Moles can develop at any age. However, it is more common to develop moles as a child. If you notice a new mole as an adult, you should get it examined by a dermatologist to rule out melanoma.
Being out in the sun can increase the number of moles that arise, especially on sun-exposed skin. We also know that a large number of moles (more than 50) can increase the risk of melanoma. Therefore, it’s important to wear sunscreen daily (and reapply as directed), wear sun-protective clothing and try to avoid sun exposure between the peak hours of 10 AM and 4 PM. And, of course, if any moles change size, shape, color or start to bleed, see a dermatologist immediately — regardless of how long you’ve had that mole.
Ellen H. Frankel, MD, is a dermatologist practicing in Cranston, Rhode Island. She has been in private practice since 1987 and is chief of dermatology at Kent Hospital in Warwick, Rhode Island.