Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"Is there such a thing as having too many moles?"

ZocdocAnswersIs there such a thing as having too many moles?


Is there such a thing as having too many moles? I'm 19 and I have so many on my face, neck, arms and shoulders that I really worry about what it means for my health. Does this put me at a higher risk for skin cancer?


Moles, or nevi, are collections of pigmented cells, called melanocytes, in the skin. They are usually benign but do have a rare chance of transforming into melanoma, a form of skin cancer. Any mole greater than 6 mm in diameter, elevated, with irregular borders or multiple colors, or that is growing asymmetrically should be evaluated by your doctor. Most people have a few dozen moles at most on their body. Rarely, some people have hundreds of moles. This can be part of a genetic condition called dysplastic nevus syndrome. People who have this syndrome are at higher risk of the moles transforming into skin cancer, and they should be evaluated closely and regularly by a dermatologist for any signs of this transformation. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular skin concerns will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Setting up an office visit with your primary care doctor or your dermatologist is highly recommended.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.