I in or snows, from their scientific name, are small spots on the skin made up of an accumulation of melanocytes, cells that produce melanin. Melanin is a substance that gives the skin its characteristic color. Moles are often brown in color, although some may be darker or the same color as the skin. There are a great variety of them: they can have a flat shape or be palpable to the touch, have a smooth or wrinkled surface or hair. Most of them are rounded and with a smooth edge.

Moles can change in number and appearance. Some disappear over time; others change due to hormonal changes that occur during certain life stages such as:

  • pregnancy, when the moles can become darker
  • adolescence, phase in which the moles can increase in number
  • adulthood, from the age of 40 onwards, moles can disappear

There are several types of moles, the most common are:

  • junctional melanocytic nevi, usually brown in color, rounded and flat
  • dermal melanocytic nevi, generally in relief, poorly colored and sometimes with hair
  • compound melanocytic nevi, protruding on the surface of the skin, light brown in color and sometimes with hair

The least frequent moles are:

  • snows of Sutton, surrounded by a halo of white skin that has lost its characteristic color
  • atypical or dysplastic nevi (also known as Clark nevi), characterized by an unusual appearance and slightly larger in size, may be different in color and flat or irregular in shape
  • blue snows, dark blue color

Some moles are present from birth, although most develop during the first 30 years of age. People with fair skin often have more moles than people with darker skin. Also, you are more likely to develop numerous moles, or moles of a particular type, if you are familiar with moles.

Growing up places can also play a role in the appearance of moles. For example, if you have spent a lot of time in the sun, you are more likely to have more moles.

Most moles are harmless. However, if they are particularly conspicuous, they can cause discomfort and induce a negative perception of one's image. In addition, depending on the parts of the body in which they are found, they can create some problems: for example, in wearing some clothes or, for men, in shaving the beard. It is, however, possible to eliminate them by surgery. Usually, surgery not motivated by an illness are not offered free of charge by the National Health Service but can be performed for a fee in private facilities. The attending physician will be able to provide all the necessary information on a case-by-case basis.

Skin control

It is good for each person to carry out a periodic check of the moles, both through a specialist visit, and through a self-examination of the visible parts of the body (Video). Since moles can develop anywhere, it is advisable to get help to check even the areas that cannot be observed on your own. This will allow you to have a sort of "photograph" of the basic situation that will allow you to verify any changes over time or the appearance of new moles, especially after adolescence, when their development is less common. A mole, in fact, can change in weeks or months. The change of a mole is, in fact, the first alarm bell that must lead to deepen its nature. A type of skin tumor called melanoma.

To distinguish a mole from a melanoma, it is advisable to follow the ABCDE rule which focuses on 5 characteristics:

  • A, as an asymmetry; moles are symmetrical while melanoma has one half larger than the other
  • B, as an edge; the edges of a mole are regular, those of a melanoma are jagged
  • C, like color; moles have a single, uniform color, while melanoma can have multiple colors
  • D, such as dimensions; moles grow to a diameter of 6 mm, melanomas are usually greater than 6 mm.
  • And, as an evolution; the rapid growth of any mole or pigmented spot must arouse suspicion

Other warning signs are bleeding or itching of a mole, or the appearance of a lump or red area around it.

Moles can develop on any part of the body but most appear on the back, legs, arms and face.

In the event that any changes in the skin are observed, it is advisable to immediately consult the attending physician.

In cancerous people

Most moles are benign (non-cancerous), in rare cases they can turn into melanoma.

Melanoma usually appears as a rapidly growing new dark spot but can also develop from a pre-existing mole that changes size, shape, or color and bleeds, itches, or reds.

The primary cure for melanoma is surgery. The choice of therapy, however, depends on the circumstances. If melanoma is diagnosed at an early stage, surgery is usually successful although monitoring may be required over time. to prevent a relapse.

Preventing melanoma

People with many moles should be especially cautious about exposing themselves to the sun as they have a higher risk of developing melanoma. solar system, following simple precautionary measures, such as:

  • stay in shady areas in the hottest hours of the day
  • use suitable clothing, covering sun-exposed skin, use cool, light-colored clothing, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses
  • use creams with a high sun protection factor (minimum SPF 15) (read the Bufala) and reapply them regularly, in particular, after the bath (read the Bufala)
  • avoid the use of lamps or tanning beds because sources of UV rays (read the Bufala)
In-depth link

In-depth link

NHS. Moles (English)

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