ZocdocAnswersCan a mole become infected?

Question

Can a mole become infected?

I've always had a large mole on the back or my arm, but I noticed a ring of redness around it the other day. It doesn't itch, but is sensitive to the touch. Is it infected? Can a mole just become infected all of the sudden?

Answer

There is nothing particular about moles that makes them prone to infection. However, like any other part of the skin, a mole can be nicked or scraped, and this can be a source of infection as bacteria can get in to the cut. If the redness is minor and not very painful, you can apply some topical antibacterial ointment and see what happens. You should, obviously, go to see your doctor. However, if the redness does not improve or if you notice that the red area is increasing in size rapidly, is very warm to the touch, or if there is any fever. These would be signs of a more serious skin infection that might require antibiotics or other treatments. Another potential cause of redness in the skin is eczema or a sensitivity reaction. These would be more likely to cause itchy skin, or scaling or flaking of the skin, which it sounds like you don't have. However, if the redness persists, or if flaking or itching develops, this is a possibility and you should talk to your primary care doctor to help you clarify what is going on and what should be done to treat it.

This answer 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 or (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.