It is common for individuals with lighter skin to have between 10 and 40 moles in various spots on the body. While it is often a good idea to familiarize yourself with the moles throughout your skin, typically the presence of moles does not indicate a health concern unless they begin to change.
At Steele Creek Dermatology, our experienced medical team will thoroughly evaluate moles that appear abnormal and deliver proper diagnosis and treatment options. Contact us today at our office in Charlotte, North Carolina to schedule a consultation.
What is a Mole?
Moles can appear anywhere on the body, from your scalp to the soles of your feet. They can even appear underneath your fingernails. While moles can be various sizes, shapes and colors and even have hair growing out of them, most of the time these traits are normal.
Knowing the characteristics of a normal mole is key in determining whether an appointment is necessary. The normal mole typically falls into these parameters:
- Round in shape
- Flat or slightly raised from the skin
- Often brown in color but sometimes black, tan, red, pink, blue, skin-toned or colorless.
- It looks the same from month to month
When an existing mole begins to change, or a new mole appears on the skin, it could potentially be an early sign of melanoma – a type of skin cancer that can grow near or inside of a mole. Detecting melanoma early can increase the success of treatment.
When Does a Mole Become Abnormal?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, determining whether your moles are changing is as easy as remembering ABCDE:
- Asymmetry – This occurs when one half of your mole is unlike the other half.
- Border – A normal mole is completely round. If the borders of your moles become scalloped, irregular or poorly defined, this is an abnormal characteristic.
- Color – While it is normal to have moles that different colors throughout your body, moles that are multi-colored with shades of tan, brown, black, white, red or blue are not common.
- Diameter – Moles that evolve in size and have a diameter greater than a pencil eraser, or six millimeters, may be a sign of a melanoma.
- Evolving – Moles that are noticeably changing in size, shape or color, or a mole that appears to be different from the others on your body should be closely observed.
The best way to know for sure if your moles are a cause for concern is to have them properly evaluated by our medical team. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.