Moles are common skin lesions. They are due to a proliferation of the pigment cells of the skin, called melanocytes. Moles are generally harmless in nature, but a skin cancer called melanoma may arise within a mole. Moles may be flat or protruding. They vary in color from pink or skin colored to dark brown or black. Although mostly round or oval in shape, they are sometimes unusual shapes. They range in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters in diameter.
Most moles arise during childhood or early adult life, and exposure to sunlight increases the number of moles. It is often helpful to keep photographic records of your moles by using a technique called mole mapping. These close-up photographs should be repeated from time to time. Dermoscopic views with a special hand held microscope enables us to detect change early. Careful sun protection, sun protective clothing, avoiding excessive sun exposure and use a SPF 30+ sunscreen is recommended. Patients with numerous moles should also perform a monthly self skin exam.