Moles and blackheads are common skin conditions, but have distinctly different characteristics. Blackheads, or open comedones, are a form of acne. They arise in skin pores. Moles are raised or flat areas that appear different from the surrounding skin 1. A blackhead might resemble a tiny, dark mole and vice versa.
Cause and Location
Blackheads form when oil and dead skin cells block skin pores. A pigment called melanin gives blackheads their characteristic dark color. Blackheads are typically found on the face, back, chest, neck, shoulders, upper arms and buttocks -- the skin sites that have the most oil glands.
Moles are skin growths or discolorations that usually appear during childhood and young adulthood. They are often round and may be flat or slightly raised. The color varies, but most are brown to black 1. Unlike blackheads, moles can form anywhere on the body -- even under a fingernail.
Appearance and Disappearance
Blackheads are tiny, appearing like minute grains within a skin pore. Moles are typically much larger and do not have the perfectly round appearance that blackheads do. While stubborn blackheads can persist for weeks, moles last a lifetime -- although they may begin to fade in middle to late adulthood.
Although most moles are not cancerous, it's important to have new moles checked by your doctor. See your doctor right away if you develop a new dark spot on your skin that grows quickly, itches or bleeds.
- CGinspiration/iStock/Getty Images