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What is Moles?

Moles are common skin growths resulting from a cluster of pigmented cells. They're usually brown or black and can appear anywhere on the skin, either alone or in groups. Most people have 10 to 40 moles, which often change gradually over time, changing color or becoming raised. Some may also develop hairs.
Statistics of Moles

Moles by the Numbers: A Statistical Snapshot

In 2018, 15,344 new cases of melanoma were diagnosed in Australia.
Between 1982 and 2018, the age-standardized incidence rate for melanoma increased by 103%.
In 2020, 1,401 people died from melanoma. [1]

Melanoma is not uncommon in people younger than 30, but the average patient age at diagnosis is 65. The risk of melanoma increases with age. [2]

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Ask an Expert, Dr. Vi Sharma

Medical Director | Gen.Reg- MED0001665706

Key Facts

Fast Facts On Moles

Moles, medically known as nevi, are common skin growths that can appear anywhere on the body. They typically form during childhood or adolescence and may change in appearance over time.
While most moles are harmless, some can develop into melanoma, a serious type of skin cancer. Regular self-examinations and dermatological check-ups can aid in early detection.
Genetics play a significant role in mole formation; individuals with a family history of atypical moles or melanoma have an increased risk. Sun exposure also contributes to mole development.
Normal moles are generally uniform in color and less than 6mm in diameter while atypical ones exhibit irregular borders, varied colors, larger size or changes over time.
If a mole is suspected to be cancerous or causes discomfort due to its location, it may be removed surgically by excision or shave removal methods.
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All You Need to Know About Moles

Understanding Moles: An Overview

Moles, also known as nevi, are common skin growths that can appear anywhere on the body. They are typically harmless and may vary in size, color, and shape. Moles develop when melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells in the skin, grow in clusters instead of spreading throughout the skin. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of moles, exploring their nature, general impact, and providing insights into their types, removal options, and skin health considerations.

Identifying the Types of Moles

Moles come in various types, each with distinct characteristics:

  • Common Moles: These moles are typically small, round or oval, and have an even color. They may be flesh-colored, pink, tan, or brown.
  • Atypical Moles (Dysplastic Nevi): Atypical moles often have irregular borders, uneven color, and may be larger than common moles. They can resemble melanoma, a potentially serious skin cancer.
  • Congenital Moles: These moles are present at birth and can vary in size. Larger congenital moles may carry a slightly increased risk of developing into melanoma.
  • Acquired Moles: Most moles develop after birth due to sun exposure and can appear throughout one’s life.

Causes and Risk Factors of Moles

The development of moles is primarily influenced by genetic and environmental factors:

  • Genetics: Family history plays a role in the number and types of moles an individual may have.
  • Sun Exposure: Excessive sun exposure, especially during childhood, can increase the number of moles and the risk of developing atypical or dysplastic moles.

Different Types and Stages of Moles

Moles can be categorized based on their appearance and characteristics but generally do not have distinct stages.

Diagnosis: How Moles are Evaluated

Moles are typically diagnosed through visual examination by a healthcare provider or dermatologist. Suspicious moles may be further evaluated through a biopsy to rule out skin cancer.

Treatment Options for Moles

Treatment for moles may be considered for cosmetic or medical reasons:

  • Mole Removal: Dermatologists can remove moles through various methods, including surgical excision, shave excision, or laser removal.
  • Biopsy: A mole may be biopsied to determine if it is cancerous. If cancer is detected, additional treatment will be required.

Prevention Strategies for Moles

While moles cannot be entirely prevented, the following strategies can help reduce their development and the risk of skin cancer:

  • Sun Protection: Minimize sun exposure and use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher when outdoors. Wear protective clothing, including wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses.
  • Regular Skin Checks: Perform self-examinations of your skin and consult a dermatologist if you notice any changes in the size, shape, or color of moles.
  • Avoiding Tanning Beds: Tanning beds can increase the risk of developing atypical moles and skin cancer.

Impact of Moles on Skin Health

Moles, in most cases, do not have a significant impact on skin health. However, monitoring moles and promptly addressing any changes is essential for early detection of skin cancer.

Long-Term Management of Moles

Managing moles typically involves regular skin checks and sun protection:

  • Regular Skin Checks: Continue to monitor moles and schedule periodic check-ups with a dermatologist.
  • Skin Cancer Prevention: Practicing sun safety and avoiding tanning beds is crucial to prevent the development of atypical moles and skin cancer.


In conclusion, understanding moles, their types, removal options, prevention strategies, and their impact on skin health is essential for maintaining overall well-being. It is essential to prioritize skin health and consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist for any concerns regarding moles or changes in the skin.

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General Questions for Your Doctor About Moles

Pre-Treatment Guidelines
Treatment Procedures
Post-Treatment Care
Recovery and Healing
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Follow-Up and Monitoring
Treatment Outcomes
Long-Term Management
Scarring and Skin Health
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In-Depth Research on Moles

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