Common skin moles can often serve as a point of pride, given the right location, size, and composition. In fact, some celebrities are famous for their well-placed and not-terribly-unsightly moles. However, not all moles are so glamorous, and some require immediate inspection to prevent more sinister developments in the skin tissue. Take a look at a short description of some of the most common types of moles and when you should have them examined by a dermatologist at a clinic like Advanced Dermatology & Skin Cancer Specialists.
The Three Common Categories Of Moles
Moles are typically classified into one of three different categories: congenital, atypical, or acquired.
Congenital Moles- These kinds of moles present themselves at birth and are the most rare. This type of mole may put the individual at an increased risk for developing skin cancer, and as a rule of thumb, the risk is directly proportional to the size of the mole itself.
Atypical Moles- Atypical moles are generally described as large (a diameter greater than that of a #2 pencil eraser). This class of mole is characterized by uneven brown colors and a darker center. They often take abnormal or asymmetrical shapes and are often considered "pre-cancerous", which is why it's important to have them examined as soon as they manifest. Atypical moles are often genetic and may present themselves at any age.
Acquired Moles- Most moles fall into the acquired category and develop in youth and early adulthood. Acquired moles pose the least risk to your safety and are generally attributed to excessive exposure to the sun.
When To See A Dermatologist
There are few things to look for in a mole that will help determine whether or not it is need of examination by a qualified dermatologist.
The Shape- Asymmetrical moles represent a greater cause for concern than the symmetrical variety.
The Edge- Moles that exhibit poorly defined or erratically shaped borders.
Color- Moles that are uniform in appearance are generally safe, but those that exhibit multiple shades or different colors altogether should be looked at.
Size- Larger moles represent a greater concern than smaller moles, although smaller moles must also be examined in the context of shape, color, etc.
Change- Any mole that has changed in size or appearance.
Additionally, moles that bleed or are painful are an obvious cause for concern, but ultimately the danger or lack thereof concerning any mole is a function of numerous characteristics, including, shape, size, color, and whether the mole is congenital, atypical or acquired.