Nevus (plural: nevi) is the medical term for a mole. Nevi
are very common. Most people Trusted Source have
between 10 and 40. Common nevi are harmless collections of colored cells. They
typically appear as small brown, tan, or pink spots. You can be born with moles
or develop them later. Moles that you’re born with are known as congenital
moles. However, most moles develop during childhood and adolescence. This is
known as an acquired nevus. Moles can also develop later in life as a result of
There are many types of nevi. Some of them are harmless
and others more serious. Read on to learn about the different types and how to
know whether you should get one checked out by your doctor.
Common types of nevi
nevus: A congenital nevus is a mole that you’re born with. They’re
generally categorized as being small, medium, or giant in size. They vary in
color, shape, and consistency. Some congenital nevi cover large areas of your
nevus: A common nevus is a smooth, round mole that’s all one color. You can be
born with them, but most people develop them later in childhood. Common nevi
can be flat or dome-shaped and may appear pink, tan, or brown.
3) Dysplastic nevus: Dysplastic nevus is another
name for an atypical mole. These moles
are benign (noncancerous) but often resemble melanoma. They may feature
different colors, appear asymmetrical, or have odd borders. People with
dysplastic nevi are at higher risk of developing melanoma.
Blue nevus: A blue nevus is a
blue-colored mole that can be congenital or acquired. A common blue nevus may
appear flat or dome-shaped with a color ranging from blue-grey to blue-black.
Blue nevi are commonly found in
people of Asian descent.
Miescher nevus: It is a brownish or
skin-colored, dome-shaped mole that commonly appears on your face or neck. It’s
typically firm, round, smooth, and may have hair coming out of it.
Unna nevus: they are soft, brownish moles that
resemble Miescher nevi. They’re typically located on your trunk, arms, and
neck. An Unna nevus may resemble a raspberry.
Meyerson nevus: they are moles surrounded by a
small ring of eczema, which is an itchy,
red rash. They can appear on your skin regardless of whether you have a history
of eczema. Meyerson nevi affect men nearly three times as often
as women. Most develop around age 30.
Halo nevus: It is a mole with a white ring of unpigmented
skin around it. Over time, the mole in the center begins to fade from brown to
pink before disappearing entirely. It’s not uncommon for someone to have
several halo nevi at different stages of fading.
Spitz nevus: A Spitz nevus is a raised, pink, dome-shaped mole that
typically appears before age 20. Spitz nevi can have different color. They may
also bleed or ooze. This can make them hard to distinguish from a melanoma.
10) Reed nevus: It is a dark brown or black, raised,
dome-shaped mole that most often affects
women. These moles can grow quickly and may be mistaken for melanoma. They’re
sometimes called spindle cell nevi because of the way they appear under a
11) Agminated nevus: It refers to a cluster of
similar moles located on one area of your body. These groups of similar-looking
moles can vary in appearance and type.
If you’re unsure of what type of nevus you
have, it’s best to have your doctor or dermatologist take a look.
If your nevus seems to be changing or your
doctor isn’t sure what it is, they might perform a skin biopsy. This is the only way to confirm or rule out skin
There are a few ways to do this:
doctor uses a razor to shave off a
sample of the top layers of your skin.
doctor uses a special punch tool to remove a sample of skin that contains
both the top and deeper layers of skin.
doctor uses a scalpel to remove your entire mole and some of the other
skin around it.
Most moles are harmless and don’t require
treatment. However, if you have a mole that’s cancerous or could become
cancerous, you’ll likely need to have it removed. You can also choose to have a
benign nevus removed if you don’t like the way it looks.
Most nevi are removed with either a shave or
excisional biopsy. Your doctor will likely recommend doing an excisional biopsy
for cancerous nevi to make sure that they remove everything.
Try to get in the habit of examining your skin once
a month. Keep in mind that skin cancer can develop in areas that you can’t
easily see, so use a mirror or ask a friend to help you if you need to.
Doctors have a developed a system known as the ABCDE
method to help people identify signs of skin cancer. Here’s what to look for:
- A is for asymmetrical shape. Look
out for moles that look different on each side.
- B is for border. Moles
should have solid borders, not irregular or curvy borders.
- C is for color. Check for
any moles that contain several colors or uneven and splotchy color. Also
note if any have changed in color.
- D is for diameter. Keep an
eye on moles that are larger than a pencil eraser.
- E is for evolving. Look
for any changes in a mole’s size, color, shape, or height. Also watch for
any new symptoms, such as bleeding or itchiness.
You can keep track of your existing moles and
changes by using this body map and chart from the American
Academy of Dermatology.
Nevi come in many shapes and sizes but
most of them are harmless. Still, it’s important to keep an eye on your moles
because changes could indicate a problem. If you’re worried about one or more
of your moles, don’t hesitate to get it checked out by your doctor. They can do
a biopsy to rule out skin cancer.