Fighting Adult Skin Conditions: Is There Help for Your Acne?

3 Primary Types Of Skin Moles

by Art Bishop

Brown spots on the skin are either freckles or moles. Freckles are small pale brown spots on the skin. Some people have a lot of freckles, which usually appear on the arms and face. Some freckles are caused by sun exposure.

Moles on the other hand are darker and larger in appearance. People often associate moles with skin cancer. However, it is important to realize that, while some types of moles can be a sign of skin cancer, other types are completely harmless. Regular mole checks and knowing about the different types of skin moles can reduce the fear of skin cancer.

Here are three primary types of skin moles.

1. Benign Nevi

Skin moles are also called nevi. Benign nevi are completely normal and are not a sign of skin cancer. Another name for a benign nevus is a common mole.

Some typical characteristics of this type of mole include:

  • It's either black, brown, or tan, and is evenly colored.
  • It's either flat or raised.
  • It's either round or oval.
  • It's usually about 1/4 inch across.

Some people have more than one common mole. In fact, it's not uncommon for adults to have between 10 and 40 benign nevi.

2. Dysplastic Nevi

Another name for this type of mole is atypical nevi. This type of mole is usually a little bigger than the common mole, plus its edges are not always perfectly round. Dysplastic nevi are also different in color and can be a combination of colors.

Like common moles, this type of mole rarely turns into cancer. However, the more dysplastic nevi someone has, the higher their chances of skin cancer. Dysplastic nevi appear on various parts of the body, including the breast, scalp, and other parts of the body that aren't exposed to the sun.

3. Congenital Nevi

If you have had a mole since birth, or the mole developed soon after you were born, you have congenital nevi. Some people refer to congenital nevi as birthmarks.

Typical characteristics of congenital nevi include:

  • They are usually either round or oval-shaped.
  • They are usually raised on the skin.
  • They vary in size from tiny to large.

People who have several congenital nevi have a higher risk of skin cancer.

No matter what type of mole you have, if it changes in appearance, you should get it checked. During a mole check, a dermatologist will examine its asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and whether it's evolving or changing. These mole checks are imperative for catching skin cancer early.

For more information about mole checks, contact a local dermatologist.