mole check

Moles vs Freckles – What’s the Difference?

Moles and freckles are often lumped together under a general banner of sun-related skin issues. 

However, there are some key differences between the two.


  • Medical name: ‘ephelides’
  • What are they made of? Concentrated clusters of the pigment melanin found on the skin
  • What do they look like? Flat – not raised
  • What causes them? Freckles tend to be brought out by exposure to the sunlight, which is why they most often are found on the face, shoulders, upper back and arms.
  • Who’s susceptible? They are more common in people with red, blonde or fair hair and/or lighter skin tones
  • Are they harmful? The vast majority of the time, freckles are completely benign and are not associated with any other sort of systemic illness.They do not contain melanin-producing cells, also known as melanocytes, which is the major difference that separates them from moles. As freckles do not contain any cells, they are at no risk of transforming into something dangerous.


  • Medical name: ‘naevi’
  • What are they made of? Collections of cells
  • What they look like: Moles can appear anywhere on the body or face. They can look very different depending on where the cells proliferate
  • What causes them? Sun exposure can be a factor in moles, but is not the only one. Moles can appear in areas that have never seen the sun, so it is important to be alert.
  • Who’s susceptible? Some people are genetically more susceptible.
  • Are they harmful? Most moles are not harmful, but because moles are composed of cells, they are also at risk of developing into something dangerous, such as melanoma. Sun protection is vital to protect against mole formation, then keeping a very close eye on any suspicious moles which change or are just ‘odd’ is important too. Any concerns should be raised with a doctor as soon as possible, as earliest treatment gives the best outcomes.

Mole Removal Treatment

Cosmedics Skin Clinics doctors offer private mole removal in London and Bristol clinics with no waiting list.

Moles are removed using the latest surgical techniques including laser mole removal; with trained doctors and surgeons. All moles are sent for testing (histology) as a precaution.

For more information or to book a consultation, please complete the form on this web page or call 020 7386 0464.