Moles, Birthmarks and Freckles

  • Moles, Birthmarks and Freckles

  • Moles are collections of the cells that make our skin pigment. 

  • There are many types of birthmarks- some with pigment cells, some with blood vessels, and others.

  • Freckles are brown spots which show up due to family history and are increased by sun exposure. 

  • You can use freckles as a barometer of sun exposure.  Since they darken in the sun, you should pay close attention and if you see them darkening, please consider more sun protection. 

  • Moles tend to run in families, but multiple moles have also been linked to UV exposures. 

  • Watch your moles closely for changes and see a health care provider immediately if you have changes in your moles.

  • What changes should you look out for?

  • Rarely, moles can make dangerous changes.  The changes that should prompt evaluation are the same changes we look for in evaluating melanoma.  This is known as the ABCDEs. If you have any of the following changes, show them to your doctor:

  • Asymmetry (does one side look like the other?)

  • Border (is it irregular?)

  • Color (is it multicolored?)

  • Diameter (how big is it? Bigger than a pencil eraser, show it to a doctor)

  • Evolution (did your mole always look one way, and then change?)

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