Moles are common. Almost every adult has a few moles. Adults who have light skin often have more moles. They may have 10 to 40 moles on their skin. This is normal. You should not be overly worried about your moles. But you should know:

  • A type of skin cancer, melanoma, can grow in or near a mole
  • Caught early and treated, melanoma can be cured
  • The first sign of melanoma is often a change to a mole – or a new mole on your skin
  • Checking your skin once a month – or more often if your doctor says – can help you find melanoma early
  • If a mole starts to grow, itch, or bleed, make an appointment to see a dermatologist

How do dermatologists treat moles?

Most moles do not require treatment. A dermatologist will remove a mole that:

  • Bothers a patient (rubs against clothing, etc.)
  • A patient finds unattractive
  • Could be skin cancer

A dermatologist can remove a mole during an office visit. A few moles will require a second visit. Whether 1 or 2 visits, a dermatologist can safely and easily remove a mole. A dermatologist will use 1 of these procedures:
Surgical excision: The dermatologist cuts out the entire mole and stitches the skin closed. If the dermatologist suspects that the mole contains cancer, the dermatologist will send the mole to a lab. It will be examined under a microscope. This is called a biopsy.
Surgical shave: The dermatologist uses a surgical blade to remove the mole.