Moles or "nevi" and other birthmarks are common, often pigmented skin growths that may or may not be a health risk.
They are typically brown, but can also be red, pink, black, purple, tan, skin-colored or colorless. The pigmented color is caused by melanocytes, which are cells in the skin that produce pigment. Moles are generally round and may be flat or slightly raised. Moles should not change in size or shape over time. If you notice that you have multiple moles, and/or any of your lesions change color, shape, size, texture, starts to bleed or evolve, you should advise the dermatologist.
While most moles do not require medical attention, a dermatologist can remove a mole that the patient finds unattractive, that causes discomfort (i.e. rubs against clothing) or which looks suspicious. Suspicious moles could indicate cancer.
Suspicious moles have one or more of the following traits:
If you have any concerns about a mole, schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified dermatologists immediately.
Moles are developed when cells that produce pigment, known as melanocytes, grow in clusters or clumps. Melanin is what gives color to your skin.
Almost every adult has at least a few moles. Most people have a common mole, which is a harmless type. There are other types of moles. Some things increase a person’s risk for getting melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Some of these include:
There are also different types of moles that are known to be more susceptible to develop into melanoma. These types are:
Most people have at least a few moles on their body. A mole on your body has these traits:
A dermatologist will remove a mole by surgical excision or shaving if it: