Melanocytes are the cells in your body that create skin color pigment. Moles appear when there are clusters of melanocytes. Rather than allowing the cells to spread evenly across the skin, they cluster together, creating a well-defined focal area of darker skin pigmentation. This results in a mole. Mole often appear spontaneously, but those who have fairer skin or who are frequently exposed to direct sunlight may experience them more.
Over time, moles may change color due to age, exposure to sun, and/or pregnancy. It is very important to remain aware of sudden mole appearances or changes, as this could indicate a more serious condition. If a mole develops any of the following characteristics, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
- Asymmetry (when half of the mole is not the same shape as the other half)
- Irregular or undefined edges (when the border of the mole appears ragged or blurred)
- Large (when the size is bigger than a pencil eraser)
- Evolves or changes over time
Moles with these characteristics may be early warning signs of malignant melanoma, but only a doctor can provide a definitive diagnosis. Schedule an appointment at one of our Minneapolis-area offices to receive the diagnosis and treatment you need.
Normal moles do not need medical intervention, but they should be removed if they are bothersome in appearance. Similarly, mole treatment may be recommended if the growth is irritating, painful, rubs on clothing or bleeds. Mole treatments often include removal by shave removal or excision. Typically, moles that are removed are examined under a microscope by a dermatopathologist. This specialist will look for abnormal changes or signs of melanoma.