Moles are dark spots on the skin. You can be born with moles. They also appear over time. Heredity and spending time in the sun may influence the amount of moles that you have.
Some people have moles removed because they are bothered by the way they look. In other cases, moles are removed because they appear precancerous or cancerous. You should have your doctor perform a full body mole check. Your doctor can remove moles in his or her office.
The dermis is your second layer of skin. It is made up of connective tissue and provides structure. It is composed of collagen and various elements that give your skin strength and elasticity. The dermis contains hair cells, sweat glands, and sebaceous glands that secrete oils to hydrate the skin.
Subcutaneous tissue composes your inner most layer of skin. Subcutaneous tissue contains fat cells. The fat cells insulate your body and make your skin appear plump and full. Below the subcutaneous tissue are fat tissues, your muscles, and your bones.
You should look for any changes in your moles, especially moles that are dark or flat. Changes in moles may be a sign of pre-skin cancer or skin cancer. Look for changes in size and color. Look at the borders to see if they are regular. Both halves of the mole should have the same shape. Contact your doctor if you experience a change in a mole.
Am I at Risk
Risk factors may increase your likelihood of developing moles, although some people that develop them do not have any risk factors. People with all of the risk factors may never develop the moles; however, the chance of developing moles increases with the more risk factors you have. You should tell your doctor about your risk factors and discuss your concerns.
Risk factors for moles:
_____ Moles appear to have an inherited factor. If your close family members have moles you have an increased likelihood of developing them.
_____ Sunlight exposure appears to play a role in mole development. Sunlight can also contribute to precancerous or cancerous changes in moles. People that spend a lot of time outdoors, such as construction workers, lifeguards, and recreational enthusiasts tend to develop more skin changes than people that do not spend large amounts of time in the sun.
In some cases, moles can undergo changes and turn into skin cancer. You should perform regular self-mole checks and have your doctor perform a full body mole check. Skin cancer can be life threatening. Skin cancer that is detected and treated early has the best prognosis.
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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.
The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on February 16, 2022. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.