Moles may be flat or protruding. They vary in colour from pink or flesh tones to dark brown or black. Although mostly round or oval in shape, they are sometimes unusual shapes. They range in size from a couple of millimetres to several centimetres in diameter.
The number of moles a person has depends on genetic factors and on sun exposure. Most white-skinned New Zealanders have 20-50 of them. People with a greater number of moles have a higher risk of developing melanoma than those with few moles, especially if they have over 100 of them.