Your Healthy Skin is Our Priority
Moles & Dysplastic Nevi
At The Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center of Wilmington, we offer comprehensive skin evaluations, diagnosis, and personalized treatment plans to address dysplastic nevi (atypical moles). Our knowledgeable and experienced dermatologists are ready to help you get back to enjoying your life.
What is Dysplastic Nevi?
Dysplastic Nevi are atypical moles that exist on the spectrum between benign and malignant. These moles may be larger than normal, often bigger than a pencil eraser, and appear irregularly shaped. They tend to have uneven color with dark, brown edges and lighter, abnormal borders.
However, though dysplastic nevi have unusual features and growth patterns, they usually are not cancerous (but some may have a higher chance of turning into a melanoma or indicate that a person may have a higher risk of developing a melanoma later in life).
Mole & Dysplastic Nevi FAQs
Though scientists and researchers haven’t discovered all of the events responsible for creating atypical moles, it’s believed there are two main drivers behind the development of dysplastic nevi: genetics and environmental factors, such as sun exposure.
Dysplastic nevi can usually be diagnosed with a thorough skin evaluation by a board-certified dermatologist. However, when checking out your skin at home, you can follow the ABCDE guideline developed by the American Academy of Dermatology:
- A for Asymmetrical: Do the two halves of a mole match up?
- B for Borders: Does the mole have an irregular perimeter?
- C for Color: Does the mole feature multiple colors or different shades of brown/black?
- D for Diameter and Dark: Is the mole larger than a pencil eraser, and is it darker than others?
- E for Evolving: Have you noticed a change in size, shape, color, or elevation of a spot?
Dysplastic nevi are not skin cancers but they may be referred to as “precanceous” given the possibility that a future melanoma may develop (within the mole itself or elsewhere on the body). Many remain stable over time and do not become melanoma. However, research suggests the chance of melanoma is about 12x greater for someone with more than 10 dysplastic nevi than for someone who has none. And the more dysplastic nevi a person has, the greater the chance of developing melanoma.