The typical mole is a brown spot. But moles come in different colors, shapes and sizes:
Moles can develop anywhere on your body, including your scalp, armpits, under your nails, and between your fingers and toes. Most people have 10 to 40 moles. Many of these develop by age 50. Moles may change in appearance or fade away over time. Hormonal changes of adolescence and pregnancy may cause moles to become darker and larger.
If you have a large number of moles or multiple dysplastic moles, you may need to have regular skin checks. Your doctor may photograph your skin so that changes in your moles can be detected at follow-up visits. Since many melanomas arise as new spots (on normal skin), it is necessary to observe all of the skin, not only the moles. You should self-examine your skin at least every 3 to 4 months for moles that are new, growing or changing and report any significant changes to your doctor or dermatologist. It is important to avoid excessive sun exposure and protect your skin from the sun by wearing tightly woven longer sleeved clothing, broad brimmed hats and sunglasses and applying sunscreens regularly.
Take measures to protect your skin from ultraviolet (UV) radiation, such as from the sun or tanning beds. UV radiation has been linked to increased melanoma risk. And children who haven't been protected from sun exposure tend to develop more moles.