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There are hundreds of different skin conditions that are not cancerous, and will never turn cancerous. These are called non-cancerous. Some of them may look very similar to cancerous or pre-cancerous conditions (conditions that could turn into cancer). These are the most common conditions that may cause concern, but are nothing to do with cancer:
Freckles are small, light brown spots that usually appear in clusters on skin that has been exposed to sun. They are very common in fair-skinned people. They are caused by an increase in the skin pigment called melanin. Freckles are not caused by an increase in the cells that make the pigment. This means that there is no risk that a freckle will turn into melanoma. However, people with a tendency to freckle do have a slightly higher risk of developing melanoma.
Haemangiomas are formed by the harmless growth of blood vessels. They are sometimes called strawberry spots or port wine stains.
Moles are very common, and most types of moles are completely harmless. Moles are evenly coloured brown spots that feel smooth and look regular in shape. They may be present from birth, or acquired over the first two decades of life. A new mole in someone over 20 (or changes to an existing mole) needs to be looked at closely. It may be the start of a melanoma.
The medical name for a mole is naevus (plural naevi).
Seborrhoeic keratoses are rarely seen in people under 40 years old, and become more common with advancing age. They are tan, brown or grey to black in colour, and have a waxy, raised, stuck-on look. They vary in size from 1cm up to 5cm across. Because of their appearance they may be mistaken for melanoma. However, they come from skin cells called keratinocytes, not pigment cells (melanocytes), and will never turn in to melanoma.