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Moles

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.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Amy McMichael, MD - Dermatology
Last Revised October 12, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 12, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.