Nevuses, colloquially speaking moles, are benign skin lesions found in varying numbers in almost every individual. Moles can develop from epithelial cells of the skin (keratinocytes), cells that give color to the skin (melanocytes), sweat glands, sebaceous glands or vascular structures.
Moles differ in their clinical appearance, microscopic and structural features. They can be congenital or can develop later (acquired) according to the way they are formed. Although precise information about why we remove moles has not been found, it has been proven that sunlight has a role in the development of acquired moles. The number of moles in people is related to environmental factors, genetic characteristics and the structure of the immune system.
Congenital moles can develop from vascular structures, color cells or other skin structures. For example, nevi known as wine stains are of vascular origin. Congenital moles originating from epithelial cells of the skin are also present. They usually follow a linear line (linear epidermal nevus) and are benign. One of the most common congenital moles is “melanocytic nevi” originating from color cells (melanocytes). They can be less than 1 cm in diameter or large enough to cover large body areas. Regardless of the diameter, the surface of congenital melanocytic moles is raised from the skin and dark in color. Some contain hairs on them.
The most common acquired moles and the ones that cause diagnostic confusion most often consist of color cells (melanocytes). They are most commonly located in the head and neck region. They are usually 1-8 mm in diameter, dark or light brown, raised from the skin or may be on the skin surface. These moles have their own types as “Indeterminate Junctional, Dysplastic (Clark), Miescher and Unna Nevus. They begin to appear at the age of three to four years, and their number gradually increases with age. They are not expected to occur after the age of 20. Therefore, moles noticed after these ages should be examined. In addition, acquired melanocytic moles have a life cycle in the body. They first form on the surface of the skin, enlarge, expand and become puffy from the skin, and disappear after the age of 60 by losing their color cells.
In the clinical examination of moles, instruments called “dermoscopy” are used. This instrument is a microscope that allows the lesion to be examined on the skin surface to be magnified 10-40 times. The main purpose of dermoscopic examination; It is to determine whether a colored formation seen in the skin is from melanocytes (color cells of the skin). Because malignant melanoma, one of the most malignant cancers of the skin, also originates from color cells and can clinically mimic some types of melanocytic nevi. With dermoscopic examination, the type determination of nevi, the differential diagnosis from other benign skin formations and the risk of transformation of existing moles into melanoma are evaluated. In addition, colored formations consisting of structures other than color cells, for example; Seborrheic keratoses originating from sebaceous glands, age-related senile keratoses, vascular origin hemangiomas and other skin cancers are diagnosed with accuracy.
Traumas such as bleeding, discoloration, rupture of moles can cause changes in their nature. For this reason, it is important to follow up with dermatological examination and dermoscopic examination.