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How Do I Know If My Mole Should Be Removed?

Have you ever caught a glimpse of a mole on your skin and wondered if it's something to worry about? You're not alone. Moles are common, but understanding when they might need medical attention is important for your health.  

At Manhattan Dermatology with two offices in New York City, our dermatologists specialize in helping patients with moles and skin conditions of all kinds better understand their skin. 

Keep reading to explore what moles are and the signs that suggest it might be time to have them checked or removed.  

What are moles?

Moles, medically known as “nevi,” are common skin growths. They can appear anywhere on your body and are usually brown or black. 

Most people have 10-40 moles by adulthood, and they might change in appearance or even disappear over time. Moles form when skin cells, called melanocytes, grow in clusters instead of being spread throughout the skin. 

While most moles are harmless, keep an eye on them for the sake of your skin health.  

What are signs I should be concerned about my moles?

There’s a simple trick using the alphabet to help you better understand what to look for when it comes to moles. Here are the five signs to watch for when analyzing your moles: 

A is for asymmetry

One of the first things to check with any mole is its symmetry. If you draw a line through the middle of the mole, do the two halves match? 

If they don’t, and one half is unlike the other, it's a sign that you should consult with a dermatologist. Asymmetrical moles could be an early sign of melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer. 

B is for border

Check the borders of your mole. Are they smooth and even or irregular and jagged? Moles with blurry or uneven edges are concerning and need a professional evaluation. 

These borders might look like they are spreading into the surrounding skin, which is definitely something you don't want to ignore.

C is for color

A healthy mole is usually a single shade. If you notice multiple colors within a mole — such as shades of brown, tan, black, blue, white, or red — it's a warning sign. Varied colors can suggest potential malignant changes in your skin.

D is for diameter

Size matters when it comes to moles. If a mole is larger than a pencil eraser (about 6mm or 1/4 inch), it’s worth getting checked out. Larger moles have a higher risk of becoming cancerous, especially if they’re evolving. 

E is for evolving

Have you noticed any changes in your mole over time? Changes in size, shape, color, or height are worth bringing to the attention of your dermatologist. 

Also, any new symptom such as bleeding, itching, or crusting points to a need for evaluation. Moles that evolve in any way could be indicative of skin cancer.

When should I see a doctor about removing my mole?

It’s always better to be safe and get a professional opinion if you notice any of the above changes. But there are other reasons to consider mole removal:

Cosmetic concerns 

Sometimes, a mole might not pose a health risk, but you might feel self-conscious about it, especially if it's in a prominent place. A cosmetic dermatologist can offer options for removing the mole. 


Moles that frequently get caught on clothing or those that are continuously rubbed or scratched can become irritated and sore.

Suspicious changes

Apart from the above ABCDEs, have any other suspicious changes immediately checked. This includes pain, tenderness, or the development of a new mole after the age of 30.

Your skin is your body's largest organ and deserves attentive care. If you have concerns about any moles or spots on your skin, schedule a skin exam with us at Manhattan Dermatology.

Regular skin checks are not only reassuring but can also be lifesaving. During an exam, we can give you a comprehensive assessment of your skin's health and discuss whether we recommend removing a mole for medical reasons or personal comfort. 

If you’re concerned about a mole, don't wait to schedule an appointment online or over the phone at either of our Manhattan offices in Murray Hill or Midtown East, New York City.

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