When Should You Be Worried About a Mole?

On average, everyone has at least 10 moles on their skin, but not more than 40. In most cases, moles are common in people by the age of 20 and can emerge anywhere on your body. They are typically determined by your genetic makeup, though exposure to harmful rays of the sun can cause more and darker moles. During your youthful years or when you become pregnant, you are likely to develop new moles, and the existing ones will get darker and larger. Let us look at when moles could be harmful and the possible treatments for a mole in New York.

Common Types of Skin Moles

A mole normally appears as a tiny, brownish spot on the skin, but it can appear in different shapes, colors, and sizes. Depending on when it developed and its appearance, a mole can be classified as:

  • Atypical moles. Atypical moles, also known as dysplastic nevi, consist of irregularly shaped borders and are much larger than a pencil eraser. These moles are often uneven in color, with a brownish center. Moreover, the borders of atypical moles appear lighter or reddish in color, with uneven black dots around the edge.
  • Congenital moles. When a mole appears at birth, it is called a congenital nevus or congenital mole. Approximately 1% of people worldwide have congenital moles.
  • Acquired moles. Acquired moles often appear during early adulthood or childhood and are responsible for most cases of moles. Acquired moles are believed to be triggered by continuous sun exposure.

Signs You Should See Your Doctor About A Mole

Once you notice an unusual mole on your skin, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider since it could be an early indicator of malignant melanoma, a life-devastating form of skin cancer. You are also advised to frequently examine your skin for any signs of new moles or changes in the existing moles you already have. The following are some of the common signs of malignant melanoma:

·         Asymmetry: You should look out for any changes in the shape, pigment, or texture of your mole from one half of the mole to the other.

·         Border: Look out for rough edges, uneven formations, or lack of clarity between the edge of your mole and the surrounding skin.

·         Diameter: Melanomas are usually less than 6 mm in diameter. So, If your mole is larger than this, you should have it checked out.

·         Color: Most non-cancerous moles appear as a single shade of brown. But, if the mole shows several colors, this could be a warning sign of melanoma.

·         Evolving: Non-cancerous moles don’t usually change their appearance or shape. Therefore, if one of your moles begins to evolve, you may want to consult with your doctor.

Diagnosing Abnormal Moles

During the diagnosis of an abnormal mole, your dermatologist will recommend a biopsy to examine your cells for any signs of skin cancer. Generally, the surgical or medical removal of a mole is performed in the doctor’s office.


Moles are generally harmless until you notice them changing in color, shape, or size. For the diagnosis of your abnormal moles, feel free to visit us at the Manhattan Dermatology in Midtown East and New York City’s Murray Hill. Our highly trained general and cosmetic dermatologists will assess the immediate cause of your moles and remove them before they become harmful.  For your dermatology appointment, schedule an appointment online or call the office today.