A mole, or more properly a melanocytic nevus, is a generally benign type of lesion that contains melanin producing cells. Only about one of 100 babies is born with a mole, they commonly grow on most individuals in the first twenty years of their life and for the most part fade as a person grows older. Moles can be raised above the skin, can be under the skin, or can even form spherical lesions outside the skin (skin tags). They are more common in people with lighter skin tones, although they can appear in anyone. People of European descent average about thirty.
Moles can put a person at higher risk for melanoma, particularly if they are exposed to a lot of ultraviolet radiation. Moles are suspect if they are not round, are asymmetrical, have inconsistent color, are very large, or change over time. However, even those such moles are unlikely to be malignant.