Common and very misunderstood, moles are something most of us have, but few of us know much about. Let’s clear up the misconceptions and give you a little more knowledge about moles.
What Are Moles?
Moles occur when a group of cells known as melanocytes grow in a cluster instead of spread evenly throughout the skin. Melanocytes produce the pigment in your skin. Most moles are harmless, but a type of cancer known as melanoma originates in melanocytes and some moles can potentially develop this cancer.
Melanoma is scary, but fortunately, it is highly treatable and even curable if caught early. Whether you have many moles or none, protecting and examining your skin is one of the best ways to lower your melanoma risk.
Moles can be present from birth (congenital nevi), but typically develop during childhood and adolescence. New moles are very rare as an adult (and need to be examined by a doctor).
How Do I Take Care of My Moles?
Most moles don’t need any special care. Take care of them like you take care of your skin. Regular sunscreen use is important (both on moles and on skin without moles), as it can reduce your melanoma risk. If you need a good sunscreen, come on in. We carry several medical grade products to protect your skin and would be happy to recommend a sunscreen to you.
You should also perform a monthly at home check on your skin. Once a month, examine your skin from head to toe. Look for moles that are irregular (larger than a pencil eraser, variable colors, uneven borders, changing, painful or itching, etc.). Pay close attention for changes in the size, shape or color of existing moles and for new moles. If you notice any issues, go see your doctor as soon as possible. (This guide has some great tips on checking your skin at home.)
Once a year, you should receive a professional skin examination by a doctor or dermatologist.
Check your moles today!