Skin Care

What are moles?

A Answers (5)

  • AArthur Perry, MD, Plastic Surgery, answered
    Moles are the most common brown growth on the face. Everyone has dozens of moles on their bodies. Cancer occurs in 1 in 10,000 moles. Most are benign for life. However, if your mole is larger than the eraser on a pencil, has more than one color, has color that extends beyond the raised border of the mole, bleeds, itches, or has irregular borders, then you should show it to your dermatologist or plastic surgeon. These moles would likely be removed.
  • Moles are small blemishes on the skin that are dark because of a higher concentration of melanin. Melanin is the substance that gives color in skin. Moles that are small, symmetrical, and with even pigmentation are typically benign. However, if your mole has any new changes including shape, color, or size, then you should see your doctor for an evaluation.
  • AHealthwise answered

    A mole is a skin growth made up of cells (melanocytes or nevus cells) that produce color (pigment). Moles can appear anywhere on the skin, alone or in groups.

    Most moles appear during the first 20 years of a person's life. Some may not appear until later in life. Although most moles are harmless, some can become cancerous. Signs of skin cancer include a change in the skin, such as a growth, an irritation or sore that does not heal, or a change in a wart or mole.

    • Moles are usually brown, but they can be blue, black, or flesh-colored.
    • Size and shape may vary.
    • During the teen years and pregnancy, moles tend to become darker and larger, and new ones may appear.
    • Some moles may contain hairs, stay smooth, become raised or wrinkled, or fall off in old age.

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. To learn more visit

    © Healthwise, Incorporated.

  • AEllen Marmur, MD, Dermatology, answered

    There are three general types of moles. One type is a flat, dark brown spot (a benign melanocytic nevus), another is pigmented and slightly raised (a junctional nevus), and there are also flesh-colored bumpy moles (intradermal nevi). Robert Redford has intradermal nevi, Sarah Jessica Parker had a junctional nevus on her chin (which recently was surgically removed), Cindy Crawford has a junctional nevus near her lip, and Marilyn Monroe had a very famous benign melanocytic nevus. It's no wonder these are known as "beauty marks."

  • AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Moles are skin growths that develop from the skin's pigment cells (melanocytes). They may be dark brown, black, pink, or tan, and may be present at birth or develop during childhood or in adulthood. Most moles are not a problem. However, moles that grow larger, change in color, develop an irregular border, or hurt or itch should be reported to your dermatologist since these may be signs of skin cancer. See your dermatologist if you have any concerns about your moles.
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