Having dark moles is a normal phenomenon that shouldn’t worry you. The safety concern, however, may arise when you start observing unusual changes in their color, shape, and size. What worsens the situation is the numerous theories that you’ve heard regarding the association of such changes with skin cancer. Freaking out already? Well, you shouldn’t be frightened because these changes do not always translate into skin cancer! There are other reasons that may lead to dark moles. Here, we’ll give a well-researched guide on their causes and treatment. Read on to learn more!
Table of Contents
Identification and Causes
You turned in with a healthy skin and on waking up, you have a protrusion on your skin. You are not sure about what caused the peculiar skin growths and you’re starting to freak out. Could it be an ordinary acne or a mole? Or is there any health risk associated with the protrusion that appeared overnight? Well, we appreciate the confusion that you may be going through at this stage and we’ve prepared a guide to help you identify whether you have a dark mole.
While moles carry a significant risk of melanoma, they rarely progress into skin cancer. You, however, need to keep examining them for abnormal changes in the texture, appearance, color, and size of the mole. If you realize any change, then you should consult a doctor. Note that the moles may darken due to hormonal changes you may experience during puberty or pregnancy!
Moles identification can be challenging due to the presence of other conditions that presents almost the same. These other conditions include freckles and acne. Unlike the two, moles are particularly raised and crusty. They appear as small, dark spots on different parts of your skin including mole on the neck, on the back, on the leg, or the scalp. However, they are not as many as acne and are oval or round in shape. In some instances, there can be a hair strand growing out of them!
A normal mole should not be itchy and should not show any sign of bleeding. They should only appear as raised or flat growths on the skin that are asymmetrical, harmless and has no potential to interfere with your daily activities. Also, they are naturally darker than the surrounding sections of your skin.
There are numerous causes of dark moles including:
- Improper growth of skin cells. Melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin, are supposed to be evenly distributed in the entire skin surface. However, sometimes that doesn’t happen! Instead, they may grow in clusters or clumps which appears as moles on your skin.
- Genetics. Moles can be genetic and it’s not strange to find children being born with the condition. In congenital cases, the gene inheritance from the family lineage contributes greatly to the development of the moles.
- Hormonal Changes. It’s possible to develop temporary moles during stages that experience hormonal disturbances. Such instances include pregnancy and adolescence. These moles appear for a short time then disappear naturally.
Dark mole color change
The color change is one of the most crucial elements to look out for during your mole check exercise. A normal mole should have even pigmentation. They are usually tan, black spots, or brown moles that appear on any part of your skin, but commonest in areas exposed to sunlight.
Sometimes, the mole changes from dark to a light shade, blue or brown. While this may be a normal occurrence, it could be a dysplastic mole and thus you should visit your doctor immediately for assessment.
You should particularly take a keen interest when the mole takes different shades of color at the same time since this is a common sign of a mole that is progressing into skin cancer!
Moles with a dark spot
Have you realized a dark spot on your mole? Well, you shouldn’t freak out! In as much as there is a chance of a melanoma, it is significantly low. The changes are usually characterized by a few black dots on the mole, a mole with a dark center, or light brown spots on any section of the mole’s surface.
You should realize that there are other common causes of the dark spots including:
- Physical damage. The destruction of the cells of the mole will present as black dots on the surface. The damage can be occasioned by fingernail scratches, combs, or metallic jewelry.
- Excessive sun exposure. When the mole is exposed to too much sunlight, there is a possibility of it forming dark spots on the surface.
If you’re sure that the dark spots are not a result of injury, it is important that you consult a doctor for evaluation.
What if I have a mole with a dark ring around it
Moles are naturally darker than the surrounding skin due to the high concentration of the skin darkening element. However, you may realize a case where there are red or dark rings around it. If you’ve just spotted that, you don’t have to panic; this is usually a normal occurrence that results from normal body defense mechanisms.
In most cases, the dark halo develops when your skin is excessively exposed to the sun. The sunburns destroy the moles which make your body’s antibodies and a special white cell to destroy them. The defensive mechanisms identify the mole as foreign which occasions the destruction. During the process, the cells surrounding the moles are affected which leads to color changes that present either as white, red, or dark rings surrounding the mole. After some time, the mole disappears and pigmentation starts taking place to restore the normal color to the destroyed areas.
Like we’ve repeatedly advised on this article, however, any change in the normal structure, texture, appearance, and size should be checked by a doctor. If the ring is associated with other changes such as itchy mole, bleeding, and scaly surface, then you have no option but to seek medical advice.
When to see an expert?
The knowledge of when to see a specialist is crucial in guaranteeing your safety. You need to be examining your moles frequently. Any unusual change that you notice should be addressed by a professional to eliminate any danger.
When checking the moles, you should follow the ABCDE criteria as explained below:
|Asymmetry||When half of the mole does not match the other half|
|Border||When the border (edges) of the mole are ragged or irregular|
|Colour||When the colour of the mole varies throughout|
|Diameter||If the mole’s diameter is large than a pencil’s eraser|
|Evolving||Evolving – changes in colour shape and size|
- Asymmetry. A normal mole should be symmetrical. If you place a mirror on the middle, one half of the mole should appear exactly the same as the other half. If you notice an irregular growth on one side, you should visit your doctor.
- Boarder. The edges of the mole should be smooth, regular and well-defined. If you notice that your mole has scalloped, smudgy, or ragged borders, then you have a reason to worry!
- Color. This is another crucial element that you should never ignore! A normal mole remains the same for a relatively long time. Abrupt color changes may signify that the mole is turning cancerous. If the mole has multiple shades including black, red, purple, brown, white, or blue, you should talk to your doctor about it.
- Diameter. Usually, moles will have a diameter that is not more than that of a pencil eraser. If you notice changes in the size, then you should have a medical checkup.
- Evolving. You should regularly check the mole to notice any change in size, color, or shape of the mole. If you discover any unusual happening, do not hesitate to consult a professional.
Usually, the moles appear during childhood or puberty stages. If it occurs at a later date, you should be careful to inform the doctor about it. While these moles are largely normal, we recommend that you exercise extreme caution. It’s better to be sure than sorry!
Apart from the ABCDEs of checking your moles, you should also ensure that any other change that appears is medically examined. For example, you may realize that the moles have become itchy and painful. In some cases, you may see some bleeding on the moles!
Dark moles vary on occurrence, shape, and size. In most cases, they will either develop as a birthmark or within the 0-20 year’s bracket. Their occurrence is normal and shouldn’t worry you much. You should always perform routine checkups of the moles. If you notice weird changes, then you should consult a doctor immediately. In this article, we’ve detailed the changes you should be wary of. Read through them and let them guide you through the entire process! If new moles develop at an advanced age, you should be quick to have it checked by a doctor to arrest any chance of melanoma at an early stage.
You can find further details of Types of moles here.