What do moles look like?
Moles can range in colour. They are generally medium to dark brown but can also be skin-coloured or black. The majority of moles are flat, relatively even in colour and regular in shape. Some moles are raised and these are usually soft to touch and lighter in colour.
Who should check their moles?
Everyone should check their moles, at least every 3 months. But if you have developed new moles, or a close relative has a history of melanoma, you should examine your body once a month.
Which ones should you worry about?
Moles to worry about are those that look different to other existing moles. Dysplastic moles are moles that look different to ordinary moles and may evolve to melanomas. If you have multiple dysplastic moles you are at greater risk of melanoma. If you have any moles that are larger than most, have smudgy or irregular edges, are uneven in colour or have some pinkness, you should see a doctor and get them checked. Any moles that appear newly in adulthood should be checked. The most concerning sign, however, is a changing mole. So that’s what we check for. If you notice a change in colour or shape, or the mole becomes itchy, painful or starts to bleed, see a doctor immediately. Below is a handy guide written by the SunSmart charity in Australia.
You’ll notice it’s sometimes very hard to tell the difference between a mole and a melanoma. An important characteristic is change. Melanoma, by definition is a mutation of cells, which means they grow out of control. So the best way to spot a melanoma is to look for moles that change. We can help you do that at Skin Analytics but regardless if our service is right for you, keep an eye out for changing moles and keep your family healthy.