I Have Lots of Moles: Should I Be Concerned?

Apr 03, 2024
I Have Lots of Moles: Should I Be Concerned?
Having a lot of moles isn’t necessarily a problem on its own, but it could put you at a higher risk for melanoma. We discuss how to check your moles for signs of skin cancer and why you should check them here. 

Moles are concentrations of pigment-producing cells in your skin. These spots are incredibly common, with most adults having anywhere from 10-40 of them. While the exact cause of moles is unknown, most experts agree that genetics and sun exposure play key roles in mole development. 

You aren’t born with moles, and they usually develop during childhood and adolescence. It’s normal for new moles to grow during times of hormone fluctuations, such as puberty or pregnancy. 

It’s fairly rare for moles to turn into melanoma, but you’re at a much higher risk for melanoma if you have more than 50 moles

Because of this, our team of dermatologists at Integrated Dermatology of 19th Street in Washington, DC, wants to review how to examine your moles for skin cancer to increase your chances of catching potential melanoma early. 

How to check your moles for skin cancer

If you have a lot of moles, you must see us for annual or even bi-annual skin checks. Between these visits, you must check your moles regularly for any changes. Changes in your moles are often signals of melanoma. 

Thankfully, there’s a helpful mnemonic device — called the ABCDE method — that can guide you as you examine your moles:

  • A is for asymmetrical: One half of your mole doesn’t match the other half
  • B is for border: The mole has a jagged or undefined border
  • C is for color: There are multiple colors in the mole
  • D is for diameter: The mole is larger than a pencil eraser
  • E is for evolution: Any mole that changes in size, shape, or thickness

In addition, any new moles that develop after age 20 or moles that burn, itch, or bleed need to be examined. 

What to expect from an in-office skin check

When you see us for regular skin checks, we examine your skin from head to toe. We start with your scalp and then move down your body until we reach the bottom of your feet. During the exam, our team notes each mole you have and reviews how to do a thorough skin check on your own. 

If we do find a suspicious mole, we perform a skin biopsy. We start by numbing the area around the mole and then remove it by shaving it off. The mole is sent off to a laboratory for examination. 

While most moles aren’t cancerous, it’s best to catch potential cancer early for effective treatment. If you have a lot of moles, make sure to see us regularly to have them checked by our expert team. Schedule a skin check by calling our office or booking online today.