MolesMoles are small growths on the skin caused by a collection of melanocytes or melanin-producing cells. Melanin is a pigment that gives skin its color, which is why moles tend to be darker than our usual skin tone, though some are pink or skin colored as well. Most moles are harmless and commonly appear on the skin during the first 20-30 years of a person’s life. In some cases, moles are present at birth! Moles can change in appearance and amount, sometimes fading away or dropping off on their own. Even irregularly shaped moles tend to be benign, but they should always be monitored by a healthcare professional if they grow larger or change in color or shape.
When should I seek treatment for a mole?
Most moles will never require treatment. However, they may be surgically removed if they are suspected to be cancerous or are otherwise bothersome (gets in the way of shaving, easily snagged, etc). If you are a person with numerous moles, you may benefit from regular checkups to monitor changes in their size, color and shape. If your mole has any of the following symptoms, it is best to seek medical advice:
- Painful or itchy mole
- Mole with irregular color
- Mole that changes in size
- Mole that oozes
- Mole that is red and swollen