3 Common Skin Mole Types

3 Common Skin Mole Types

Moles or nevi as they are also known are small, generally round spots of dark colored tissue on the skin. They are mostly non-cancerous (benign) and offer no cause for concern, however there are risks and it is important to know the various different types of moles in order to be able to evaluate them successfully.

Common Moles

The common mole is normally small and round or oval in shape. These moles can be raised from the skin, forming a small lump of soft, dark colored tissue, or they can be flat, like a larger darker freckle.

skin moleEach of the moles will be present at birth, but normally not visible. They will change over the years, becoming larger, darker and possibly protruding from the surrounding skin. These changes tend to occur within the first twenty or thirty years of a person’s life, with most people finding between ten and forty moles around their body. More information: what causes moles?

The majority of moles are not harmful and many people may never need to take any action against them or if they do, it is more likely to be down to the fact that the mole is in a position where it keeps getting caught on clothing, or possible for cosmetic reasons.

Congenital Moles

Congenital moles (moles which are present from birth) can be found on 1% of people. These particular types of skin moles are further categorized into two groups:

  • Giant nevi – Over 20cm wide
  • Small nevi – Under 1.5 cm wide

In addition to the sheer size, ease of removal also helps to categorize the moles as well as whereabouts on the body the mole is. Those that take up a large amount of an area on the body such as a finger or the neck would be considered large, as would a mole which would need skin grafts after removal.

Congenital moles are one of the various types of moles which carry an increased risk of cancer and should be monitored closely.

Atypical moles

Also known as dysplastic nevi, atypical moles are irregular in shape and are greater in length than the average mole. They will normally differ in color, having a darker center with the color lightening and fading towards a rough border. In some cases, darker spots can be found around the border or the border itself could have a different colored hue (red, yellow, green)

People who suffer with atypical mole syndrome often inherit the condition from a close family member and may find over 100 moles around their body. The sheer amount of moles alone puts people with this condition at a higher risk of contracting melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer.

Checking moles

Although there are types of moles on the skin which carry more risks than others, it is important to check all moles regularly for any changes to their size, shape and color. Should any changes occur, no matter how small they are, or if a new mole appears, then medical advice should be sought. We recommend you to read our article about the abcde method for identifying signs of cancerous moles.