Moles are common and usually harmless. However, the appearance of new moles can sometimes cause concern, especially when they exhibit specific characteristics. This article will explore why new moles appear, when to be worried, and how Valley Skin Institute can help.
Moles, medically known as nevi, are small, usually dark skin growths that develop when melanocytes, the skin cells that produce the pigment melanin, grow in clusters. They can appear anywhere on the body and vary in color, size, and shape. Most people have between 10 and 40 moles, which typically occur during childhood and adolescence. Most harmless moles are round or oval-shaped, with a smooth edge. They can be flat or raised and may feel smooth or rough.
Why New Moles Appear
New moles can appear on your skin for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the most common factors:
- Sun Exposure: One of the primary reasons for the appearance of new moles is sun exposure. Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun can cause melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells in our skin, to multiply, forming moles.
- Genetics: Your genetic makeup also plays a significant role in mole formation. If your parents or siblings have a lot of moles, you’re likely to develop them as well.
- Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause can also trigger the formation of new moles. These changes can stimulate melanocytes, leading to their development.
At the cellular level, moles form when melanocytes grow in a cluster instead of being spread evenly across the skin. These clusters of melanocytes form the dark spots we recognize as moles. While most moles are harmless, monitoring them for any changes is essential, as this could be a sign of skin cancer. We can provide expert advice and treatment for new or existing mole concerns at Valley Skin Institute.
When to Be Worried About New Moles
While most moles are harmless, monitoring them for any changes is critical. Remember the ABCDE while monitoring your moles. If a mole displays any of these characteristics, please request an appointment to get it checked by a healthcare professional.
- Asymmetry: If you draw a line through the middle of the mole and the two halves do not match, this could be a sign of a problematic mole.
- Border Irregularity: The borders of an early melanoma tend to be uneven. The edges may be scalloped or notched.
- Color Changes: Having a variety of colors is another warning signal. Several different shades of brown, tan, or black could appear. A melanoma may also become red, white, or blue.
- Diameter Enlargement: Melanomas usually are more prominent in diameter than the size of the eraser on your pencil (1/4 inch or 6mm), but they may sometimes be smaller when first detected.
- Evolution: Any change in size, shape, color, elevation, another trait, or any new symptom, such as bleeding, itching, or crusting, should be checked by your dermatologist.
New moles can sometimes be a sign of melanoma, a severe form of skin cancer. Melanoma can develop in an existing mole or appear as a new spot on the skin. Regular self-examinations and professional skin checks are crucial for the early detection of melanoma. We offer comprehensive skin checks at Valley Skin Institute and can provide expert advice and treatment for new or existing mole concerns.
Valley Skin Institute’s Approach to Mole Examination and Treatment
At Valley Skin Institute, we offer comprehensive mole examination and treatment. Our team, led by Dr. Leslie Storey, a Mohs Fellowship-trained surgeon, is experienced in identifying and treating problematic moles. We use advanced techniques, including surgical removal to effectively treat moles and Mohs surgery for cancerous moles.
Prevention and Early Detection
Preventing new moles and skin cancer primarily involves protecting your skin from the sun. Here’s how:
- Sun Protection: Excessive sun exposure, primarily UV light, is a significant factor in forming new moles and skin cancer. Protecting your skin from the sun is crucial. This can be achieved by regularly using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, wearing sun-protective clothing, and seeking shade during peak sun hours.
- Regular Skin Checks: Regular self-examinations and professional skin checks are vital for early skin cancer detection. If you notice a new mole or changes in an existing one, it’s important to get it checked by a healthcare professional. Early detection of skin cancer, particularly melanoma, significantly increases the success rate of treatment.
At Valley Skin Institute, we emphasize the importance of prevention and early detection. We encourage regular skin checks and can provide expert advice and treatment for new or existing mole concerns.
Prioritizing Skin Health
The appearance of new moles is a common occurrence that is usually harmless. However, when you notice new moles or changes in existing moles, they should be checked. Regular self-examinations and professional skin checks are crucial in detecting potential issues early.
We are committed to helping you maintain healthy skin at Valley Skin Institute. Please contact us if you notice any changes in your moles or have any concerns. Our team of experts is here to provide personalized advice and treatment to ensure your skin stays healthy.