Article What to Know About New Moles After 60

Medically Reviewed by Carmelita Swiner, MD on April 07, 2023
4 min read

Moles show up on the skin where pigment cells grow in clusters. Most adults have some common moles, but they often fade by the age of 40. Changing moles or growing a new mole after age 60 can be a sign of skin cancer.

Moles are flat or raised patches of discoloration in your skin. You can be born with moles, or you can get moles later in childhood. Most moles don’t hurt or itch and are not a type of cancer. These are called common moles and they can have any of the following characteristics:

  • Flat
  • Raised
  • Smooth
  • Rough
  • Symmetrical
  • Round
  • Oval
  • Hair growing out of them
  • Skin-coloured
  • Pink
  • Brown
  • Black, in people with darker complexions‌

Your moles can be on any part of your body, and sometimes they can change if your hormones change. Some women might notice they get darker during pregnancy. Moles can sometimes last throughout your life, but common moles fade over time.

Atypical moles are bigger than common moles and are often more than one color. They might have different shapes and edges and usually are on skin that’s regularly exposed to the sun. They usually don’t grow into cancer. If you have atypical moles, you should still check your skin often for new moles or moles that change. 

Your skin changes as you get older. It becomes thinner, dryer, and can take longer to heal. Years of tanning or being out in the sun can cause wrinkles, age spots, and even cancer.  

Most moles don’t cause health problems, but sometimes they can turn into skin cancer. Some changes in moles that can be signs of skin cancer include:

  • A new mole
  • Itchiness
  • Bleeding mole
  • Different colors
  • Larger than normal
  • Irregular shape
  • A scab or sore that won’t heal
  • Scaly or crusty patch
  • Pain

People who have more than 50 moles might be at risk for getting skin cancer. People who spend lots of time in the sun are more at risk for getting skin cancer, too.

If you’ve had the mole for a long time, it might not cause cancer. Most cases of a type of skin cancer called melanoma don’t come from moles you’ve had for a long time. It’s best to have your doctor look at your skin to rule out any problems.

Some people might be more likely to get skin cancer from moles. These include people who:

  • Have lots of freckles and moles
  • Have a family member who has had skin cancer
  • Have red or blonde hair
  • Have pale skin that burns easily
  • Have had a severe, blistering sunburn
  • Have had skin cancer before
  • Use tanning beds
  • Are in the sun a lot
  • Take certain medicines that cause sunburn 

It's important to know what's normal for your skin and keep an eye out for new moles that may emerge. To maintain healthy skin, follow these helpful tips:

Check your skin once a month. Look for new moles or changes in your moles and check the “ABCDEs”. These are:

  • Asymmetry: Does one side of the mole look different than the other?
  • Borders: Are the edges of the mole jagged or blurred?
  • Color: Does the mole have different colors?
  • Diameter: How big is the mole? Is it bigger than a pencil’s eraser?
  • Evolving: Has the mole changed how it looks over time?

Wear sunscreen. Sun protection is important for your skin. Wear sunscreen and stay in the shade as much as you can. You can get a sunburn easily as your skin changes with age. 

See your doctor. Take note of any changes in your skin and see your doctor if you notice anything different. You can take pictures to compare so your doctor can see the difference.

Have your mole removed. If you have a mole that doesn't look right, your doctor might want to remove it. They will do minor surgery and test the mole to see if it has cancer cells. Do not try to remove a mole on your own. 

Moles that you’ve had for a long time or since you were a child usually don’t cause problems. If you have moles that are new or have changed, you should see a doctor.‌

You can’t always prevent skin cancer, but early treatment with surgery can be more successful than when it's detected later. Skin cancer that is diagnosed in a late stage can spread to other parts of your body.

You should closely watch your skin and see your doctor regularly if you have:

  • Had skin cancer before 
  • A family member who has skin cancer
  • Lots of moles
  • Been in the sun a lot