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Mole on woman's back.

Mole on woman's back.
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Moles

2-minute read

What are moles?

Moles are small, dark marks that appear on your skin. They are usually round or oval in shape and can sometimes be raised from the skin. Most people have about 50 moles.

Most moles are harmless but some types can develop into skin cancer. This is usually caused by long periods of exposure to the sun.

It is important to watch your moles to prevent skin cancer. Talk to your doctor if your mole changes or if you get a new mole after the age of 25.

If you have a mole you should:

  • avoid scratching or picking it – keeping children’s finger nails short and trimmed may help stop them scratching their moles
  • if your mole is in a vulnerable area where it could be knocked or scraped against something, you should try to protect it

Checking your moles

It’s important to look out for any changes to the shape, size and colour of your moles. Check your moles regularly and look out for the following:

  • changes to the size and shape of your moles
  • any changes to the colour of a mole – look out for moles that have several colours or shades
  • any bleeding, soreness, itching or inflammation
  • a crusty or flaky appearance developing
  • new moles which look different or unusual.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about your moles, why not use healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Last reviewed: August 2017

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Moles - ACD

Moles are normal overgrowths of pigment-producing cells called melanocytes. They are not normally present at birth but appear in childhood and early teenage years.

Read more on Australasian College of Dermatologists website

Atypical Mole - South East Skin Clinic

Atypical Mole (Atypical nevus) may be part of the Atypical Mole Syndrome with an increased risk of melanoma.

Read more on Skin Check website

Skin moles (benign pigmented lesions, melanocytic naevi) | myVMC

Benign moles (pigmented lesions) are harmless abnormalities of the skin. However they appear similar to cancerous moles which need medical attention.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Moles: children and teenagers | Raising Children Network

Moles look like small round spots of colour on your childs skin. Theyre common and mostly harmless. If youre worried about your childs moles, see a GP.

Read more on Raising Children Network website

Mole (Nevus) - South East Skin Clinic

Moles (Nevi) are ubiquitous - many people have lots of them & hunting for melanoma is the key.

Read more on Skin Check website

Kids' Health - Topics - Freckles and moles

If you are very fair skinned or you have red hair you are likely to have freckles or 'sun kisses' as they are sometimes called

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Parenting and Child Health - Health Topics - Freckles and moles

Freckles are small flat spots on the skin that are about the size of a pin head

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Screening for symptoms of skin cancer and cancerous moles | myVMC

Coming into the summer months, it is a good idea to have your skin checked for any suspicious lesions that may lead to skin cancer.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Combined Nevus - South East Skin Clinic

A combined nevus is two nevi in one - namely a "blue nevus" and a normal flattish brown nevus (mole)

Read more on Skin Check website

Spitz Nevus - South East Skin Clinic

Spitz Nevus is a type of rapidly growing mole usually found in children that causes concern because of its rapid appearance.

Read more on Skin Check website

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