Have you ever wondered if you have a mole or blackhead?
Moles and blackheads are two common skin concerns that can cause frustration, embarrassment, and insecurity. Though they are often confused with one another, they are quite different.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what a mole and blackhead are, how to tell them apart, how to know a cancerous mole, and more. Let’s get started.
What is a mole?
A mole is a small black or brown skin growth that develops when melanocytes (cells that produce melanin pigment) grow in clusters.
They can be flat (uncommon) or raised (more common). Moles are most commonly found on the face, neck, back, arms, and legs. They can also occur on other parts of the body, such as the hands, feet, or genitals.
The color of moles varies from light brown to black and may be smooth, warty, or bumpy. They don’t hurt or itch and don’t bleed if cut or scratched.
Moles are usually benign (non-cancerous), but some types of moles may be cancerous. If you find a mole suspicious for any reason, see a doctor immediately to find out if it’s cancerous.
What is a blackhead?
A blackhead is a small, black bump that forms on the skin when a pore becomes clogged with oil, dirt, and dead skin cells.
It appears most frequently on the nose, cheeks, and forehead, although it can appear anywhere on the body.
Blackheads are a common problem, particularly in people with oily skin, who produce more oil than other skin types. Although they’re harmless, blackheads can be annoying and make the appearance of your skin unappealing.
If you are concerned about a blackhead, it is important to consult a dermatologist to get a professional opinion.
How to know if it’s a mole or a blackhead
There are a few ways to tell if you have a mole or a blackhead.
Look at the size
Moles can be as large as 1/4 inch (about 6cm) wide, while blackheads are usually the size of a pinhead.
Feel your skin
If you feel your skin and find that it’s warty, this may be an indication that you have a mole. If your skin feels a little bumpy and oily, you’re probably dealing with a blackhead.
Check the color
Another way to know if what you have on your skin is a mole or blackhead is by looking at the color. Moles are usually brown or black, while blackheads are generally black.
Inspect the shape
Moles can be flat or raised, with round or irregular shapes. On the other hand, blackheads are flat and have a round shape with a small plug at the top.
Check the visibility
Moles are usually visible, while blackheads may be hard to see on the skin.
Area of growth
Moles can grow anywhere on your body, but they’re more commonly found on the face or neck.
Blackheads can also appear anywhere on the body, but they’re more common around the hairline and nose areas because of the high concentration of oil in these areas.
Can a blackhead turn into a mole?
No, a blackhead cannot turn into a mole.
However, if you leave it untreated for a long time, a blackhead can get infected and turn into a pimple or other skin condition.
To prevent this, you should see a dermatologist immediately to have them removed professionally. If that is not an option for you, you can remove blackheads at home with these easy tips on how to remove blackheads.
Are moles cancerous?
Moles are usually benign, meaning they are not cancerous. However, in some cases, moles can become cancerous.
If you have a mole or several moles on your skin and you have concerns about them, see your doctor for a physical examination and follow-up visits as needed.
How do you know if a mole is cancerous?
It’s darker than usual.
If your mole is getting darker or changing to a different color, like red or purple, it may be cancerous.
Another way to determine if a mole is cancerous is to check the size. A cancerous mole will change size or shape over time.
Furthermore, if you have a mole that has an uneven border or is bleeding or crusting over, it’s probably cancerous. You should see your doctor immediately to find out what’s happening and how to stop it from spreading.
A doctor may:
- Listen to your concerns about your mole or any other skin growths
- Look at your moles under a magnification device to determine whether they are cancerous or not
- Remove any suspicious moles for close examination by a pathologist (a doctor who studies tissue).
- Recommend treatments or refer you to another doctor who specializes in treating cancer.
What else can be mistaken for moles?
Warts are small, hard, dome-shaped growths on the skin caused by human papillomavirus [HPV]. They can occur anywhere on the body, but they’re most common on hands and feet, face, neck, and groin areas.
Freckles are small brown spots that occur as a result of sun exposure, genetics, and other factors. They vary in size and shape and occur when certain pigment cells in the skin become more active and begin to deposit more pigment.
Scars are a type of tissue growth that occurs where the skin has healed after an injury and they’re often painless. You can treat them with over-the-counter creams that contain retinoids such as tretinoin or retinol.
Basal cell carcinoma
This is a type of skin cancer that appears as a round or oval-shaped bump. It is very common in people under 40 years old and can lead to death if not treated properly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are blackheads dangerous?
Blackheads are not dangerous.
However, they may be unsightly and can get larger if you have many of them. They can also cause pimples and other skin infections if they get infected with bacteria.
How quickly do cancerous moles develop?
Cancerous moles can develop quickly in as little as a few weeks.
However, they can also take years to develop. If you notice any cancerous mole on your skin, it’s best to consult a doctor right away.
How long does a blackhead last?
The average blackhead will last for around one to two weeks.
Nevertheless, some people may get blackheads that last for months or even years.
If you have a blackhead that doesn’t seem to go away, it’s important to see a dermatologist to make sure it’s not something else.
What causes moles to suddenly appear?
Certain factors, such as sun damage, hormonal changes, or genetics, can cause a mole to suddenly appear on the skin.
If you notice a new mole on your skin and are concerned about it, you should see a dermatologist.
How do you extract a blackhead?
You can extract a blackhead by placing a comedone extractor tool over the blackhead and applying gentle pressure.
You should see the blackhead coming out without too much pain or resistance. If you feel pain or resistance, stop and see a dermatologist.
Though they are often confused for one another, a mole and a blackhead are quite different.
Moles are usually harmless growths on the skin that are made up of melanocytes, which are cells that produce melanin. Blackheads, on the other hand, are clogged pores that have become filled with oil, dead skin cells, and dirt.
While both moles and blackheads can be unsightly, they are usually not a cause for concern. However, if you are concerned about a mole or blackhead, you should see a doctor or dermatologist for an evaluation.
Thanks for reading.
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