Moles are generally non-cancerous skin growths that may appear anywhere on the body and practically everyone has them. It is highly important to differentiate them from melanoma, which represents a potential risk for our health. Unlike melanomas, which present specific features, benign moles are usually symmetrical in color, shape and do not suffer radical changes in diameter (6 mm- Moles or melanocytic nevi are caused by an abnormal accumulation of melanocytes or pigment skin cells.

Nevi vary in color, but usually have a brownish nuance, although there are cases of darker shades or even skin colored. They are flat or dome-shaped and generally smooth, and in some cases presenting a few hairs around them. They can appear at birth or immediately after – congenital nevi, or later on in life, until the age of 25 – acquired nevi. Their number normally increases until puberty, but can also appear during pregnancy or due to an excessive sun exposure during peak hours.

There are various types of benign or harmless moles that do not endanger our health whatsoever, but can still represent unaesthetic or uncomfortable aspects. One type of harmless moles is the Junctional nevi which usually appear after 2 years from birth, representing a cluster of naevus cells shaped like fine papules varying in color from brown to black (in darker skin where there is hyperpigmentation).

Compound melanocytic nevi are relatively center elevated, round or oval, light brown or skin-colored moles with a size of 0,6 cm. Their surface can be smooth or irregular, resembling a wart and can present hair. Compound nevi grow in height with age. A version of compound nevi is the Halo naevus or the Sutton naevus which has a white halo around the mole, which will gradually fade away n disappear in time.

Dermal nevi are more raised structures than the compound nevi, usually having a dome shape. These moles are thicker and present naevus cell “nests” within the dermis, being either pigmented or skin-colored. They can reach 1 cm in size, with a smooth, wrinkled or wart-like surface. These are the moles that usually get caught in clothes or can be easily scratched, causing bleeding.
Congenital nevi, also known as birthmarks develop before birth and appear in newborns. These nevi are usually flat, brown or black, although in some cases they can also be pink or red. Birthmarks range from small formations to giant lesions that can cover a considerable part of the face, trunk or extremities, reaching up to 20 cm in size. These moles are generally benign, however, their permanent monitoring is strongly recommended.

The Spilus naevus is represented by an oval, café-au-lait colored spot that presents on its surface a series of hyper pigmented darker dots. In some cases, this mole can have an irregular shape, it’s usually hairless and its size varies from 1 to 20 cm.
Blue nevi are round, slightly elevated formations, their development usually occurring during childhood. They contain a high concentration of brown pigment which is deeply maintained within the skin, causing a blue shade. The blue nevi’s dimensions do not usually exceed 0,6 cm and appear on the body’s extremities.

Spitz nevi vary in size, but do not usually exceed 1 cm in their diameter. They are dome-shaped and generally pink, mostly appearing on children’s heads and in teenagers.
As we have previously mentioned, melanocytic nevi or moles are usually benign formations, however, environmental (UV radiations) or genetic factors can trigger their alteration. That’s why it’s highly recommended for you to monitor moles on a periodical basis, both on your own and by a dermatologist. Renew Skin & Health Clinic is at your disposal and invites you for a consultation with one of our doctors to clarify or solve any problem you may be facing regarding moles.