What are Moles?

Moles are a common skin condition in which a cluster of pigmented cells create a distinct skin growth. Most moles begin appearing during childhood and adolescence, and the average person has somewhere between 10 and 40 moles. The vast majority of these skin growths are harmless. In some circumstances, they can become cancerous. Watching moles on a regular basis for changes in shape or color is an essential component of skin care and wellness.

Signs and Symptoms of Moles

Most moles present as brown spots on the skin but they can come in various colors. Signs of a mole include:

  • An oval or circular spot on the skin that is a different color from the rest of the skin
  • A flat or raised spot on the skin
  • Usually less than a quarter-inch in size

In rare cases, moles can take the form of congenital nevi, much larger moles that can cover areas of the torso, face or limbs.

What Causes Moles?

All skin contains melanocytes, cells that produce melanin and give your skin its particular color. When moles are present, these melanocytes have grown in clumps. Most moles are not harmful, but when they begin to change size, color or texture, they can be an indication that a more serious medical condition such as skin cancer is present. Having more moles that most people can correlate with a higher risk of developing melanoma.

How Moles are Treated

Most moles are harmless but when they interfere with quality of life, patients can seek treatment. The most common way to treat a mole is to remove it via excision. Typically, this involves numbing the area and cutting the mole out along with a small portion of the healthy skin around it. This procedure can leave scarring or dips in the skin. Sometimes moles can grow back, in which case, a patient should consult with their doctor as soon as possible.

Suggested Treatment Options

All cases of moles are not the same, therefore we recommend seeing a specialist to help determine which treatment option is the best for you.


Dermoscopy is a technique for evaluating the subsurface of the skin and diagnosing affected areas and lesions. Learn More


A biopsy works by taking a small sample of tissue from a suspect area in the body so that it can be tested under lab conditions for certain diseases and disorders. Learn More


Excision is a minimally-invasive surgery technique used to remove moles, skin growths and lesions. Learn More

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