A skin mole is usually round or oval shaped. A mole is generally rather small in size, but in some cases it can have larger dimensions and various colours, ranging from pink, brown (the dome-shaped ones) to red and black (the flat ones). Moles are also called pigmentary nevi or melanocytic nevi as they represent pigment cell or melanocytes accumulations, the cells responsible for the coloration of the eyes and the skin. Theoretically, each person has a certain number of moles on their skin and statistically speaking, this number should range from 10 to 40 on a person’s body.
Moles or pigmentary nevi are mainly benign growths that appear at birth or immediately after (congenital nevi) or in time, usually during the first 20-25 years of life (acquired nevi). The latter ones are mostly caused by a prolonged exposure to harmful sunrays, tending to grow in number in the areas most frequently exposed and lacking protection. There are also cases when moles still continue to appear after the age of 30 or 40, however most of all disappearing in time.
The appearance of melanocytic nevi has the same rapport in both men and women. The only exception is represented by the skin colour. Thus, people with lighter skin are much more prone to developing moles than those with darker coloured skin, whose greater quantity of melanin in the skin ensures more protection against the appearance of nevi. Moles can also develop faster due to traumatic events such as 2nd degree skin burns, sunburns, toxic epidermal necrolysis or bullous epidermolysis (when blisters appear).
The existence of moles on the body shouldn’t create any serious health problems, but a number exceeding 40 such pigmentary spots could easily suggest a susceptibility to melanoma. As having previously mentioned, excessive sun exposure, as well as genetic factors can increase the chances to develop a type of melanoma. Other situations in which moles’ structure can be hindered are cosmetic treatments or aesthetic hair removal.
That’s why, when noticing a change in the mole’s shape, colour and size, you should immediately check it with a specialist or a doctor.