As you age, it is only natural for your skin to go through changes. Wrinkles, fine lines, sagging skin and dry areas are all common complaints associated with ageing and are classed as inevitable. The sun can make the skin age more rapidly and exposure is associated with the appearance of new moles. The average Australian adult has somewhere between 10 and 40 moles on their body, but is it normal to get more moles as you get older?
Most moles appear before the age of 25 and 1% of babies are born with at least one of them. For those who have fair skin you may notice new moles appear more frequently, and the occurrence of moles may also be genetic. As we age there is still a chance of new moles appearing, especially when spending significant time in the sun. While not all new spots after the age of 25 will be cancerous, it is always important to monitor any skin changes. Moles can last for a number of years and may even have hairs growing from them.
New moles can be a reaction to exposure to the sun, and this can lead to melanoma which can be a fatal type of cancer, and is diagnosed in over 12,000 Australians every year. In addition to the sun, new moles may form due to hormonal changes such as pregnancy. Teenagers may also notice an increase in the number of moles found on their bodies. As you age, it is not uncommon for moles to disappear or become lighter.
You have probably heard of the term “age spot” or “liver spot”, but in fact the technical name for these are “solar lentigines”. Just like moles, they are often triggered by sun exposure, but are something which generally occur more frequently with age. The major difference between a mole and an age spot is a mole is generally raised, while an age spot is flat in appearance. Age spots most commonly appear on sun exposed areas such as the face, hands and arms while moles could be anywhere on the body.
Moles with an unusual appearance should be monitored, and we recommend regular skin and mole checks for anyone who has skin concerns. Rapid changes such as transforming in shape and size, fuzzy edges, itchiness or bleeding are all signs you should be consulting with an expert. As melanoma is something which can develop quickly, the sooner you have your mole assessed the better the outcome will be.
The occurrence of new moles forming can be reduced by committing to sun safe practices. Avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day and remember to slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek shelter and slide on a pair of sunnies! By caring for your skin in our harsh Australian climate you will not only be reducing your risk of skin cancer, but you will be slowing down the appearance of ageing.
If you haven’t had a skin and mole check recently, now is the time. At My Skin Centre we have clinics throughout the Perth area and our friendly and experienced staff will be able to give you peace of mind that your skin is as healthy as it should be.
With multiple locations throughout Perth and the South West there is a clinic near you!