To find out what causes moles, they must be understood. Firstly, moles are extremely common. These skin lesions which are normally oval or round in shape and darker in color to the rest of the skin form when melanocytes cells are not distributed evenly around the body as normal. Instead, the cells which produce melanin (the pigment which adds color to the skin, hair and eyes) clump together for some reason. It is this clump of cells which is known as a mole.
As mentioned, moles are usually round in appearance and darker in color due to the fact that there is excess melanin in one place, though some moles are reddish or pink in color. Yet moles can come in different shapes and sizes and can be wither flat to the skin, or raised.
They can appear at any point in life, on both men and women, depending on what causes them. When looking at what causes moles on skin there are three categories:
Just as skin, hair and eye color is inherited, so is a condition called Atypical Mole Syndrome. People who inherit the syndrome will normally have excessive amounts of moles on their body throughout life. These moles will vary in size, shape, color and will be more susceptible to becoming cancerous.
Unfortunately, thanks to the way genetics work, there is not a lot that can be done to prevent somebody from contracting the syndrome, sufferers must adapt their lives and be even more vigilant when checking moles and protecting their skin.
Exposure to the sun is one of the main causes of most moles. The reason for this is that the skin reacts to the sun by producing higher levels of melanin, which is why people get a tan from sitting in the sun. Sometimes, instead of the melanocytes dispersing throughout the skin as they should do, they form groups and a new mole appears.
The easiest way to avoid this from happening is to avoid direct sunlight and protect the skin against harmful UV rays by wearing protective creams and lotions.
Changes in hormones can led to the production of skin moles. The most periods of life where these changes would occur are:
Whilst moles affect both men and women, they are linked to the female hormone and as such tend to be more common in women.
Because of the thyroids part in hormone production, problems with the gland can lead to hormonal imbalances which can, in turn, cause moles. Also, hormone replacement medication may have a side-effect of causing moles.
It is important to look at what causes moles as the cause may affect the treatment, of which there is a variety. Most moles are not dangerous at all and are known as benign. However, some moles may turn cancerous and there specific groups of people who are more susceptible to this happening. It is important to check moles regularly and report any changes in shape or color to the doctor immediately.
Are they Dangerous?
The vast majority of moles are benign (non-cancerous) and are not dangerous in the slightest. However, some moles may present a risk of cancer and could lead to melanoma. It is therefore imperative that moles should be checked on a regular basis to look for any signs of the lesion being cancerous or pre-cancerous. Such signs include:
- Changes in size
- Changes in color
- Changes in shape
Moles which are blotchy or have blurred borders could be a cause for concern. If any of the changes or signs is noted, it is imperative to seek advice from a dermatologist. Melanoma claims an astonishingly high number of lives every year, but one of the most unfortunate aspects about each case is that the cancer is completely treatable if caught in time.
It is a person’s lack of understanding on the subject which can be the most damaging. Asking the questions: “what are moles on the skin, how are they caused, could mine be cancerous?” are all questions which need to be fully explored and understood to be able to minimize the risk of skin cancer.