Here's how to spot the difference between a normal and a suspicious mole

Should we ever expose our moles to the sun?
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Here's how to spot the difference between a normal and a suspicious mole

It's time to talk about moles. No, not the cute little mammal with the massive paws - those cells in the skin that grow in a cluster together. 

Basically, it’s perfectly normal to be born with a few moles (on average we have 20 each), but it's crucial to identify a suspicious one out of those that are just there for the ride

So, how do you tell the difference? Grazia grilled Dr. Marwa Kamal - who specialises in Dermatology & Cosmetology at Medeor 24x7 International Hospital Al Ain - who says 'normal' moles are generally round and regularly shaped, whereas cancerous moles - also called melanomas - are most often irregularly bordered and/or increase in size over time. 

Grazia further learns that existing moles often develop into cancerous lesions due to excessive sun exposure without proper protection, so you can let your moles see the sun, just make sure they are kept safe from UVA and UVB rays.

Marwa adds, "Fair-skinned people should be extremely cautious with sun exposure. It should be limited and they should take precautions such as using hats and sunblock 30 minutes before exposure to the sun and every two hours after. People with fair skin have a higher risk of melanoma because they are more likely to burn in the sun and accrue the sort of DNA damage that can turn a healthy cell into a cancerous one."

What about her advice on using sunbeds? "Using a sunbed won’t prime your skin for safer sunbathing while on holiday, it will merely increase your exposure to UV light," she warns. Yikes. 

There's even an app you can download to self-check if your skin is healthy. Skin Vision allows you to take a photo of your moles and receive a risk assessment (low, medium or high) within 30 seconds. If high, you can be reviewed by their dermatologist for free.

Incredibly, the app has been proven to save lives after a woman discovered she had skin cancer after being sent a reminder to check a mole that the year before was assessed as malignant. 

Don't wait - if you're worried about a mole, go to the doctor. If they're concerned, you'll be referred to a skin specialist who will examine it and remove if necessary. This minor surgery is done with a local anaesthetic, and the wound is stitched up afterwards. Job done. 

Photos: iStock and supplied