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Moles

Moles are very common small growths that look like a piece of flat or raised skin.  Moles are usually pink, tan, or brown.  They can be flat or raised.  They are usually round or oval and no larger than a pencil eraser and range anywhere from pinhead size up to greater than the size of you hand. Moles can occur anywhere where there is skin.  Most people have between 10 and 40 moles.  A person may develop new moles from time to time, usually until about age 40.

Essentially, moles are just a collection or clump of pigment cells called melanocytes.  While melanocytes normally occur in small numbers in he skin, when these cells bunch up in a nest, they then create what is visible as a mole.

Moles also tend to become darker and more apparent with sun exposure and pregnancy and lighten somewhat in the winter months.

The most basic risk factor for developing moles is your genetic makeup and the contribution of genes from your parents.  Risk factors for getting an increased number of moles includes sun exposure, sunburns, and overall sun damage.  New moles appearing after age 30 may require close observation, medical evaluation, and possible biopsy.  A brand-new mole in an adult may be a sign of an evolving abnormal mole or early melanoma.  A new mole or one that changes in size, color, or outline, should be checked by a healthcare professional.

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