Skip to main content

Are Moles Dangerous?

The good news is that most moles are totally harmless, or benign. The bad news is that moles can change over time. And these abnormal moles aren’t just a beauty blemish. They can be a sign of life-threatening cancer.  

At Manhattan Dermatology, our team of dermatologists screens, diagnoses, and manages moles for patients at our two Midtown East offices in New York City. We deal with problematic moles and the associated cancer risks quickly and effectively, working to ensure the health of you and your skin. 

Take a moment to learn more about moles and the signs of trouble. 

What do normal moles look like?

Moles are areas of pigmented skin and usually look like dark brown ovals or spots, though the color can vary. These clusters of pigmented cells are common, with most adults having 10-40 moles on their skin. 

Most moles are fairly small (less than a quarter of an inch across). While they can develop any time during your life, they usually appear in childhood or early adulthood. Moles come in all shapes and sizes and can be raised, flat, smooth, or wrinkled. 

These spots can exist anywhere on your body, can change appearance, and can even fade. While most moles are harmless, they can indicate certain skin cancers.      

When are moles dangerous?

Prominent moles may be aesthetically displeasing and raised moles might irritate you, but most moles aren’t dangerous. If you have a mole that appears quickly, transforms rapidly, bleeds, or is itchy, tender, or painful to the touch, it could be a sign of something more dangerous.   

Knowing what your normal moles look like and where they are on your body is the first step in identifying any problematic changes, including new, fast-growing moles. 

Abnormal moles are one of the hallmark signs of melanoma, a fast-growing form of skin cancer that can be deadly but is typically easy to treat when it’s spotted early.    

Since melanoma often first appears as a fast-changing or unusual-looking mole, it’s helpful to know what to look for when evaluating your moles. Using the alphabet and the ABCDEs of atypical moles, keep an eye out for these troublesome signs:

Routine skin cancer screenings with us at Manhattan Dermatology is the best way to catch problematic moles as early as possible. We can assess worrisome moles and remove them as needed at any time, even if you’re being seen for something other than a skin cancer screening.   

Don’t wait to contact us at Manhattan Dermatology if you have questions about your moles. Call our New York City offices in Murray Hill and Midtown East to schedule an appointment or book online now.

You Might Also Enjoy...

How Do I Know If My Mole Should Be Removed?

Are you wondering when a mole might need medical attention? If you have a mole that’s causing concern, discomfort, or simply making you self-conscious, keep reading for advice on when it’s time to consult with a skin expert.
Can I Get Botox® and Fillers at the Same Time?

Can I Get Botox® and Fillers at the Same Time?

Combining aesthetic treatments can enhance your results, and what better combination than Botox® and facial fillers? These noninvasive treatments work wonders on their own, and together they’re incredible. Take a moment to find out more.
My Acne Is Embarrassing: Can You Help?

My Acne Is Embarrassing: Can You Help?

Acne can be frustrating, and when it’s in visible places on your skin, it’s even embarrassing. Luckily, we know the best therapies for clearing acne, so take a moment to learn more about acne and how we treat it.

What Makes Fraxel® Laser Treatments Unique?

Overwhelmed by the number of aesthetic laser treatments available? Take a moment to learn why the Fraxel® Dual Laser System is unique and the reasons it might be the right therapy for your skin needs.
5 Tips to Make the Most Out of Botox® Treatments

5 Tips to Make the Most Out of Botox® Treatments

Botox® is one of the most popular noninvasive treatments for reversing the signs of aging. But did you know you can get even more out of your treatments? Here are our top tips for getting the most out of your Botox injections.

Does Psoriasis Run in Families?

If someone in your family has psoriasis, you might be wondering if this skin condition could also affect you. Keep reading to learn about the causes of psoriasis and how we can help if you or someone you love gets diagnosed.