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Moles: Overview

What are moles?

Also called nevi

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.

Most moles appear on the skin during childhood and adolescence. Moles will grow as the child (or teen) grows. Some moles will darken, and others will lighten. These changes are expected and seldom a sign of melanoma, the most-serious skin cancer.

For adults, new moles and changes to existing moles can be a sign of melanoma. Caught early, melanoma is highly treatable.

Here are three facts that can help you find melanoma early and get treatment:

  • A change to a mole or a new mole is often the first sign of melanoma

  • You can find melanoma early by checking your own skin

  • If you see a mole or other spot that's growing, itching, bleeding, or changing in any way, immediately make an appointment to see a dermatologist

Changing moles

If a mole starts to grow, itch, or bleed, make an appointment to see a dermatologist.

Dermatologist perfoming skin exam

There are also times when a dermatologist should examine a child's mole. You'll find pictures and descriptions of moles on a child's skin that should be examined at, 5 signs your child's mole needs to be checked.

Image property of the American Academy of Dermatology.