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Moles and What to Look For

Congenital Mole
A mole that appears on the skin at birth or shortly after and is dark and irregularly-shaped.

Atypical Mole
A mole with an irregular color (not black or brown) and undefined borders.

Port-Wine Stain
A dark red, flat birthmark that has an irregular shape, similar to the way wine would splash if spilled.

Mongolian Spot
With a bluish hue, these moles are typically flat and irregularly-shaped. They also commonly disappear in early childhood.

This type of birthmark is typically a bright red color because it is caused by extra blood vessels in the skin. It can form as a patch or raised dots.

Salmon Patch
Reddish in color, this type of birthmark typically appears on the upper eyelid. When on the face, salmon patches usually disappear in early childhood.

Cafe-au-lait Spot
As the name suggests, this type of mole is a light brown patch on the skin. It is commonly referred to as a birthmark, but is not present at birth; rather, these spots can form several years after birth.

Mole Monitoring and Treatment

Moles are typically benign and don’t require treatment; however, depending on the location, size, and color of the mole, many individuals wish to have them removed. Mole removal is a simple procedure that rarely leaves a mark.

If you notice a mole change suddenly in color, size, or shape, it’s best to have it looked at right away by your dermatologist. Changes in moles can be a sign of cancer, so your dermatologist will examine and test the mole. If it is not cancerous, your dermatologist will still want to keep an eye on the mole and will recommend applying sunscreen and minimizing direct sun exposure to that area.

Your dermatologist will want to monitor any mole that fits the following criteria:

  • A size larger than 6 millimeters
  • Itching or bleeding
  • Sudden change in the color, size, or shape
  • Multicoloration
  • A location in a difficult-to-monitor area such as on your back or scalp