Treatable Condition

Medical Dermatology


Moles are common skin growths caused by a cluster of pigmented cells. Moles can occur in a range of colors, but are most often small, brown spots.


About the Moles

Although most moles are harmless, they can sometimes develop into cancer and should be closely monitored for changes. Moles often appear in childhood and can continue to develop into adulthood. Most people have between 10 and 40 moles.


  • What are the types of moles?
    Moles can be classified as regular and irregular,. Regular moles are benign and usually symmetrical with uniform color. They may be flat or raised.
    Irregular moles, known medically as dysplastic nevi, are unusual-looking with irregular features. They are most often flat. Having atypical moles can increase your risk of Melanoma, a dangerous type of skin cancer.
  • Do I need to check my moles?
    Regular self exams and annual professional checkups are recommended to detect any changes in moles that could indicate cancerous cell growth. Not all skin cancer develops from pre-existing moles, so watch for new skin growths and other changes as well.

    When examining moles, use the ABCDE method to identify features that could indicate cancer:

    1) Asymmetry.
    2) Borders.
    3) Color.
    4) Diameter.
    4) Evolving.
  • Can a mole be removed?
    If you have a mole that appears suspicious, your doctor will likely take a sample of tissue from the mole and examine it for cancer. If cancerous cells are found, the entire lesion and some of the surrounding tissue will be removed.

    Although regular moles do not need to be treated, many people elect to have them removed for aesthetic reasons. Regular moles can be removed through surgical cutting or shaving.

"The skin is your best outfit — you just need to know how to take care of it."
Miriam Casal, MD

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