When Should You See a Doctor for Moles?


Nearly everyone has a mole somewhere on their face or body. Though moles are typically harmless and appear at any age, they can develop into a serious form of skin cancer known as melanoma. So, when should you see a dermatologist for moles, and how do you know if one is cause for concern?

At Oak Dermatology, we understand the importance of regular skin checks in Naperville, Itasca, and Joliet, IL. Call now to book an appointment with an experienced dermatologist. Dr. Nour Al-Hadidi, Dr. Sharon Fang, and Dr. Anthony Janiga are prepared to discuss your concerns and provide advice about skin growths.

What does a "normal" mole look like?

Moles form when the pigment-producing cells in your skin (called melanocytes) grow together. They vary in appearance, but most are small, round, and symmetrical — meaning if you draw a line down the middle, both sides would be nearly identical. Normal moles are tan, brown, black, or pink in color and have a raised appearance. Some people develop moles in childhood, while others form later in life.

Most moles are noncancerous and do not require any treatment. However, certain characteristics can be a sign of melanoma. We recommend consulting with a dermatologist for moles that seem unusual or different.

What are the warning signs of melanoma?

Melanoma can develop in a pre-existing mole or appear as a new growth. Here are some warning signs to look out for when performing a skin check at home:

  • Asymmetry: This means that one half of the mole does not match the other half in terms of shape, size, color, or thickness.
  • Border: Typical moles are distinct and well-defined, while cancerous moles may have an uneven or jagged edge.
  • Color: Moles are usually a single shade of color. Melanomas may be a combination of different shades.
  • Diameter: Normal moles are generally less than 6 millimeters in diameter (roughly the size of a pencil eraser), while melanomas are larger.
  • Evolving: Any unexpected changes in the size, shape, color, or elevation of a mole should be checked by a medical professional in Naperville, Itasca, and Joliet, IL.

How does a dermatologist near me evaluate a mole?

At Oak Dermatology, our dermatologists frequently work with patients in areas like Sugar Grove, Frankfort, and Hoffman Estates. They can perform a thorough skin assessment for cancer. This includes inspecting the mole in question as well as any other moles, freckles, or spots on your body. We may perform a surgical excision, which involves removing the mole and sending the cells to a lab for further testing.

How can you prevent melanoma?

Some risk factors for melanoma, such as family history and skin type, are out of our control, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of skin cancer. These include avoiding excessive sun exposure and using sunscreen when spending time outdoors. Accessories like hats and sunglasses also help. And, of course, see a dermatologist for moles and perform self-checks at home.

Book a skin check with a dermatologist

If you have concerns about a mole, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with an experienced dermatologist. Dr. Nour Al-Hadidi, Dr. Sharon Fang, and Dr. Anthony Janiga are dedicated to providing comprehensive and compassionate care for our patients. Contact Oak Dermatology in Naperville, Itasca, or Joliet, IL for your consultation. Let us help you take care of your skin and prevent potential skin cancer.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.