Dermatologist examining moleMoles

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.

It is important to emphasize that the vast number of moles, new and old, that appear on our skin—and most adults commonly have 40 or more moles at any one time—are perfectly harmless. But we want to find the ones that aren’t harmless—that are, in fact, potentially lethal. And that takes cooperation between patient and doctor.

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 can help you find melanoma early. A dermatologist can show you how to examine your skin and tell you how often you should check your skin.

Skin Tags

A skin tag (Acrochordon) is a small, benign tumor that are usually found in skin crease areas. They often occur on the neck, armpit, face (usually on the eyelids), and groin. These growths are harmless and usually remain quite small. 


Warts are benign (not cancerous) skin growths that appear when a virus infects the top layer of the skin. Viruses that cause warts are called human papillomavirus (HPV). You are more likely to get one of these viruses if you cut or damage your skin in some way.

Wart viruses are contagious. Warts can spread by contact with the wart or something that touched the wart. Warts can grow on any part of your body. Warts are often skin-colored and feel rough, but they can be dark (brown or gray-black), flat, and smooth.


Perform Self-Exams. Changes in skin tags and moles can be signs of skin cancer. Look for new or discolored moles and skin tags, and have any anomalies inspected by a doctor.

Resources: American Academy of Dermatology