What’s the Difference Between a Mole and a Freckle?


Freckles and moles are common skin features among all people. However, sometimes it may be hard to know which is which. Whether you’re wondering if you have a freckle or mole, here is some more information to help you understand the difference between the two.

What Are Moles and Freckles?

Freckles are small areas of the skin that often appear pale brown or reddish in color. They most often appear when the skin is exposed to the sun. Even though freckles can occur in people of all skin tones, they’re more common among those with pale skin.

A mole is like a freckle, but it is typically much darker colored and doesn’t fade or become darker based on the skin’s sun exposure. Moles often change over time, becoming raised, changing color or even sprouting hairs. Sometimes moles also recede over the course of your life and disappear.

Whether you notice a freckle or mole, it’s reassuring to know that both are normal components of your skin.

Freckles are considered harmless, and are a natural reaction of the skin to sunlight. Moles are also typically harmless, however those that change appearance or first appear after the age 25 may be sign to visit a dermatologist.

How Can I Tell if a Mole Is Cancerous?

Most moles are not cancerous. If you notice that a mole is becoming much darker or is growing, or if you notice a dark spot on your skin as an adult, then you may want visit your doctor for a biopsy. Moles that don’t show signs of being cancerous are usually left alone.

Moles that become cancerous are very rare, but being aware of how they change over time can help you remain aware of your risks. A cancerous mole will be removed along with a portion of the surrounding skin to ensure no cancer remains.