With spring now here, there is a noticeable change in the air. It’s starting to warm up, marking the fact that the sunny days are bound to become plentiful. Now, let’s be honest. What is the first thing that comes to mind when the winter transitions into spring? For most of us, it’s the idea of basking in the sun more often. Considering that spring follows the coldest month of the year, it stands to reason that the advent of spring encourages the disrobing of more of our garments.
Of course, spring isn’t summer. Not every day is going to present shorts and t-shirts weather. Nevertheless, because of our need to ditch the winter gear, it’s important for us all to be mindful of just how much extra skin we are exposing to the sun’s harmful UV rays. One of the most significant signs that you’ve had too much sun is the presence of moles on your skin. For the most part, the presence of moles is a hereditary thing. But what causes them to grow and develop more significantly?
You guessed it – sun exposure. According to Sarah Siddons of HowStuffWorks.com, the melanin in our skin – which is responsible for its natural pigment – is produced by cells known as “melanocytes”. “When exposed to the sun, melanocytes produce more melanin, darkening the skin with a suntan,” she writes, “when melanocytes don’t distribute evenly and instead grow in clusters, moles form.”
Siddons goes on to note that while moles can form anywhere on the body, they tend to grow most often in the areas that we expose frequently to the sun. They include our hands, arms, chest, neck and face. Evidently, we should all be taking measures to keep those areas as protected from the sun as possible. Sunscreen would be the first and perhaps, most obvious recommendation. But as the spring begins and inevitably becomes summer, it also pays to find some shade.
Dr. Gary Cole of MedicineNet.com agrees. “Skin with more sun exposure tends to have more moles,” he writes, “However, moles may also occur in sun-protected areas like the palms, soles, and genitals.” He goes on to support the need for either avoiding the sun or protecting yourself from it. This is especially important during the times of the day when the sun is at its brightest. This is generally between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Are some people more prone to developing moles than others? Dr. Cole explains that “many people with blond or red hair and green or blue eyes are more prone to these types of skin growths.” As mentioned earlier, genetics do play a part in the entire mole developing process. He notes that people who are prone to freckles are more commonly known to develop moles, especially if they have very light complexions.
Again, protecting your skin during the warmer months of the year when you are tempted to sunbathe is very important. Regardless of genetics, you can still develop moles if your skin isn’t protected. In fact, Dr. Cole notes that many people develop moles later in life. “While many moles arise in the first years of life, the total number of moles typically peaks in the second or third decade of life to an average of 35,” he reveals.
At the Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre, we have a certifiable solution to the mole problem! The VariLite laser allows for the safe and effective treatment of moles, in addition to small red blood vessels, skin tags and other pigmented skin spots. As well, this laser is known to improve the look of very fine spider veins of the legs. For more information, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 403-358-5818.