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Is it normal for a mole to just suddenly appear on your skin?

By June 16, 2008 - 1:08pm
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We just noticed a small blackish brown mole on our toddlers thigh that has appeared out of nowhere. It is dark brown in color and is quite small but noticeable. It has not changed in size or color or consistency since it sprouted but it hasn't been that long. It wasn't there a few weeks ago - this is brand new.

Does anyone know why this would happen? Is it something that needs to be seen by a doctor or is this common?

She has very fair skin and wears a factor 50 sunblock at all times and has no other moles or freckles.


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(reply to Anonymous)

Hi, Anon:

Were you able to make sense of the previous post that contained answers from Dr. Brodell? You didn't say if his skin is fair or dark. The mole might be normal.

Then again, your boyfriend should keep an eye on it. If it changes in color or shape, he would want to have it checked by his doctor.

May 26, 2009 - 5:25pm
EmpowHER Guest

my daughter 16 a mole appaered from last years holiday it wasnt there before can moles just apear at her age its raised and you can feel it, its on the top of her arm is this anything to worry about?

December 28, 2008 - 9:03am
EmpowHER Guest

I've been reading the previous postings on toddler moles. My daughter had hand foot and mouth five weeks ago. The largest blister on her heel began to turn dark brown. The rest of the blister all went away within a week, but this one has remained and grew just a bit. It's about 5 mm. I took her to the ped who said it did look like a mole that erupted where the blister was and suggested I take her to a derm which I am in 3 weeks. Just wondered if anyone out there may have had a similar experience. I worry because of the location of the mole.

October 27, 2008 - 12:04pm

Thank you so much for getting those answers! I read them all with great interest. Really good info and from so many experts! Thanks, I will book mark this page and use it as a reference!

June 20, 2008 - 1:02pm

Hey GauguinFan -- We had a wonderful response from some great doctors specializing in dermatology and pediatric dermatology.

Here's how Dr. Robert T. Brodell, Professor of Internal Medicine Professor of Dermatopathology in Pathology at the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and Pharmacy responded to your question about moles:

"People can get new moles until they are about 40 years old....so the appearance of a stable mole in an infant is not a surprise. The trick is in the "stable" nature of the mole. If it were to grow or change....it would need to be seen by a dermatologist to determine if it should be removed. Even coloration, smooth border, smooth surface, lack of ulceration are all benign features. Hope this helps! Dr. BOB"

Dr. Summer R. Youker, Assistant Professor of Dermatology
at St. Louis University offered this answer:

"The average white individual should expect to develop between 15 and 40 nevi (moles) during their lifetime. They begin to develop during early childhood and continue into the 20's. When you reach your 70's and 80's, your nevi begin to regress. The number of nevi a person makes in her lifetime is related to the amount of sun exposure she receives in the first two decades of life. Intermittent, intense sunlight seems to be of greater importance than chronic sun exposure in the formation of nevi. So... This toddler's new mole is most likely the first of many. Normal nevi should be even in color and border and be symmetric. Normal nevi in children should grow with the child, not out of proportion to the child's growth. If the nevus begins to grow in size out of proportion to the toddler's growth, begins to change color, or delopes an irregular border, I would recommend having it checked by a dermatologist. Additionally, if there is a strong family history of melanoma, I would recommend an evaluation by a dermatologist. Otherwise, continue the wonderful efforts at sun protection and don't forget to reapply her sunscreen every 1 1/2 to 2 hours."

And Laurie Bernard-Stover, MD from Rady Children's, San Diego had this to say:

"Nevi (commonly called Moles) can appear throughout childhood even with good sun protection. Given what you state about the color and size, it is most likely benign and nothing to worry about. For monitoring moles, the key is to watch for changes in them, for example: color, size or irregular borders. If you are concerned, you can show it to your child's pediatrician, who can then decide whether a dermatology evaluation is needed. Many skin lesions of children can look similar to moles, so if you have any concerns, or if the lesion grows, you should see your pediatrician. In regard to sun protection, the best method is always to cover-up with UV-blocking clothing, with high SPF sunscreen on exposed areas (such as hands and feet). You should never depend on sunscreen alone."

Dr. Hensin Tsao, MD, PhD a dermatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital gave us this answer:

"It's not uncommon to get a few pinpoint (1-2mm) round spots...typically brown-black but it depends on skin complexion. If it stabilizes in size, shape and color, I do not think it needs to be removed; however, if it continues to change, then you should find a pediatric dermatologist to evaluate right away. If crops of these are forming and not just isolated ones, then one should also consult a pediatric dermatologist. Melanoma at this age is exceedingly rare. I've seen children at 10-12 yrs of age get melanoma but not really in the toddler years."

Don't forget the sun avoidance and sunblocks this summer...

Do you find these answers helpful?

June 19, 2008 - 12:40pm

My daughter is 3. I check it daily for any changes and there are none.

Lots of people have moles so I guess they have to appear at some stage! However, I will put a call in to her doctor to ease my mind.

Thank you!!

June 18, 2008 - 2:53pm

You might ask your pediatrician to look at your daughter's skin, particularly this new mole, just to ease your mind. It sounds like you are taking all the necessary precautions with sunscreen (good for you!), and according to several medical sites, most moles appear in early childhood (so, I guess they could just "suddenly" appear, as you described it!).

Luckily, most moles are not dangerous, but the ones that are of concern are those that look different than other existing moles. Again, since this is the only mole your daughter has, you probably want to have it looked at.

If you notice changes in a mole's color, height, size or shape, or if it bleeds, oozes, itches, is tender or painful, these are conditions that you would want to see a dermatologist right away.

Read more to find out about what others have discussed on EmpowHer regarding skin conditions, and the ABCDE "checklist" for detecting skin cancer.

June 17, 2008 - 2:42pm

Thanks for writing. We have posed your question to some of the top skin experts in the country including a pediatric dermatologist and hope to have an answer for you in a day or so. And, how old is your daughter?

June 16, 2008 - 3:29pm
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