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Have moles on head. Are these harmless and can they turn into melanomas?

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Emergency Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 2006
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I'm wondering if need to worry about my moles, i have 5 on my head but they are all under 6mm and i cover them in sunscreen when im in the sun. I've heard moles hardly ever turn into melanomas and are generally harmless is this true.
Posted Thu, 21 Feb 2013 in General Health
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sheeba Stephen 3 hours later
Hello and welcome to Healthcare Magic. Thanks for your query.

Yes, what you've heard is true. Moles are generally harmless and very rarely turn into melanomas.

Moles are of two types - common moles and abnormal moles or dysplastic nevi. Most adults have between 10 and 40 common moles. These are usually found above the waist on areas exposed to the sun. Common moles hardly ever turn into melanomas.

Abnormal moles or dysplasic nevi have a relatively higher risk of turning into a melanoma. The features of an abnormal mole are:
- size > 5mm
- irregular edges
- rough, pebbly or scaly surface
- sudden changes in size
- bleeding or oozing form the area
(Even if you have an abnormal mole, it doesn't mean you'll develop a melanoma - it just means that your risk is higher)

So, you don't have to worry about your moles, unless they undergo a sudden change in size or color or texture or start bleeding or oozing.

Wish you good health.

Regards,
Dr. Sheeba Stephen
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Have moles on head. Are these harmless and can they turn into melanomas? 13 minutes later
thankyou very much for your reply - most of my moles are raised, is this normal?
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sheeba Stephen 52 minutes later
Hello again,

Moles being raised is quite normal, as long as their surfaces are not hard or pebbly or scaly.

Regards,
Dr. Sheeba Stephen
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Have moles on head. Are these harmless and can they turn into melanomas? 20 minutes later
alright thanks a lot, is there a way to gauge the hardness i know they dont seem scaly or pebbly. thanks for your advice
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sheeba Stephen 4 hours later
Hello again,

A hard consistency would be similar to touching the back of your folded elbow joint or touching a rough wall. More significant than the degree of hardness is the irregular surface and texture (which you don't seem to have). So, I think you need not worry about this.

Regards,
Dr. Sheeba Stephen
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Have moles on head. Are these harmless and can they turn into melanomas? 4 days later
i've been reading more about moles and their cycles, is it true that in the last cycle moles lose their colour and ability to become malignant. as the majority of the moles i was worried about previously are flesh coloured and small.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sheeba Stephen 14 hours later
Hello,

Though it is true that moles tend to fade away with age, it is not true that pale or flesh-coloured moles indicate that they are in their last cycle and are going to disappear.

The colour, size or shape of moles depends on two factors:

1) The proportion of pigment cells (called "melanocytes") in the the mole. This determines the colour - black, dark brown, pink, flesh-coloured, etc.

2) The part or layer in the skin where the nevus cells originate from - epidermis, or dermis, or the junction between these two layers, etc. This often determines the size and shape.

However, like I had mentioned before, even, flesh-coloured moles, mostly small in size are quite normal and benign (harmless). So, you can put your worries to rest completely.

Regards,
Dr. Sheeba Stephen
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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