What Causes Moles and What You Can Do About Them

If you have a mole, then you’ve probably wondered how it got there.

So what causes moles?

Well, doctors are clear on how moles form, but they’re not quite as clear on why they form.

But before we get into the details of how moles form, let’s make sure you and I are talking about the same kind of skin growth. First…

What is a Mole?

A mole, or nevus as it’s referred to in the medical community, is a small, circular shaped skin growth that can appear virtually anywhere on your body. They can form individually or they can develop in groups.

They range in size from just a few millimeters to as large as an inch in diameter. They’re often darker in color, e.g. brown or black, but they can also be a reddish-pink.

The surface area of moles also varies. Meaning, not all moles are raised. Some moles are flat and smooth.

Finally, moles have a tendency to change slowly throughout the course of your life. Meaning, they can change in both size and color. They can even begin to grow hair. All of which is perfectly normal.

How Skin Moles Develop

For starters, moles are incredibly common. Chances are you have as many as 10-20 on your body right now, as this is the statistical average amongst adults.

Most develop by the time you turn twenty, but this is not to say that moles can’t develop later in life.

So how do we get them?

It starts with skin cells we all have called melanocytes. These cells are responsible for melanin production, which is what creates the pigment or color in our skin.

A mole forms when these melanocytes grow abnormally in clusters as opposed to being spread evenly throughout the skin.

So what causes the cells to misbehave this way?

There’s a few reasons. The first is genetics. Many people are born with their moles. Doctors call these congenital nevi.

It’s important to keep a closer eye on these types of moles because they carry a higher risk of developing into skin cancer later in life.

There’s also a connection between female hormones and moles, which is why moles are more common in women than in men. This also explains why moles can suddenly appear during pregnancy. In fact, existing moles can also darken or grow larger during pregnancy.

Another likely skin mole cause is sun exposure. In this case, your skins cells react in response to the sun light by producing more melanin.

Again, when these cells form in bunches or clusters, a new mole develops.

Incidentally, heavy doses of sun light can both increase the number of moles you have as well as cause your existing moles to become darker.

Will My Mole Ever Go Away On Its Own?

Some moles can disappear on their own as a person ages, but there’s no guarantee of this.

So if you’re unhappy with an existing mole(s), then you should consider having it removed.

Despite not knowing exactly what cause moles, doctors still have several methods to remove them. There are also ways you can successfully remove them at home yourself.

Related Articles: