Moles are a very common skin condition which practically affects every person on this planet. Adults as well as children develop them and babies too can be affected.

Babies develop birthmark moles - known by the medical term ‘congenital nevi’ which appear at birth. These occur in around 1% of babies.

Birthmark moles start life as small, flat spots which become bigger and slightly raised.

Types of moles

Moles come in all shapes and sizes. These range from small through to large, brown through to black, flat through to raised and smooth or hairy. Some moles are oval shaped whereas others are round. The colour of a mole is influenced by ‘melanocytes’: a group of cells which produce melanin. That is the pigment which gives your skin its colour and also determines if it will tan or not.

Moles can be pink, tan, brown or black in colour.

Some people have just a few moles but others have plenty which appear on various parts of their bodies.

Mole maintenance

There has been in recent years a raised awareness of the dangers of sun exposure and moles. Excessive sun bathing can lead to a form of skin cancer called malignant melanoma which is potentially fatal.

As a result of this people were encouraged to check their moles on a regular basis and use sun cream with a high sun protection factor. Now the good news is that malignant melanomas are very rare in babies and young children so no need to worry. If your baby has a mole or moles then keep an eye on them especially with birthmark moles as these do carry a slightly higher risk.

Another type of mole to keep an eye on is the ‘atypical mole’. This is an irregular shaped mole which is larger than a pencil rubber with an uneven colour and edges.

The risks of malignant melanoma or other forms of skin cancer in babies are very rare. But it is a good idea to get into the habit of checking your baby’s moles (and yours) regularly: especially if you spend quite a bit of time out of doors and/or are often exposed to the sun.

So what should you be looking for when checking your baby’s moles?

Medical experts have devised the following system for checking moles called the ‘ABCD’s of moles’ which is as follows:

  • A is for Asymmetry: does one half of the mole match the other half?
  • B is for Border: is the border (edge) of the mole ragged, irregular or blurred in any way?
  • C is for Colour: is the mole a solid colour or is it a mix of several colours, e.g. a mix of black and brown?
  • D is for Diameter: is the mole larger in size than a pencil eraser (usually about 6mm)?

So, if a mole is asymmetrical, has a ragged edge, is a mixture of several colours and larger than 6mm then seek medical advice. Do this as soon as possible.

Can you prevent sun damage to your baby’s moles?

Moles are largely determined by genes but there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of melanoma. These include:

  • Keep your baby out of the sun at the hottest time of the day
  • Apply a suncream or sunblock if your baby is 6 months or older.
  • Make sure that your baby wears a hat and a long sleeved top.
  • Place your baby in the shade.

These will reduce the risk of damage to your baby’s skin.

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