Moles are a very common type of skin growth and can appear anywhere on the skin. Although they are typically brown, they can be pink, tan, black, or blue. Most moles are round or oval, and they can be flat or raised. The vast majority of moles are benign, but rarely moles can become a type of cancer called malignant melanoma.

What to watch for in moles

It is important to examine your moles on a regular basis. Here are some features of moles to notice.

An example of a irregular mole

A = Asymmetry

When one half of the lesion is unlike the other half.
An example of a irregular mole


An irregular, scalloped or poorly circumscribed border.
An example of a irregularly colored mole


When the color of the mole is varied from one area to another–shades of tan, and brown, black and sometimes white, red or blue.
An example of a irregular mole, larger than 6mm in diameter


While melanomas are usually greater than 6mm in diameter (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, they can be smaller.


Watch for a mole changing in size, shape, or color.
If you notice a mole that looks different from the others, have noticed changes within a mole, or if it begins to itch or bleed (even if it is small), you should see a dermatologist.

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