Basically, a skin mole is any type of abnormality on the skin. There are a number of different kinds of skin moles and they have different classifications as well as names. Most are harmless (though unsightly), but there are some that are not harmless and in fact can be cancerous. Skin melanoma is the most common form of cancer.
Common Skin Mole Types
The skin moles that are present at birth are benign and are called nevi. These are nothing more than a group of skin cells that have pigmented in one general area of the skin. There are also moles that are termed dysplastic nevi. These are irregular in texture, size and shape. Normally harmless, if they are overexposed to sunlight they can become cancerous. Seborrheic Keratoses is another form of skin mole that, in appearance, is almost similar to the texture of a wart and is black or brown in colour.
Uncommon Skin Mole Types
Pyogenic Granulomas is a mole that commonly appears after some type of injury. These normally will vanish over time but, if there is a need, they can be surgically removed. They are raised from the skin and are black or blue in colour. Round fleshy tissues or growths that have a consistency inside that is almost paste-like are called Keratoacanthomas. Both of these types should be checked by a physician to see if there is a risk of melanoma.
Rare Skin Mole Types
Keloids are usually smooth but can be quite big and normally forming in place of a healed wound. These are very rare and hard to treat unless corticosteroid injections are used which flatten them. The last method of removal is surgical. Dermoid cysts are actually more like tumours that are made up of bone and cartilage fragments. These are removed through surgery as well.
Warning signs that a skin mole may have become cancerous are when the mole begins to change or when one half of the mole is not like the other half. Other signs that something is not right could include ragged or irregular edges of the mole, mole colours that vary, and when the size of the mole is bigger than an eraser of a pencil.
Prevention is key in ensuring that skin moles do not become cancerous in the future. Limiting sun exposure, using sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB light, avoiding tanning booths, and making routine, monthly self exams of the skin and the moles are the best habits. The sooner that a problem is found, the easier it is to treat.