A mole can bleed if something catches on it and tears it. Although this can hurt, it is not usually a cause for concern. In rare cases, mole bleeding can happen for no apparent reason, and this can be a sign of skin cancer.

It is common for adults to have 10–40 moles. People with light skin tend to have more moles than those with dark skin.

Moles can change as a person ages. Some will become darker or lighter, and many will grow. They can appear anywhere on the skin, from the scalp to the soles of the feet and even under the fingernails.

Most moles are harmless, but people should check them for changes, such as bleeding, that can indicate melanoma.

This article explains why moles can bleed and when to seek medical treatment.

Raised moles can catch on items, such as jewelry, and start to bleed. They can also feel itchy, and a person may break the skin if they scratch too hard.

A bleeding mole may be painful, but a person can usually treat this minor wound at home.

However, if a mole bleeds for no apparent reason, a person should see a doctor, particularly if itching also occurs. Bleeding moles, or moles that look like open sores, can sometimes indicate skin cancer.

Learn about itchy moles.


Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that begins in the skin cells that produce pigment. More than 9,000 people in the United States die each year from melanoma, making it the most deadly type of skin cancer. However, it is usually curable if a person receives a prompt diagnosis and treatment.

Melanoma lesions may look like moles, or they may develop from moles. If a mole bleeds or oozes, this can point to melanoma. Other symptoms of melanoma include:

  • sores that do not heal
  • discoloration or swelling that spreads outside of a mole’s border
  • itchiness, tenderness, or pain in a mole
  • changes in a mole’s texture
  • blurry vision, partial loss of sight, or dark spots in the eye’s iris

Learn more about melanoma.


Two types of carcinoma could cause a bleeding mole: basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).

BCC is the most common type of cancer, with more than 2 million people in the U.S. receiving a diagnosis every year. SCC is the second most common type of skin cancer.

A common sign of carcinoma is a bleeding spot on the skin that does not seem to heal. Other signs include red or dark patches that may be thickened, crusted-over, or scaly.

Learn more about carcinoma.

People can use the “ABCDEs” to monitor new or existing moles. If any of the following signs are present, it is important to see a doctor for a professional evaluation:

  • Asymmetry: The two halves of the mole or freckle do not match.
  • Border: The mole or freckle has an irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border.
  • Color: The mole contains varied shades of tan, brown, black, white, red, or blue.
  • Diameter: Melanomas are usually larger than 6 millimeters in diameter when a doctor diagnoses them. They can sometimes be smaller, though.
  • Evolving: If one mole looks different than the others or has noticeably changed in size, shape, or color, this may indicate melanoma.

It may be more difficult for people with dark skin to recognize whether a mole is unusual. It can help to look for dark spots that are bleeding or appear to have grown or changed in shape. Changes in the texture of the mole may also indicate a potential problem.

Anyone who notices that a mole has changed in appearance or texture should see a doctor to rule out skin cancer.

Moles do not often bleed a lot, but they may if the lesions are caused by skin cancer. A doctor should examine any unusual-looking mole.

Most moles are harmless and do not require treatment. However, a doctor may remove a suspicious mole to test it for cancerous cells.

Some people may also wish to remove moles that are bothersome or uncomfortable. A dermatologist can remove a mole using surgical excision or a surgical shave.

During surgical excision, the doctor numbs the area, cuts away the mole, and closes the wound with stitches.

A surgical shave can remove small moles. After numbing the area, the doctor uses a small blade to remove the part of the mole that is raised above the rest of the skin.

Learn more about how to treat moles.

Exposure to the sun’s UV rays causes most skin cancers, which means that people can take steps to reduce their risk of skin cancer. These steps include:

  • staying in the shade during the brightest hours of the day
  • avoiding tanning in the sun and never using UV tanning beds
  • covering up in the sun with a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses
  • applying a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day
  • using a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher during extended periods of sun exposure
  • reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours and immediately after swimming or sweating excessively

Parents and caregivers should keep newborns out of the sun and protect children using the steps above.

Most bleeding moles result from superficial cuts or snags. A person can treat them at home by applying pressure and a bandage.

If a mole bleeds for no apparent reason or starts to look like an open sore, it is important to contact a doctor for an evaluation.

The 5-year relative survival rate for early stage melanoma that has not spread is 99%. This means that nearly everyone with this type of skin cancer is still alive 5 years after diagnosis.

It is essential to monitor moles for signs of cancer and speak with a doctor about any concerns.

Below, we answer some commonly asked questions about moles.

How do I stop a mole from bleeding?

Standard first aid for a bleeding mole involves covering the wound with a sterile dressing and applying pressure to stop the bleeding. A person may also wish to have a doctor examine the mole, even if the bleeding has stopped.

Can I remove a mole at home?

The American Academy of Dermatology Association warns against trying to remove a mole at home. If the mole is cancerous, some of the cancer cells can remain in the skin, and the disease can even spread. Removing a mole without sterile equipment and in nonsurgical conditions can also lead to infection or disfigure the skin and cause scarring.

Does scratching a mole cause cancer?

There is insufficient research to confirm this. Although there is a study indicating that skin injury might be able to trigger melanoma, the scientists conducted their research on fish. There is no equivalent evidence in humans.