fair skin and light or red hair
- family history of atypical moles
- response to drugs that suppress your immune system
- response to other drugs, such as some antibiotics, hormones, or antidepressants
- genetic mutations
- sunburn, sun exposure, or tanning bed use
If you are an adult having a new mole on the skin, then you should consult with your dermatologist to monitor changes in your mole.
Are Moles Cancerous?
Most of the moles are benign (noncancerous). But if you have a new mole in adulthood then it might be cancerous more than the old one. You should see a dermatologist, if you have a new mole in the age of an adult, and if it’s changing its shape and color.
How do you know Mole with Cancer or you are having it?
You should consult a doctor when your old mole change rapidly or a new mole occurs in adulthood. If you have itching, bleeding, oozing in your mole, or if it is painful then you should consult your doctor to check moles cancer.
Melanoma is the deadliest skin cancer, but new moles may also be squamous cell cancer or basal cell cancers. It appears on that portion of your body where you get direct UV rays, such as your face, head, and neck and you can easily get them treated.
ABCDE guide to help you determine if a mole or a spot may indicate other skin cancers or melanoma:
- Asymmetrical shape – Every half is in different shape
- Border – irregular borders.
- Color – Having mixed colors are rapid change in color
- Diameter – Size having more than 1/4 inch in diameter.
- Evolving – Regular changes in shape, color, or size of a mole.
To keep a check on the changes in your mole, check your skin regularly. More than half of the skin occurs on that body part which you can see easily. It’s common to find melanomas on that body part, which is not protected from the sun.
Common areas where women can have melanoma are arms and legs and For Men, it is the neck, head, back, and trunk.
But the melanoma locations are different for people having a different color.
Non-Caucasians have a lower risk of having melanoma. Typical sites among non-Caucasians for melanoma are:
- the soles
- the palms
- in between toes and fingers
- under toenails or fingernails
Protect your skin
Protect your skin from the ultraviolet (UV) rays that are very harmful to your body and skin, such as from the sun or tanning beds. Use the best sunscreen to protect your skin and the best sunglasses that will not only make you look smart but also protect you from the sun’s heavy rays. UV Radiations increased the risk of melanoma, and the children who haven’t protected from heavy sun rays tend to have more chances to develop more moles.
- Avoid peak sun times – Schedule outdoor activities for other times of the day and not in peak hours like the afternoon between 12-4 pm, even on cloudy days or in winter.
- Use sunscreen year-round – Before going outdoor apply the best sunscreen that is chemical-free for about 30 minutes and apply it after every 2 hours. Use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a higher SPF or at least 30.
- Cover up- Wear the best sunglasses, broad-brimmed hats, full sleeves clothes to keep yourself protected from heavy UV rays. It is advisable to wear fabric cloth especially to protect yourself from sunburn as it blocks UV rays.
- Avoid tanning lamps and beds- It can increase the risk of skin cancer.
Home Remedies to remove moles
Apple cider vinegar
It is one of the most commonly used ingredients to get rid of moles. The acids found in the vinegar named malic and Tartaric can dissolve and remove the moles from the skin. For this, you need to gently apply some apple cider vinegar using cotton for an hour. Repeat this for two weeks to get rid of your moles.
It is considered to be very warm and that’s why it is very helpful to remove moles or burning the moles. Form a paste of garlic and apply it to our skin. Apply a bandage over it when it dried out and leave it overnight.
Repeat this for a week to get rid of your mole.
Castor oil is best to tackle a lot of skin ailments a removing mole. Mix one tbsp castor oil with a one tbsp baking soda. Apply the paste and leave it overnight. Repeat this process for a month.
Pineapple juice is used in various skin creams as it is good in killing bacteria. Mix pineapple juice with sea salt to make a good scrub. Now apply this over your mole and start scrubbing for about 15 minutes to remove the top layer of the mole. Repeat this until you see the best results.
- Aloe vera
Aloe vera is very beneficial to treat not only skin issues but also various diseases other than this. Apply aloe vera pulp over the mole to get rid of it. It is slow but it is safe to use. Just clean your mole first and then apply aloe vera over your mole. After this, cover the area with a bandage for about 2 hrs.
Other Skin growth looks similar to moles, but not moles actually like Skin tags, and they need to be treated differently.