Woman with Freckles
  • Moles are common. Almost every adult has a few of them. Adults who have light skin often have more moles. They may have 10 to 40 moles on their skin. This is normal. Some moles will darken, and others will lighten. If a mole starts to grow, itch, or bleed, make an appointment to see a dermatologist.

  • What's the difference between a mole and melanoma?

    People often want to know how they can tell a mole from a melanoma. Here is a general rule.

  • Mole
    A mole on your body usually has these traits. It's:

    • One Color—often brown, but a mole can be tan, black, red, pink, blue, skin-toned, or colorless

    • Round in shape

    • Flat or Slightly Raised

    • Unchanged from Month to Month

  • Although moles have a distinct look, they may not look alike. Even in the same person, moles can differ in size, shape, or color. Moles can have hair. Some moles will change slowly over time, possibly even disappearing. It's also important to know that moles can appear anywhere on the skin. They can develop on your scalp, between your fingers and toes, on the soles and palms, and even under your nails.

  • Melonoma
    The most-serious skin cancer differs from moles in that it tends to show one or more of the following traits:

    • A = Asymmetry. One half is unlike the other.

    • B = Border. An irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border.

    • C = Color. Is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown, or black; is sometimes white, red, or blue.

    • D = Diameter. Melanoma are usually greater than 6 mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.

    • E = Evolving. A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color.​

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