Studies have shown that individuals who have at least six moles measuring five millimeters or more (about the diameter of the eraser tip of a pencil) have an increased risk of developing severe skin health problems.
Here is a simple test you can perform at home. Count all moles that are over five millimeters across. Even though normal moles are evenly tan or brown, oval or round and have a distinct edge, if they're over five millimeters they need to be counted. People frequently fail to count flesh-colored flat moles, but they also need to be counted.
Keep the following points in mind while counting your large moles:
- Women tend to over count their true number of large moles and men tend to under count.
- Areas that are over counted include the arms, genitals, legs, chest, and abdomen.
- Areas that are under counted include the head, face, neck, back, and buttocks.
People with more than six of these large moles need to take additional care to limit their exposure to the sun by using light-colored clothing to reflect the rays. When that's not a practical solution, apply zinc oxide on any exposed skin.
Zinc oxide might not be the prettiest sunscreen, but at least you won't be subjecting yourself (or your loved ones) to a bath of the unhealthy artificial hormones found in most commercial sunscreens.
Finally, have your doctor examine any moles that get larger, bleed, change color, or become painful.