Moles (also known as melanocytic nevi) are small benign lesions in the skin that contain true cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes are melanin-producing cells. Melanin is a brown pigment which gives our skin its color. Moles are usually brown, but some may be much darker, while others are skin-colored or even colorless and pink. They can be rough, flat, raised, and have hair coming out of them. They are generally round or oval, and have a smooth edge.
Moles can change in appearance and numbers. Sometimes they eventually fade away or drop off on their own. Some moles respond to changes in hormone levels, as may occur during pregnancy, adolescence and older age. During our teen years they usually grow in number, get darker during pregnancy and gradually fade away when we are older.
The vast majority of moles are harmless. In some rare cases they can develop into an aggressive type of skin cancer called malignant melanoma. If you have moles, you should check them regularly for changes in symmetry, border, color, size, shape, or texture. If you notice any changes or new symptoms in your moles, you should have them evaluated.
Contact Dr. Heather Roberts for further information.