Almost all of us have skin moles. These skin growths are harmless, benign melanocyte cells that are formed when the cells are not distributed evenly on the body. Moles can be classified as black moles, brown moles and dysplastic moles. Understanding each mole classification is important in determining the malignancy of the moles in your body.
Brown Moles (Regular Moles)
Most of the moles in your body are regular moles. These regular moles, or brown moles, are benign tiny blemishes or skin growths that typically appear in the early decades of your life. Regular moles are symmetrical, oval or round in shape. The border is sharp, regular and well defined. This type of mole typically comes in one to two shades only – brown, tan or skin color. The size of brown moles is usually just a quarter-inch and can easily be covered with a pencil eraser. Unlike other types of moles, regular moles resemble each other.
Dysplastic Moles (Irregular or Atypical Moles)
Dysplastic moles, also known as irregular or atypical moles or dysplastic nevi, are irregular, benign skin growths that usually resemble melanoma skin cancer. Aside from having a resemblance to melanoma, these irregular moles also have a chance of turning into cancerous moles. Several studies have already showed that small percentage of dysplastic moles can turn into melanoma. Removing dysplastic moles are usually recommended by dermatologists to decrease the chance of acquiring skin cancer. However, removal of atypical moles only eliminates a person’s risk of having melanoma skin cancer for that specific mole only.
Unlike regular moles, dysplastic nevi are asymmetrical in shape. The border is usually hazy or irregular and the mole slowly fades into the skin’s surrounding. Dissimilar to regular moles, the color of irregular moles vary. The usual colors are tan, dark brown, blue, brown, pinkish blue and sometimes black. This type of mole is also usually larger than regular moles. They are also usually found on unexposed areas of the skin like the breasts, buttocks or groin. The appearance of irregular moles also varies. They look different from each other. The enlargement of the mole is also possible. Usually, dysplastic moles that grow are at risk for melanoma. So do the formation of dysplastic nevi after the age of 25.
Black Moles (Melanoma)
Normal moles come in different colors. Most regular moles are colored tan or brown, while others can be blue, pink and even black. However, most people who develop black moles often get scared. This is primarily because of its association with melanoma. Melanoma is the most dangerous kind of skin cancer and is often referred to as black mole cancer.
Melanoma is considered the most dangerous type of skin cancer because it can easily spread throughout your body. In fact, it is believed that once black moles skin cancer extends to the body’s internal organs, death immediately follows. The primary cause of melanoma is excessive exposure to the sun. Melanoma develops usually between 20 and 60 years of age. However, black moles can develop at any age.
In order to avoid melanoma, it is important to have regular checkups. If you cannot go to a dermatologist regularly, you can use the ABCDE checklist of mole health. These are:
- A. Asymmetry (Are there similarities in the mole’s appearance?)
- B. Border (Are the moles’ borders edgy, rough or hard to see?)
- C. Color (Does the color of the mole seem uneven, or does it have multiple colors/shades?)
- D. Diameter (Are the moles larger than a pencil eraser?)
- E. Evolution (Are there significant changes in the mole area e.g., shape, color or size?)
These guidelines will help you check black moles, brown moles, and dysplastic moles. Check if they are normal or have a tendency to become malignant. If you detect any chances of malignancy, it is important that you visit your dermatologist right away.
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