A mole is a lesion that occurs on the skin and is colored by the skin pigment called melanin. Scientifically known as Melanocytic nevus, moles appear anywhere on the skin and are formed either alone or in groups. They are formed when skin cells, also called melanocytes, grow together at a single place, instead of spreading out evenly on the skin. Most of the moles are developed on a person’s body, either at birth or during childhood. Moles mature just as a person matures. Usually, moles start off as flat, brown spots and with time, they become elevated and grow hair. While most of the moles are innocent and harmless, some have chances of increasing the risk of developing melanoma, a potentially fatal form of skin cancer. To know the different kinds of moles, read on further.
Different Kinds Of Skin Moles
Atypical Nevi or Dysplastic Nevi
Dysplastic moles are large in size and irregular in shape. Since they also lack the even borders that characterize the normal moles, they tend to increase the risk of melanoma. These moles usually appear during puberty on the back, buttocks, chest and scalp. They are about 1 cm in diameter and vary in shades of tan and brown. To determine whether they are cancerous or not, it is best to get them checked by a doctor.
These moles are acquired at birth and are of two types - small and giant. While a small mole is less than 1.5 cm in diameter, the giant one can be larger than 20 cm in diameter. Though these are not very common as only 1 in a hundred people is born with this, but they are more likely to become cancerous. A congenital mole can appear on the head, neck or spine. Hence, a clinical examination or skin biopsy is recommended in these mole types.
Halo moles appear in teenage years and usually disappear with time. They are characterized by a light or white colored circular ring around their outer sides. Though they can appear anywhere on the body, they are more common on the back.
Common Acquired Moles
Common acquired moles occur after birth usually around 6 to 12 months. They can also appear in children and adolescents. Though these moles are generally black or dark brown in color, some can be flesh colored or slightly yellow as well. These moles change their shape with time, due to hormonal fluctuations that occur during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. Though common acquired moles are harmless, they should be examined by a dermatologist for any risk of developing melanoma.
Also known as spindle cell moles, they occur from pigment cells called melanocytes. They are most common in children and adolescents and appear on the face and head. They are raised and smooth and are about 6 to 8 mm in diameter.
These moles usually appear in older people. They are fleshy in appearance with colors of brown or black. Seborrheic Keratoses moles are normally fixed onto the skin and are round or oval in shape.
Pyogenic Granulomas is a rare kind of a mole that is characterized by red or black elevated marks on the skin. They usually occur after any injuries. Though they disappear after some time, they can also be removed through surgery.