Section : Education

How to examine moles on your own (self-examination of melanocytic navi (naevi))

  • We advise you to have your moles examined by a dermatologist, most especially if:
  1. you have more than 100 moles
  2. an individual in your family has had a melanoma
  3. you are 40 years old
  4. you have light-colored (coloured) (photoypes I and II) and/or blue, green eyes
  5. you get easily sunburnt
  6. you are worried
  • We advise you to have your moles examined once a year by a dermatologist. He/her will examine them with a tool called a dermatoscope or even a videomicroscope.
  • To increase the chances of detecting an abnormal mole with could be a melanoma, we advise you to check your moles yourself once a month. This will also enable you to get use to the appearance of your moles and know if new ones appear.
  • To do this:
  1. go into a private and well-lit room
  2. face a head-to-feet mirror and hold a moveable mirror to examine normally non visible areas (back, back of the legs)
  3. be consistent and examine your body in a rigorous systematic way (head to feet, front and back):
  1. head
  2. neck
  3. arm (right and left)
  4. chest and upper back
  5. abdomen, genital organs and lower back/buttocks
  6. leg (right and left)
  7. finish by looking at the palms of the hands and between the fingers, plantar surfaces of the feet and between the toes and mucosal surfaces (eyes, mouth, and anal orifice).
  8. ask someone to look at your scalp by blowing the hairs apart with a hairdryer.
  • As a general rule, you should then consult a dermatologist if a mole:
  1. has an irregular shape (A like asymmetry)
  2. has an irregular border (B like border)
  3. has many colors (colours) (C like color (colour))
  4. has a diameter more than a quarter of an inch (5mm) (D like diameter)
  5. has changed since last time (E like evolving).
Melanoma: identifiable when using the ABCDE rule

Melanoma: identifiable when using the ABCDE rule

  • You have to pay particular attention and consult if a mole:
  1. not previously there appears
  2. grows
  3. bleeds spontaeously
  4. doesn’t heal after trauma


Dr Christophe HSU – dermatologist. Geneva, Switzerland

Category : auto-examen des naevi (névi) mélanocytaires - Modifie le 06.5.2010Category : examine common moles yourself - Modifie le 06.5.2010Category : examiner soi-même ses grains de beauté - Modifie le 06.5.2010Category : self-examination of melanocytic nevi - Modifie le 06.5.2010