Medical Dermatology

Medical Dermatology

Moles

Most everyone has moles. Individuals with light skin tend to have more moles than those with darker skin. Moles tend to be dark in color, but they have a wide range of appearances.

At one time moles were considered fashionable, however, not all moles are beautiful. Probably the most important thing to know about moles is that melanoma (the deadliest type of skin cancer) can develop in or near a mole.

Each mole has its own pattern of growth. Many moles start as flat, tan, pink, brown or black in color - similar to a freckle. Sun exposure may darken moles.  Pregnancy and birth control pills can cause moles to become larger.

Still waiting for that spot to fade? Please get it checked!

Different Types of Moles

Studies have shown that certain types of moles have a high risk of becoming cancerous. Some may develop into a form known as malignant melanoma. Sunburns increase the risk of this type of skin cancer and people with many moles (more than 100) are also at a higher risk for melanoma.

It is important to recognize the early signs of malignant melanoma. Remembering the ABCD's of melanoma can be helpful when examining moles.

Below is an example of a normal mole.



Below are examples of moles that contain melanoma. (ABCD's)

A. Asymmetry
One half of the mole doesn't match the other half.

B. Border
The borders or edges of the mole are ragged, blurred, or even irregular.

C. Color
It's not the same or has shades of tan, brown, black, red,
blue or white.

D. Diameter
Diameter is 6mm or larger - about the size of an eraser on a pencil.

Still waiting for that spot to fade? Please get it checked!