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Different Types of Moles on Skin & Face (with Pictures)

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You are perhaps wondering, “is my mole likely to develop into melanoma?” Well, this article will look at the different types of moles normally found on the skin and face. We’ll highlight the various types of cancerous moles and list several pictures showing the various types of moles for a more complete understanding of this common skin condition.

Different Types of Moles

There are numerous types of moles which can be distinguished from their color, size, and shape among other parameters. The term ‘Nevi” is usually used to describe the various forms of moles and it is not uncommon to hear your dermatologist throw it around when describing your type of mole particularly if you have more than 1 mole. With that in mind, let’s now look at the different types of moles:

Congenital nevi (congenital moles)

Congenital nevi or congenital moles if you like are small to large moles that are present at birth. It is estimated that 1 in every 100 people is born with a mole (that is a congenital nevi).

Congenital nevi
Congenital nevi

Congenital nevi are more likely to develop into melanoma – a serious and aggressive form of skin cancer – than moles that occur later on in life. The risk of a congenital nevi developing into melanoma increases with the increasing size of congenital nevi. That is to say that small congenital nevi are less likely to develop into melanoma that the larger ones.

It is therefore important that a congenital nevi is examined by a dermatologist or any other health care professional if its diameter is larger than the width of a pencil eraser or shows any of the characteristics of the ABCDEs of melanoma where the letters stand for Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter, and Evolving  respectively.

You should routinely check congenital nevi (or birthmarks as you may be accustomed to calling them) and report any changes to a dermatologist. If a dermatologist finds that the mole requires further evaluation or even removal (yes, a mole can be removed) he/she will advise accordingly.

Further examination may involve a biopsy of tissues taken from the mole and if the mole is found to be cancerous, its removal (of course by surgery) will help to prevent a spread of the cancerous cells.

Dysplastic nevi (atypical mole)

Atypical mole
Atypical mole

Also referred to as atypical moles, Dysplastic nevi have a larger than average size, typically more than a pencil eraser’s width. Atypical moles tend to be hereditary and are rather rare.

They are also characterized by an irregular shape (not as round as moles normally look like) and more than one shade of color, with the colors typically drawn from among brown, tan, pink and red. The color tends to be brown at the center with lighter shades of color occurring towards the edges.

These characteristics make it easy to confuse dysplastic nevi (atypical moles) for melanoma even though they are not necessarily cancerous. According to the WebMD, people with dysplastic nevi may have over one hundred moles and are typically at a relatively greater risk of developing melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you are more likely to get melanoma if you have more than 4 dysplastic nevi, have suffered from melanoma in the past, or a first-degree relative – parent, sibling or child – has had melanoma in the past.

Blue nevus
Blue nevus

If any changes are noted on any of the atypical moles, you should seek the attention of a dermatologist. A biopsy is often needed to evaluate the skin tissues for cancer and if the tissues are found to be cancerous, surgery is typically done to remove it.

Atypical moles, or Dysplastic nevi for the semantics-mindedJ, can occur anywhere on your body but tend to occur more frequently on the trunk. Scalp, neck and head are also likely to get atypical moles but these types of moles hardly occur

Other types of moles

Blue nevi: moles that are dark blue in color

Halo nevi moles that have a white ring around it owing to loss of color in the surrounding skin

Types of Normal Moles Pictures

The pictures below show numerous types of normal moles. All these moles are not a cause for concern unless any change is detected be it in shape, size or color.

Normal raised mole
Normal mole 1
Flat normal mole
Normal mole 2
Atypical mole
Normal mole 3


Normal mole 1

This picture shows a normal raised mole with uniform color and smooth edges. If you have such a mole, it is still a good idea to periodically examine it for any changes. If the mole is in a tricky location where you are not able to observe it easily, you can always use a mirror or ask someone to examine it for you.

Normal mole 2

Unlike the first picture which showed a raised mole, this picture shows a flat mole that is symmetrical in shape and has only one shade of color (brown).

Normal mole 3

The above picture shows a dysplastic nevus, or an atypical mole if you like, notice how irregular the borders are and the relatively larger size. Although not cancerous, such a mole has higher chances of developing melanoma and needs to be watched closely.

Types of Cancerous Moles

Rather than types of cancerous moles, it is perhaps better to highlight how to go about identifying cancerous moles.

Multicoloured mole
Multicoloured mole

Below are various tell-tale signs that your mole may have become cancerous. Should you spot any of the following signs, you should get medical attention immediately:

  • The mole has developed numerous shades of color, typically more than 2
  • The mole had uneven or irregular borders
  • The mole has increased in size and is larger than a pencil’s width
  • The mole has taken on an irregular shape that if the mole was to be cut into two sections, they would not mirror over each other
  • The mole seems to be evolving. For example, the mole might suddenly start itching, bleeding, oozing, or even change texture

The  ABCDEs of melanoma will come in handy in your examination of a mole.

Types of Moles on Skin

What types of moles can occur on the skin? Well the answer is any. Yes, the skin can get any type of mole. Although most moles typically have a brownish appearance, the mole on your skin could have another shade of color such as tan, black, red, pink, and although rarely, blue.

In normal circumstances, the moles occurring on the skin have a round shape and smooth edges and are either raised or flat. Irregularly shaped moles on the skin need to be checked by a doctor to rule out melanoma, a type of skin cancer.

Types of Moles on Face

As I was reading around on the internet, I came across the question, “What types of moles occur on the face?”

Well, on a general scale, moles can develop in any part of the body including the trunk, scalp, neck, head and face. Any type of mole can occur on the face but as we have already mentioned atypical moles rarely occur on the face.

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