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What Causes Moles? (And How You Can Get Rid of Them)

Lancaster aesthetic

Did you know it’s normal to have between 10 and 40 moles by the time you’re an adult? Moles are small growths on the skin that are usually brown or black and can appear anywhere – by themselves or in groups. While most moles appear in early childhood and during the first 25 years of life, they can pop up at virtually any time.

What Causes Moles?

Mole growths are the result of a natural skin process that involves melanin. Melanin is a natural pigment that gives your skin its color. It’s located in the top two layers of your skin (you have three) and is produced in cells called melanocytes. Because these cells are spread evenly throughout your skin, your skin appears the same color throughout your body. However, when they’re not spread evenly and instead grow in clusters, moles can form.

When you get a tan in the summertime, it’s because the melanin in your skin darkens when it’s exposed to the sun. Even though you may have a mole that’s already darker than your skin tone, it can still become darker when it’s exposed to the sun. This means a light brown mole can, over time, turn to a dark brown or almost black color. Moles may also darken during the teen years and/or during¬†pregnancy.

Types of Moles

Congenital Nevi

These moles are with people at birth and only occur in one in 100 people. These types of moles are more likely to develop cancer versus moles that appear later in life.

Dysplastic Nevi

These moles are usually larger than a pencil eraser (the average size of a mole) and are irregular in shape as well as uneven in color. This type of mole is more likely to become melanoma.

Acquired Nevi

These moles develop during childhood or adulthood. They’re usually benign, but on rare occasions can turn into malignant melanoma.

Junctional Melanocytic

These moles tend to first appear in childhood and look like flat, freckle-like lesions. They’re brown, dark brown, or black and are most commonly found on the face, arms, legs, or feet.

Dermal/Intradermal Nevi

These moles are light brown or flesh-colored and are created when melanocytes push the cells above it upward. These types of moles are most commonly found in adults.

Compound Nevi

These moles have features of both junctional melanocytic moles and dermal/intradermal nevi moles; they’re usually raised and have an even coloration.

How to Get Rid of Moles

Whether you’ve had your unwanted mole for years or it’s just popped up recently, our Lancaster aesthetic professionals can help you get rid of it. With our KTP laser, we can target and remove unwanted, benign moles and leave your skin looking smoother and more uniform. If you’re interested in our effective laser treatment, give us a call today and set up a skin consultation.