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You are here: ORS Hospital > Skin lesions> Moles > Basic information on moles

Basic information on moles

Sinonimi: Naevus, Nevus

What are moles?

Moles are benign, pigmented (colored) lesions of the skin, commonly brown to black in color. Most moles are between a couple of mm to 1 cm in size.

Most moles are harmless skin lesions, but there are moles that have a greater chance of developing melanoma in them, and exactly because of that, regular skin monitoring is a step of great importance in early melanoma detection, as well as detection of other skin cancers .

How do moles form?

Moles are presented by an uneven gathering and growth of melanocytic cells in the skin. Melanocytic cells produce the pigment melanin, which gives the skin it’s color and is a natural source of skin protection against damage caused by the Sun’s UV rays. These cells should be evenly distributed throughout our skin (never two of them together), covering the whole surface in an even fashion, with the exception of palms and soles.

When do moles form?

A certain number of moles is present as soon as birth, and those moles are called congenital moles, all other moles are considered acquired. The most of them appear during the first 20 years of life, other moles can form later in life.

Natural changes of the mole during life

In time, most of the moles will go slightly lighter in color and become elevated. Moles can go darker in some periods, i.e. after sun tanning, in teenagers and during pregnancy. Certain moles will develop hairs. A small number of moles may spontaneously disappear over time. Some of them will not change during life.

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