Making My Skin Even Better

What Should You Expect at Your First Mole Check?

by Virgil Mccoy

Whether you had several serious sunburns as a child and are at higher-than-average risk of developing skin cancer or simply have too many moles to reliably monitor on your own, having an annual mole check is usually a good idea. During a mole check, a dermatologist will give you a thorough head-to-toe examination to look for any suspicious moles, following up with a biopsy or close monitoring for any moles or blemishes that could be problematic. Learn more about what a mole check can reveal and what you should expect during your first mole check.

Who Can Benefit From a Mole Check?

Skin damage can be cumulative, which means that even those who take great care of their skin as an adult may benefit from mole checks if they spent much of their childhood sans sunscreen. Others who can benefit from an annual mole check include: 

  • Anyone with a family history of skin cancer, particularly melanoma
  • Anyone with a large number of body moles
  • Anyone who has already had one suspicious mole biopsied or removed in the past
  • Those with a long-term history of greater-than-average sun exposure 
  • Anyone who has gotten more than one blistering sunburn in the past
  • Those who have used tanning beds in the past

Each of these risk factors can raise the risk of harmful skin conditions, so keeping a close eye on your skin through an annual mole check can help spot and treat problems before they start. 

How Should You Prepare for a Mole Check? 

On the day of your mole check appointment, you'll want to prepare to have every inch of your skin examined by avoiding makeup and removing any bandages, braces, watches, jewelry, or other devices or accessories that block any part of the skin. You may want to wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing to make it easier to change into and out of your examination gown.

During the exam, you'll remove all your clothing and cover yourself with a gown. The dermatologist will use a special lens and, in some cases, a special light to examine your skin in sections, marking or otherwise identifying any marks that require follow-up. Unless a problem spot is identified, this examination should take just a few minutes to provide you with a clean bill of health for the year to come. Or, they may provide some guidelines for how to take better care of your skin to avoid further damage.