What are Moles?

By: Peter Petigrew


Everyone has a mole somewhere. So, just what is a mole? They can occur on every part of the body, but most often show up on parts exposed to the sun. A mole is a cluster or collection of melanocyte cells. These cells are part of the process that gives the skin its color. When there's just one mole, its referred to as a nevus, but more than one mole has the plural scientific name of nevi. Many people are born with moles. These congenital nevi don't develop color until they receive sun exposure.
Moles come in a variety of sizes, colors and shapes. Most moles are brown or black, but they can be blue, translucent, red or flesh toned. Some moles are flat to the skin and others form a bulb of flesh on the surface of the skin. Most of the time, moles appear in the first twenty to thirty years of life. Your age, race, and genetics are all factors in the amount of moles and types of moles that you have. Environment also plays a factor in the development of the mole. Sun exposure is one environmental factor that plays a role in the development of moles.
On the outer layers of the skin the epidermis a junctional nevus grows. It is flat and can appear blackish brown in color. An intradermal nevus stays on the inner layer of skin, the dermis. This mole is often flesh toned or can be brown. These are raised and soft. Compound nevi are mixtures of the two types of skin. These types of moles aren't quite junctional or intradermal.
The next type of mole gives a lot of people the most scare. It is the blue nevus. The blue nevus is blue-black in color and may people often mistake it for skin cancer.
The final way to identify moles are by regularities. They do not resemble symmetrical moles and are called dysplastic moles or atypical moles. They can sometimes be cancerous and resemble melanoma. The mnemonic device ABCDs can be used to identify these irreuglarities. A is for asymmetry when one side isn't the same as the other. B is for irregular borders they are uneven. C is for color and they don't have the same color throughout. Finally, D is for diameter when one is bigger than most at 6mm.
If your mole contains any irregularities or if it bleeds then you should check your doctor. If you catch melanoma before it spreads it is much easier to cure. Just make sure you keep watch or go to your doctor if you see any changes in your mole.

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