Moles are non-cancerous (benign) skin lesions that are made up of the color-producing cells of the skin (melanocytes). A mole is medically referred to as a nevus.
A mole that is present at birth is referred to as a congenital nevus A dysplastic nevus (discussed elsewhere) is a mole which is unusual in appearance (atypical). Moles slowly enlarge evenly in all directions. After moles stop growing, they may remain or they may become smaller as you age. Sun exposure and family tendency play a role in the development of moles. Sometimes moles become inflamed or irritated by friction from rubbing or contact with clothing or by other types of injury.
Moles may occur anywhere on the body, including the nails, palms, and soles. Anyone of any race or color or age may have moles on their body.
The occurrence of a new mole in an adult over the age of 50 can be unusual; if it occurs, see your doctor for evaluation.
Several types of moles have a higher than average risk of becoming cancerous. They include:
Non-cancerous moles do not require treatment or removal. If the mole is in a location that is subject to friction and irritation, then removal may be necessary.
If you are bothered by the cosmetic appearance of a non-cancerous mole, it can be surgically removed.