Skin moles are growths on the skin, often round or oval-shaped with a dark color. The color may however vary to different shades. Some skin moles are flat while others are a bit raised from the skin.
A skin mole is caused by the melanocyte cells in the skin. These cells produce melanin and are responsible for the color of the skin, eyes and hair. It is formed when melanocyte cells do not spread thought the skin but grow in clusters.
Usually melanocyte cells grow normally and so the growth is usually benign. However in certain cases the melanocye cells may start to grow in an abnormal way, which may result in melanoma, a cancer of the skin.
Skin moles are very common. Most of them are present at birth while others appear as the person grows older. Some may also disappear with age. Their main causes depend mainly on:
- Exposure to sunlight
- Hormonal changes
They may become darker.
The principle reason for this is too much exposure to sunlight. Heavy exposure to sunlight during childhood and the teenage years highly increases the chances of developing new skin moles or that current ones increase in size. Sun beds and tanning saloons can also increase their growth.
Our genes determine many factors. If your parents have plenty of skin moles, probably you will have a lot too. Further more a history of skin cancer in your family also increases the risk that a mole may grow or develops into a cancerous growth.
Hormonal changes also make them to grow or new ones to appear. This may more commonly happen during pregnancy, the menopausal stage and during teenage years.
Generally as we get older, some tend to disappear.
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