Not all moles are created equal. Here’s a quick guide to mole types and what they mean for our skin. It’s good to note that moles are categorized by multiple factors, including when they developed, where they are located in the skin and if they exhibit typical or atypical symptoms. That means moles are often described by multiple classifications. For instance, you can have a common acquired junctional nevus or an atypical congenital nevus.
A common mole is one that is usually about 5-6 mm in diameter, has distinct edges, a smooth, dome-like surface and even pigmentation. These moles are usually found on skin regularly exposed to the sun and have the potential to turn into skin cancer, but it is a rare occurrence.
Atypical moles, or dysplastic nevi, are moles that exhibit irregular symptoms. They usually have fuzzy or blurry borders, are varied in color, larger than most moles and have both flat and raised components. While dysplastic nevi share a lot of the same signs of pre-cancerous or cancerous moles, most dysplastic nevi are benign. However, a person with many dysplastic nevi is at an increased risk for skin cancer. The more dysplastic nevi a person has, the higher the risk. Regular self-examinations are important to detect changes in these types of moles.
Mole types by time
Congenital moles, also known as congenital nevi, are moles that are present at birth. They are caused by melanocyte cells in the dermis (middle layer of skin), epidermis (outer layer of skin), or both. These types of moles can range in size and are sometimes referred to as birthmarks. Congenital nevi can be at risk of developing into melanoma later in life and should be monitored as you enter adolescence and adulthood.
Acquired moles are moles that appear during childhood and adulthood. Most of these moles are benign and pose no risk, although sometimes they can turn into cancerous moles with age. This is the most common type of mole, and it is usually caused by repeated sun exposure.
Mole types by location
Junctional Melanocytic Nevi
Junctional melanocytic nevi are moles that occur from an accumulation of melanocytes where the dermis and epidermis meet. These moles are typically slightly raised with regular borders and dark pigmentation, although they can range in color from tan to dark brown. People normally acquire these moles in childhood to early adulthood, because, as we age, it is common for melanocytes to migrate down to deeper layers of the skin.
Intradermal nevi are flesh colored moles that often blend in with your surrounding skin. Their pigmentation is not as dark as junctional melanocytic nevi because they are located in the dermis, or the middle layer of your skin. These moles usually develop in late childhood or throughout adulthood and are very common and usually benign.
Compound nevi show signs of both intradermal and junctional nevi, with melanocyte cells located in the dermis and dermo-epidermis junction. These moles usually have a central raised area with flat areas around the edges. They usually have distinct borders and even pigmentation.
Other mole types to note
Halo nevi are raised moles that have a ring of skin around them that has lost pigmentation due to inflammatory infiltrating cells.Visit our clinics at Malad,Juhu and Bandra in Mumbai for all skin,hair and nail ailments.Call 9004839333 for appointments.