New research published in the British Journal of Dermatology suggests that having more than 11 moles on one arm indicates a higher-than-average risk of skin cancer.
Because melanoma develops from abnormal moles, how many moles you have may be a good indicator of how at-risk you are of developing skin cancer. Having more than 100 moles on one arm, for example, means you're at five times the normal risk.
So doctors could use the number of moles on patients' right arms to first, predict the number of moles on the whole body, and second, predict their level of risk for melanoma.
Don't freak out just yet, though...
If you've got speckled arms, keep in mind that a freckle and a mole are different. Some tips for telling them apart:
+ Freckles are usually small and pale brown, often temporary, and are usually linked to sun exposure.
+ Moles are small colored spots on the skin made up of cells called melanocytes, which produce the pigment in your skin.
+ Moles are long-lasting and are not directly linked to sun exposure (but excess sun exposure will increase your risk of skin cancer and can make a mole turn malignant).
+ Moles can be flat, raised, smooth or rough and may have hair growing out of them.
+ They are usually brownish in colour and are circular or oval with a smooth edge.
+ Most moles are completely harmless.
+ If you notice any changes to your moles or a worried about them, talk to a doctor. Look for uneven coloring, uneven or ragged edges, bleeding, itching, or enlargement.
SHARE this with friends who are concerned about skin cancer – they may need to consult a doctor!
And in the meantime, remember to wear sunscreen and avoid getting sunburned!