Common types of moles

There are several types of melanocytic nevi, and they can vary in appearance.
Written by
Toby Nelson
Published on
February 8, 2024

Melanocytic naevi, commonly known as moles, are benign(non-cancerous) growths on the skin composed of melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells. There are several types of melanocytic nevi, and they can vary in appearance.

Here are some common types:


Junctional Naevus: This type of nevus is typically flat and darkly pigmented, occurring at the junction of the epidermis and dermis. It is often brown and has well-defined borders.


Compound Naevus: This type extends into the dermis, and it consists of both junctional and dermal components. Compound nevi may appear slightly raised compared to junctional nevi.


Intra Dermal Naevus: Dermal nevi are elevated, flesh-coloured, or lightly pigmented moles that are located in the dermal layer of the skin. They may become more apparent during puberty.


Blue Naevus: Blue nevi are characterised by their blue to blue-black colour and often have a firm texture. They are usually found on the hands, feet, scalp, or buttocks.


Spitz Nevus (Spitzoid Melanocytic Nevus): Spitz nevi can be pink, red, or brown and often have a dome-shaped appearance. They are more common in children and may resemble melanoma clinically but are generally benign.


Halo Naevus: In this type, the mole is surrounded by adepigmented or hypopigmented "halo." This phenomenon is thought to be related to an immune response targeting the nevus.


Dysplastic Naevus (Atypical Naevus): Dysplastic nevi often have irregular borders, uneven coloration, and may be larger than typical moles. While most dysplastic nevi are benign, having multiple dysplastic nevi can be a risk factor for melanoma.


It's essential to monitor moles for any changes in size, shape, colour, or texture, as these changes may indicate the development of melanoma. If you notice any suspicious changes, it's crucial to seek the evaluation of a dermatologist for further examination and potential biopsy. Regular skin self-exams and professional skin checks are important for the early detection of skin cancers, including melanoma.

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