What causes moles and can they be prevented?
A mole is a small patch of skin that will usually be a brownish colour and they can be flat, smooth or raised. Most moles are harmless, and people often want them removing for aesthetic reasons rather than medical reasons. In rare cases, moles can become cancerous developing into melanoma, in which case surgery will be required to remove the mole.
Many people are either born with moles or they develop because it is a hereditary trait. Exposure to sun can also cause moles to develop, but this is usually in people who already have a number of moles.
If moles are hereditary there isn’t anything that can prevent them. Sun exposure can have a significant impact on the development of dysplastic moles, which are associated with higher risks of skin cancer and melanoma. Sun exposure should be kept to a minimum and sun screen should be worn. It is important to keep an eye on existing moles or any new ones that develop for any abnormalities. For any changes in size, colour, shape and itching and swelling don’t hesitate to seek medical advice.
Common types of moles
Juntional melanocytic naevi: they are brown, round and flat in appearance.
Dermal melanocytic naevi: they are pale and raised in appearance and are sometimes hairy.
Compound melanocytic naevi: they are light brown in appearance, will be raised above the skin and are sometimes hairy.