Types of Skin Moles & How To Know If They Are Safe?
Skin Moles – Overview
A mole that is also called nevus is a brown/black looking spot on a skin that happens when skin cells grow in a group rather than individually. These skin cells are also called melanocytes and these same cells are responsible for producing the color of the skin ( pigmentation)
In this blog, we will understand what are the different types of skin moles and how to differentiate between harmless and moles that need your immediate attention. We will also understand the ABCDE rule of mole.
Further Reading: All About Skin Moles: Types, Causes, and Treatments & More
Different Types of Skin Moles
Moles are so commonly seen on bodies that we generally assume that all moles are one and the same. But that’s not the case, there are different types of moles which have different attributes and look slightly different from each other.
Here are the most common types of skin moles:
1. Common Mole
A common mole as the name suggests is the most common mole you can find on the body. It is generally 5-6 mm large, has distinct edges. It is smooth with a dome-like surface and is brown/black in color. These moles generally occur when the sun is exposed to the skin. These moles can potentially but rarely turn into skin cancer.
2. Atypical Mole
Atypical moles which are also called dysplastic nevi look very different from the regular mole. They generally are very irregular in shape and size with blurry edges and are bigger in size. These moles have both flat and raised components and vary in color.
Although they share the same signs of cancerous mole, they are generally not the case. But a person having a lot of such moles have increased risk for skin cancer. It is important to do regular checkups and track changes if any in these moles.
3. Congenital Moles
As the name itself suggests, these moles are genetic in nature and hence it appears in the first year of the baby’s life. This can happen because of melanocyte cells either in the middle layer of the skin or on the outer layer of skin or sometimes both. These moles can be different in size and sometimes even have hair on them and are generally referred to as birthmarks. These moles do pose the risk of skin cancer and hence need to be monitored as you grow into an adult.
4. Acquired Moles
The acquired moles appear on the skin during childhood and even adulthood. Generally speaking, these moles are harmless and pose no risk but still in rare cases they can turn into cancerous mole with age. These moles again can come on the skin due to extended exposure to skin.
5. Junctional Melanocytic Nevi
Junctional Melanocytic Nevi are moles that appear on the skin when there is an accumulation of melanocytes where the outer skin cells and inner skin cells meet. These moles have regular borders and are slightly raised from the skin. They are dark in color but the exact color may vary from tan to dark brown. These moles generally appear between childhood and adulthood, because as we age the melanocytes migrating down to deeper layers of the skin are common.
6. Intradermal Nevi
Intradermal nevi are moles that blend with the regular skin in terms of color as they have the same color. Their pigmentation is not dark like the other moles and could develop a person’s skin in late childhood or throughout adulthood. The reason these moles pigmentation is not dark is because of their location. They are located in the middle layer of your skin. The moles are common and are not harmful.
7. Compound Nevi
Compound Nevi as the name itself suggest is a compound between junctional nevi and intradermal nevi. In this, the melanocyte cells are located in the dermis and dermo- epidermis junction. In terms of appearance, they have a central raise area accompanied by flat areas around the edges. The borders are distinct in nature.
8. Halo Nevi
Halo nevi are very unique and different in looks. These moles are raised and there is a surrounding circle that looks like a ring that has lost its pigmentation mainly because of inflammatory infiltrating cells. There is ongoing research to understand why this particular reaction occurs but is unknown to doctors as of now. These moles are generally harmless and do not require any treatment unless for cosmetic reasons.
What is the ABCDEs Rule of Mole
Any person who has moles on his body should keep a keen eye on the changes happening to them. The best-case scenario is if the mole remains unchanged over time. Hence to keep a personal check on the moles there is a simple rule that one can follow to review these moles called ABCDE rule.
So in case, you need to check if the moles you have any chances of melanoma, check the below-mentioned categories.
- A- Asymmetrical- Melanomas are unusually asymmetrical in shape
- B- Border- Melanomas have uneven borders
- C- Colors- Melanomas don’t have single but two distinct colors
- D- Diameters- Melanomas is unusually bigger in size are ¼ inch across
- E- Enlargement- Melanomas appreciate in size as the time passes
So to summarize moles come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Most of them are benign or harmless in nature but all of them do have a probability of turning into skin cancer. Hence a regular check to track the moles and changes if any is very important.
Do you have a mole that does not fit into any of the above-mentioned types? Skin City clinic has expert dermatologists who can identify and diagnose them and give you a clear picture of them and in case you are looking to remove any of these moles Skin City clinic can help you in that as well. Fill in the form here to get a call from one of our skincare experts.