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Moles are a natural skin lesion and appear on most people’s bodies. It is very normal for an adult to have between 10 and 40 moles. Some people are born with these growths, but it is more common to develop moles within the first thirty years of life. Moles are typically nothing to worry about, but they can develop into skin cancer. The most dangerous moles are those caused by malignant melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer.

If you have a new mole, a growth that changes shape or color, or more moles than the average person, it is important to receive regular skin checks by a dermatologist. This is the best way to protect yourself from developing skin cancer. Doctors are trained to identify the differences between malignant and benign growths, putting you at ease and allowing you to receive the treatment you may need.




Mole Causes

Melanocytes are the cells in your body that create skin color pigment. Moles appear when there are clusters of melanocytes. Rather than allowing the cells to spread evenly across the skin, they cluster together, creating a well-defined focal area of darker skin pigmentation. This results in a mole. Mole often appear spontaneously, but those who have fairer skin or who are frequently exposed to direct sunlight may experience them more.

Mole Symptoms

Over time, moles may change color due to age, exposure to sun, and/or pregnancy. It is very important to remain aware of sudden mole appearances or changes, as this could indicate a more serious condition. If a mole develops any of the following characteristics, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.

  • Asymmetry (when half of the mole is not the same shape as the other half)
  • Irregular or undefined edges (when the border of the mole appears ragged or blurred)
  • Multi-colored
  • Large (when the size is bigger than a pencil eraser)
  • Evolves or changes over time

Moles with these characteristics may be early warning signs of malignant melanoma, but only a doctor can provide a definitive diagnosis. Schedule an appointment at one of our St. Louis-area offices to receive the diagnosis and treatment you need.

Mole Treatment

Normal moles do not need medical intervention, but they should be removed if they are bothersome in appearance. Similarly, mole treatment may be recommended if the growth is irritating, painful, rubs on clothing or bleeds. Mole treatments often include removal by shave removal or excision. Typically, moles that are removed are examined under a microscope by a dermatopathologist. This specialist will look for abnormal changes or signs of melanoma.

Moles - Treatments & Procedures