Beauty marks? Cancer spots? Why are those dark spots popping up on your body? For some people, playing connect the dots becomes a real possibility as moles spring up seemingly from out of nowhere over time.We see them on the faces of people like Morgan Freeman and, then, voila, we reach 30, and start to see them on our flesh.  As we age, some of us may be more susceptible to moles thanks to ultraviolet exposure in our childhood or genetic predisposition.  Did you know that not using sunscreen as a child could be the reason you have moles in your 20s?We spoke to Dr. Douglas Altchek, a Diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology (ABD), the owner of skincare line, and a clinical professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, on how to prevent and treat moles — and why you should always wear a hat.

What skin types are more prone to moles?

Almost all people get moles, which is determined by a combination favor: NEVUS cells that are present at birth, which become slightly altered during life, and some grow or proliferate from genetic influences, and environmental agents. But, principally, moles form due to ultra light exposure.  [For example], people with moles over the body [rarely] have them in the bikini area

.So are parts of your body safe if there is no ultraviolet exposure?

Some people will form moles with or without sun exposure. It’s possible that some people will develop moles on non-exposed areas. Sunlight is not the only factor for developing moles. Generally, you’ll find moles on areas that have sun exposure.

Is there a difference between moles and freckles?

A mole is usually a slightly darkened bump on the skin, and a freckle is a brownish or darker or very flat area on the skin — sometimes it’s reddish. Freckles and moles are both influenced by sun exposure. Freckles are usually flat, and high up in the epidermis, while moles can be deep in the epidermis.

Are there steps we can take to decrease moles?

The most important thing is protect yourself from ultraviolet exposure. You can do that by using sunscreen and protective clothing, which should start at a very early age. Most of the sun exposure experienced during childhood can have a big effect later in life because the ultraviolet exposure you’re having this summer is not going to show up on your skin for 20 to 30 years.

What type of sunblock should you wear?

Sunblock that is at least 30 SPF and waterproof is best. Considering getting a product that protects and corrects sun damage.

When should should a mole concern you?

Use the A-B-C-D-E rule of thumb when checking moles:A for asymmetryB for borderC for color (black blue and brown)D for diameterE for evolving and taking on a different appearanceIn general, any irregular dark mole that is changing in shape or bleeding should be immediately looked at by a dermatologist.

Can moles be removed?

For someone predisposed to these lesions, you really want to be thorough and not leave one returned. Some have susceptibility, and many have the potential for turning into melanoma. If you are able to get an early start, you can save a person’s life.Dermatosis papulosa nigricans are in general totally benign lesions that are more common in people of color, but can occur in people not of color. Sometimes they can be easily removed, but these have to be done by experts — someone that has treated thousands of them. If you remove too deeply, you will usually end up with scarring.

What are some daily preventative measures?I would advise exfoliation, daily moisturiser with sunblock and glycolic acid, protective clothing, and use of hats. This should decrease the number of moles formed in a lifetime and greatly diminish the possibility of developing skin cancer.

Why hats?

People generally apply sun block to the eyes and face but rarely to the scalp. I recommend a broad rim panama style hat for sun protection.  It’s very important. It’s a tremendous advantage to protect your scalp and large parts of the face. It will keep the sun off the nose, which is highly vulnerable. Behind the ears is an area where we.routinely find skin cancer and the neck is a common area. Wear a hat in combination with sun block.

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