Moles Throughout History

Moles Throughout History

When cells in the skin grow in a tight cluster instead of being evenly distributed throughout an area, what we call a mole occurs. RefinedMD encourages everyone to opt for annual skin screenings because moles are often the first sign of skin cancer. However, most moles are benign and completely harmless. In fact, moles (or beauty marks) have fascinated humans for centuries.

In the 1900s, both men and women adorned “mooches.” These velvet pads were designed to stick to the skin and look like moles. They covered up scars, particularly from smallpox, and peaked in popularity when Poland’s Queen Marie Casimire began to wear them. The average person has between 10 – 40 moles on their body, although people with fair skin and those who have been exposed to the sun throughout their life tend to have more moles.

Is Your Mole Ok?

If a person has more than 11 moles on their right arm, they are likely to have at least 100 moles on their body. More moles may appear as we age, and as a slow-moving side effect of sun damage. Moles can also change as we age, sometimes growing larger. This may be a sign of skin cancer, and any changing mole should be checked by a dermatologist immediately. However, other times these changes are benign.

Gamers quickly became enamored with Ms. Pac-Man’s bit-sized signature beauty mark. It was a bit of an homage to Marilyn Monroe’s famous mole, situated on her lower left cheek initially. In later years her mole “reappeared” on her chin.

Moles of Beauty

Cindy Crawford’s renowned beauty followed suit with a mole that helped to make her famous. At 21-years-old, Dita Von Teese tattooed her own nod to Monroe on her left cheek. Chanel’s runway has featured models sporting black velvet mole face stickers in the designer’s C-logo.

The average width of a mole is ¼-inch. Some are smaller or larger, but anything larger than ¼-inch should be checked and monitored by a dermatologist. Given that 300 million Americans have at least one mole, this is a “trend” that has no choice but to stay. If you’re concerned about a mole, or have moles and need to begin an annual skin check, contact us today.

Skin Cancer Doesn’t Always Look the Same

Not only are there various types of skin cancer, but it can also present in different ways. Only an expert, like those in our clinic, can diagnose skin cancer and catch it early. Most people know that a “strange” looking mole might be a sign of skin cancer—but not necessarily. The ABCDs of moles (asymmetry, borders that are irregular, colors that aren’t consistent, and diameters that are large) are very broad definitions of what to watch out for. In reality, skin cancer might present as a perfectly normal looking mole, or with no mole at all.

It’s critical that skin cancer is caught as early as possible. Treatment for skin cancer in its early stages is fast and easy. However, as skin cancer progresses, it gets more deadly. Melanoma is the deadliest of any kind of cancer, and it might begin as a normal-looking mole.

Suspicious Activity

Dysplastic nevi, or precancerous moles, are often only identifiable by a dermatologist. Special technology can be used, such as skin mapping, to gauge whether a mole should be biopsied or not. Biopsies will dictate whether there is skin cancer, the type, and next steps. In the majority of cases, Mohs surgery can be used to completely remove the cancerous area. This approach requires just one appointment for the patient and minimal skin removal and scarring. Borders of the cancerous area are repeatedly removed and tested on-site to ensure every cancerous area is removed without needlessly causing large scars.

While it’s important to know the ABCDs of moles, it’s more important to establish an annual mole check appointment with your dermatologist. People with fair skin, a lot of moles, and/or a family history of skin cancer are at a higher risk, but anyone can be diagnosed with skin cancer. Those with virtually no moles or a lot of melanin can and do get skin cancer. To schedule your mole check, contact RefinedMD today by calling the office or filling out the online form.