Pictures of Normal Moles

Flat Mole

Photo © Heather L. Brannon, MD

Moles are benign tumors that come from melanocytes. Melanocytes are cells in the skin that make the pigment, melanin. Moles come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Some moles have the potential to turn into the skin cancer, melanoma. This gallery contains pictures of normal, benign moles and a discussion about what makes them benign-appearing.

These moles are completely benign. One of the features of benign moles is their uniform color throughout, but these moles actually have a speckled pattern.

Flat moles like this, especially if they have recently developed, can have color variations throughout. These moles have all the other features of benign moles. They are symmetric (you can draw a line through the middle and they are essentially the same on both sides), have regular, rounded borders, and are less than 6mm in diameter. The other clue that this color is not concerning for melanoma is this person has several other moles that look just like this.

Light Mole

Photo © Heather L. Brannon, MD

This mole is slightly raised and you can see that it's the same color as the surrounding skin. Normal moles can come in a variety of colors and sizes.

Depending on the location, when a mole becomes raised it can get cut when shaving or interfere with clothing or jewelry. Most insurance companies will pay to have moles removed for these reasons, and also if they itch, hurt, or have any suspicious features.

Mature Mole

Photo © Heather L. Brannon, MD

I call this a mature mole because you can see that the surrounding skin has wrinkles throughout. The mole itself has been present for many years. This mole has all the features of benign moles.

If a mole forms over a hair follicle, over time the hair may grow through the mole and poke out on the other side. This is very common and removing the hair by plucking or shaving will not cause the mole to become cancerous.

Speckled Mole

Photo © Heather L. Brannon, MD

This is another example of a benign mole that doesn't meet the color rule. If you remember, one of the features of benign moles is that they have a consistent color throughout the mole. This mole is flesh colored on the perimeter and brown in the center.

I know it's benign because it has been there for years and hasn't changed, and all of this person's other moles have the same color variation. This is a good example of why you should have your skin checked regularly by a physician and why you should do your own skin self-exams. Knowing what your moles typically look like helps you know if you should see your doctor when you notice changes in a mole.

Raised Mole

Photo © Heather L. Brannon, MD

This is a great example of a benign mole. Even though it's raised, it has a very consistent color throughout and well-defined border. Depending on its location on the body though, this mole can cause problems if it's getting caught on clothing or jewelry, or it's getting nicked when shaving. These would be reasons insurance would typically pay to have this mole removed.

Light Raised Mole

Photo © Heather L. Brannon, MD

Here is another example of a raised mole that could easily get caught on clothing or jewelry. Sometimes a mole can be difficult to distinguish from a seborrheic keratosis.

Red Raised Mole

Photo © Heather L. Brannon, MD

Because moles stick out from the body, they can get irritated or caught on clothing and jewelry. Sometimes they itch and get irritated with vigorous scratching. This will cause changes in the mole's appearance.

As you can see in this picture a portion of this mole looks like it's been rubbing against something, causing irritation. This should heal in the same amount of time it takes for abrasions on other parts of the skin to heal.

Pink Raised Mole

Photo © Heather L. Brannon, MD

If you compare this mole to the previous two, you can see that the mole itself is pretty typical. Just because a lesion is raised, doesn't mean it's a skin cancer. Note the difference in the skin surrounding this mole compared to the skin in the previous pictures. Can you see all the freckles? This person has fair skin that tends to burn instead of tan, which is a risk factor for melanoma.


Barnhill, RL, and H Rabinovitz. “Benign Melanocytic Neoplasms.” Dermatology, 2nd Ed. Eds. Jean Bolognia, et. al. Mosby, 2008. 1723-6.

Habif, Thomas. “Nevi and Malignant Melanoma.” Clinical Dermatology, 4th Ed. Philadelphia: Mosby, 2004. 773-6.

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