Moles (acquired nevi)

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Moles are common skin growths that vary in size, colour and appearance. Find out how to tell the difference between benign and potentially harmful moles.

Key points

  • Moles occur when there is a build-up of melanocytes under the skin. Melanocytes are cells that produce pigment in our skin. This can happen naturally or as a result of sun exposure, high levels of growth hormones or chemotherapy.
  • Most moles are benign. They are symmetrical and have a regular border and even pigment throughout.
  • The ABCDE acronym can help you, your child or a dermatologist identify any potentially harmful moles.
  • To reduce the risk of melanoma (a type of harmful mole), avoid too much sun exposure, use sunscreen and check your child’s skin at least once every six months.
Last updated: February 6th 2023