A mole is a growth on the skin, usually raised slightly above the skin. Moles come in a variety of different sizes, colors and shapes. Some people might have a single mole, while others have several. Most people with moles will have 10-40 of them throughout their body. Moles can occur anywhere on the body, though they are more common on the arms, legs, and face. Moles occur when cells in the skin, known as melanocytes, grow in clusters and tissue surrounds them.

Who Gets Moles?

Anyone can get moles, most of which someone is born with. Approximately 1 out of every 10 people will have a mole that looks different from an ordinary mole, called an atypical one. Moles are typically inherited from parents, as well as exposure to the sun and having certain characteristics that raise your risk of moles such as having fair skin with blue or green eyes and blonde or red hair. Moles on the arms and face tend to be worse because of the frequent sun exposure in these areas. All ethnicities can get a mole, including Asian, African, Indian, and Caucasian and animals can also get moles.

Getting Moles as Babies or Adults

Some moles may be present on individuals when they are babies but they might be small and gradually change shape, color or size as the person gets older. Congenital moles will be present at birth which means they started to develop during fetal development stages. Other types of moles will come from another factor such as environmental factors like excessive sun exposure. Many people won’t have moles as babies or young children but they gradually develop as adults. Most people will have their moles before they turn 30, though they have seen developed in adults up to 25. New moles should always be examined by a doctor and possibly a biopsy as there is a chance it is cancerous.

Types of Moles

There are three classifications of moles; regular, irregular, and cancerous. Regular moles are usually benign and known as friendly. They are not causing any complications for the person and will be uniform in color, the size of a pencil eraser or smaller and have regular borders. Irregular moles are usually raised, multiple colors, bigger than a pencil eraser, and be asymmetrical. If you have more than 25 irregular moles on your body, you have a higher risk of getting melanoma. Cancerous moles are those that are irregular and considered malignant. They will need to be removed immediately, along with surrounding cancerous tissue.

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