Moles are relatively common. Most adults have 10 to 40 moles on various parts of their bodies. Many moles are caused by sun exposure.

While a mole on your nose might not be your favorite feature, most moles are harmless. Learn the ways to tell when you should get your mole checked by a doctor and removed.

When melanocytes (pigment cells in the skin) grow in a group, it’s usually called a mole. Moles are typically the same color or darker than freckles, and can be flat or raised.

Common moles

Common moles, or nevi, are most typical. They can be found anywhere on the body. Common moles are usually not cause for alarm, but should be monitored from time to time for changes in appearance. If the mole on your nose is a cosmetic concern, you may opt to have it removed.

Characteristics of common moles include:

  • ¼ inch or smaller
  • smooth
  • round or oval
  • even-colored

Atypical moles

An atypical mole is a mole that does not fit the definition of a common mole. Atypical moles, or dysplastic nevi, are irregular and should be monitored for the development of melanoma.

If you have a dysplastic nevus on your nose, you should try to keep it from sun exposure as much as possible. You should also bring it to your doctor’s attention for medical advice.

Characteristics of atypical moles include:

  • textured surface
  • irregular shape
  • mixture of colors
  • can appear in places that may not be exposed to the sun

Melanoma is a skin cancer that manifests in the pigments of your skin. Melanoma frequently occurs in moles that already exist. However, sometimes a new growth can pop up.

If you believe that you may have melanoma or have observed a change in your skin, you should alert your doctor. Identifying melanoma or other skin cancers early will help in diagnosis and treatment. The only way to diagnose melanoma is to do a biopsy on the mole. However, there are ways to catch potential melanoma early.

ABCDE rule in melanoma

The National Cancer Institute created the ABCDE rule to help people tell if their mole might be melanoma.

  • Asymmetry. If the shape of your mole is odd, or one half of the mole is not the same as the other, you may be developing early stages of melanoma.
  • Border. A border that is blurred, notched, spreading or otherwise irregular may be a sign of melanoma.
  • Color. If the color of your mole is patchy, you should pay attention to the mole and possibly bring it to your doctor’s attention.
  • Diameter. If the diameter of your mole is greater than 6 mm (about the size of a pencil eraser), you should let your doctor know.
  • Evolving. If your mole has grown or changed over time, you should seek medical advice.

If the mole on your nose proves to be melanoma or is cosmetically displeasing to you, you can have it removed. Removing a mole on the nose can be a tricky procedure. Your surgeon or dermatologist will want to minimize scarring since the area is on your face and highly visible.

A shave excision will most likely be the technique used to remove the mole. A shave excision uses a small blade to scrape or shave the layers of the skin that contain the mole. The doctor applies an anesthetic before doing this so the procedure is virtually painless. In many cases, it does not leave an overly noticeable scar.

You can talk with your dermatologist about other surgical options such as:

  • simple scissor excision
  • skin excision
  • laser treatment

Many people have moles. Facial moles can be a sensitive subject, because they affect your appearance. If the mole on your nose is not cancerous, you can still opt for removal if it causes you unneeded stress.

You should monitor all moles for changes in shape, size, or color. If you have a mole that is irregular, alert your doctor or dermatologist. They may recommend that you get a biopsy to make sure that the mole is not cancerous.