Moths are commonly associated with the feared skin cancer, so many parents worry when those on the small body show size changes or new ones appear. But Dr. Laurentiu Vladau, a dermatologist specialist, says that children's moles pose risks only in very rare cases, making it natural for certain changes to be observed as the baby develops.
Generally, moles undergo a cycle of gradual change over about 50 years.
"Normally, at the time of their appearance they are flat and similar to freckles, then widen in time, become darker during adolescence, during pregnancy and exposure to the sun. Some of them develop hair and others become taller and lighter, "the dermatologist explains.
Kinds of moles in children
Moles in children may be present from birth, in this case being called congenital nevi. Very commonly, they develop in the first few months of life when pigment cells or melanocytes migrate to the surface in the case of congenital nevids born after birth or early years in the case of moles.
There are genetically engineered moles and inherited, called congenital melanocytic nevi. They can vary in size from a few millimeters to tens of centimeters.
"The appearance of moles is difficult to avoid in small ones because most are genetically determined. It is not uncommon for moles to appear later in childhood and adolescence. Later in life, they can be acquired as a result of the alteration of normal melanocytes produced by ultraviolet rays, but at the same time the lighter skin and the family history of moles predispose their development, "explains Dr. Laurentiu Vladau.
Baby moles – possible risks
Specialists say that children's moles are very rarely dangerous.
"Cold melanoma cases developed from pre-existing moles exist at an early age are exceptional. It is normal for the moles to increase in diameter as they grow up to the age of 16-18 years. However, changes in shape, color, appearance of surface irregularities should be evaluated by the clinical dermatologist and dermatoscopy, "says the dermatologist.
How do we protect and monitor the moles
The baby's skin is very permeable, so it is recommended to avoid chemical shampoos before 6 months. Until this age, small children can be protected from sunlight by physical methods, such as broad-bored hats, adequate clothing, avoiding sun exposure between 11-16 hours and using shadows when spending more time out in the months summer.
"A digital monitoring of moles can be started at any age, especially for children with many moles. Fully automated methods are less reliable due to the fact that the moles can often increase their diameter from one control to another. The dermatologist can easily distinguish between normal and suspicious changes, "says Dr. Laurentiu Vladau.
For the safety of the little one, an annual visit to the dermatologist is recommended if it has more than 25 moles or shows a family history of melanoma or another type of cancer. More frequent visits may be required if there are more than 50 moles, a history of abnormal moles or a genetic or immunological syndrome.
With regard to other types of skin cancer, both basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinomas are very rare in children and commonly occur only in patients with genetic syndromes. The prevention protocol is the same – regular skin controls and sun protection throughout the year.