Moles self examination

check your skin - it could save your life!

It is essential to check your skin regularly with the use of a mirror or ask your partner to keep an eye on the ones in difficult places such as your back. Any concerns you should see a doctor as it is very difficult to judge normal and abnormal moles.

  • You should always be suspicious of a new mole and the darkest ones on your body.
  • A general rule is to look for the ‘Ugly Duckling Sign’ - any mole that looks different than other moles on the body.

signs to look for suspected malignant melanoma

major signs

  • If an existing mole gets larger or a new one is growing
  • If the mole has an irregular outline
  • If the colours are mixed shades of brown or black

minor signs

  • If the mole is bigger than the blunt end of a pencil
  • If it is inflamed or has a reddish edge
  • If it is bleeding, oozing or crusting
  • If it starts to feel different: for example, itching or painful

summary problems with your mole to consult doctor

If you notice that any of these moles are growing it’s a warning sign. Most moles should remain basically the same size, shape, and color changing over time only slightly.

If you notice a drastic change in any of your moles consult the health care professional such as GP or dermatologist for an evaluation.

Rapid growth

Keeping an eye on your moles and knowing what they look like is essential to preventative care. If you have moles on parts of your body you can’t clearly see then ask someone you are close with to keep an eye on them.

It’s a good idea if you have a lot of moles (more than 50) on your body to take photographs of any that you may think are changing. This will help you to track any changes that may be dangerous. Write down the date on the photos for the future reference.


Any changes in color or shape in addition to size are important to notice. Moles are generally just one color although each one may be a bit different from the next.

In general moles are symmetrical if the borders change and they begin to appear blurred or asymmetrical have a professional take a look.

Problems with the mole

This means if there is any bleeding, soreness, oozing, crustiness, or any other activity that is different than before on a mole. If you can’t attribute the problem to any injury in that area see a professional to be certain there’s not a developing problem.

Mole checks

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