Types of Moles

Types of Moles Nov 16, 2021 / by Complete Family Dermatology Team

Almost all adults have a few moles on their bodies. Most moles found on adults are categorized as “common moles,” which ultimately means that they’re harmless. However, other types of moles can increase a person’s risk of developing melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer. In this blog, we’ll discuss types of moles that increase your risk of melanoma and what to do if you find one on your skin. 

Atypical Moles

Melanoma can grow in the form of an atypical mole (or dysplastic nevus). You can likely spot an atypical mole because it changes over time. They are often larger than a pencil eraser, have an odd shape (not round), and have more than one color (tan, brown, red, and pink). They typically appear on the trunk of the body, but they can appear anywhere including the head, neck, and face. Not all atypical moles are cancerous, but those that have the following have a higher risk of getting melanoma: four or more atypical moles, has already had melanoma, and have a first-degree relative who has had melanoma. If you have a lot of atypical moles, you may have a medical condition called familial atypical multiple mole-melanoma syndrome (or FAMMM for short). FAMMM is when you have more than 50 moles, some moles that are atypical, and a relative who has had melanoma.  

Congenital Moles

According to the AAD, 1 in 100 people are born with a mole. A congenital mole is a mole that a person is born with, and it varies in size as the person grows. It can either be a tiny spot or a large area, and it can either grow smaller or larger. They’re often found on the trunk or limbs of the body, but once again, moles can form anywhere. Most of these moles do not cause health problems, but there is a chance that they’ll grow into skin cancer. In most instances, the larger the mole, the higher the risk of developing melanoma.  

Spitz Nevus Moles

Spitz nevus moles can resemble melanoma. In many cases, dermatologists cannot tell the difference between the two because they look so similar. The traits of a spitz nevus mole are raised, dome-shaped, and pink (possibly red, black, or brown, too). The mole may bleed and ooze. These types of moles generally show up during the first 20 years of life.  

Acquired Moles

When a person develops a mole after they are born, it’s called an acquired mole, which is a common mole. People that have lighter skin have about 10 to 40 of these moles. People with more than 50 have a higher chance of getting melanoma.  

What to Do When You Spot a Mole?

Dermatologists recommend doing a self skin examination once a month. If you notice a mole that is new, changing, or unusual, you should schedule an appointment with your dermatologist as soon as possible. It’s better to get checked early rather than too late because skin cancer can develop and grow rather quickly. Even if you don’t notice any major changes in your skin, it is still encouraged to visit the dermatologist at least once a year for a check-up.  

Closing Thoughts

At Complete Family Dermatology in Lincoln, NE, we are specialized in skin cancer treatment as well as mole removal. As a practice, we are dedicated to helping all patients maintain the health of their skin and detecting potential problems early — before they become serious. To schedule an appointment with us, please call 402-423-1111. Reference: Moles: Who Gets And Types, American Academy of Dermatology Association

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