Moles (Melanocytic Naevi)
About Moles & Melanocytic Naevi
Moles can be found all over the body. They are small lesions on the skin that are normally brown, but they may be skin-coloured or blue/black in colour. Moles may be flat or raised. They are actually a collection of skin cells called melanocytes, which produce the colour or pigment in the skin. People with light or fair skin will often have more moles than people with darker skin. The average adult has around 30 moles by the time they are 30 years of age.
Moles can change in number and appearance. Some moles fade away or fall off later in life, often you don’t even notice. They also sometimes respond to hormonal changes, for example during pregnancy, when moles can become slightly darker in appearance. As we get older from around 40 to 50 years of age some may disappear.
Kinds of Moles
Here are a few different types of mole that we treat.
• Junctional Melanocytic Naevi are flat and round, usually mid to dark brown.
• Compound Melanocytic Naevi, slightly raised, colour varies and they are often hairy.
• Dermal Melanocytic Naevi are raised lumps and usually hairy. They may be the same colour as the rest of your skin.
• Blue Naevi are as the name suggests, dark blue and are commonly found on the face, hands or feet.
• Dysplastic Naevi are usually larger than other moles and vary in shape, size and colour.
• Halo Naevi, common in children and teenagers and they occur when the immune system attacks the mole, causing a ring of pale skin to appear around the mole. Eventually it may disappear.
Moles and Malignant Melanoma
Most moles are completely harmless, but in a few rare cases they can develop into malignant melanomas. Malignant melanoma is an aggressive, and most serious type of skin cancer. The cause of malignant melanoma is complex, a mixture of genetic factors and the environment. However, melanomas may not be necessarily caused by excessive sunbathing, they can occur on parts of the body that have not been exposed to the sun.
A malignant melanoma may appear anywhere on the body. It may be a dark, fast-growing spot where there was not one before, or a pre-existing mole that changes size, shape or colour, which may also in later stages of the disease bleed, itch or redden.
You should regularly check all your moles for any changes. A change in a mole can occur in weeks but in some moles it may take much longer. Most moles are harmless and will never cause any problems. Some moles however can become sore or inflamed if you catch them on things, or if you pluck the hair out.
As some moles are capable of developing into skin cancer, it’s a good idea to check your moles regularly so that you’re aware if they change shape or colour.
See your GP if you notice:
• An existing mole that has recently grown
• Mole with a ragged/uneven edge
• Mole that has varying shades of colour
• Mole that bleeds, crusts or oozes
• Mole that itches or feels painful
• Mole that is not symmetrical in either colour or shape or both
An easy way to remember these changes is the ABCDE method
A – asymmetry
B – border irregularity
C – colour change
D – diameter greater than 6mm
E – elevated (raised) or evolving (a mole that is changing in size, shape or colour)
If you are concerned about any mole, you should visit your GP at the earliest opportunity.
Treatment & Removal of Moles at Skin Evolutions Clinic
We treat moles using Advanced Cosmetic Procedures and radio surgery. These simple treatments are purely cosmetic and is only used to treat “normal” moles. I.e. moles which do not need to be removed for medical reasons. Click here to find out more about the treatment>>
Call us today on 01962 809937 for a consultation.