What moles are

Moles or Nevi, i.e. masses of melanocytes, usually appear soon after birth and tend to become larger and darker as the person grows.

Moles

  • Moles may develop anywhere on the skin (not only on areas of the skin that are exposed to sunlight). Most moles are on the body, although some of them appear on the face, hands and feet, or even on the scalp or other parts of the body.
  • Most moles are small (between 3 and 10 mm). Many are round or oval shaped. Some of them are flat, but they may grow above the skin level and become perceptible to the touch (as opposed to freckles).
  • As time goes by, many moles change; they may become larger or darker, for instance. Often moles change during puberty.
  • Most people have moles, but some have many moles. New moles may appear at any age, but most appear before the age of twenty.

Can moles pose health problem?

  • Usually no treatment is required for the moles.
  • Sometimes, skin cancer (melanoma) develops on or near a mole.
  • If the size, shape or colour of a mole starts changing, if itching is noticed or if it starts bleeding, the mole should be examined by your dermatologist.
  • You should check frequently the appearance of your child’s moles for any changes. Given that we usually cannot examine all moles on our body, especially when they are more than 50, it would be a good idea to ask your doctor about performing regular checks, such as mole mapping.

Mole Removal

  • Usually moles are removed if they are aesthetically unpleasing or if they are on the face and the person wants to get rid of them.
  • Moles may be also removed if they are at an area that is frequently injured.
  • Your doctor may recommend the removal of a mole if there appears to be a risk of the mole turning malignant.

You should always keep in mind that it is of utmost importance to protect your skin from sun rays, especially during the summer. All skins need protection, but in the case of persons and children with many moles (above fifty) greater care is required. Use daily a high factor sunscreen, wear long-sleeve tops and hats. Avoid unnecessary sun exposure during the hours of maximum UVA radiation, in Greece between around 11 am and 5 pm.