Dysplastic Nevi - Atypical Moles

Dysplastic nevi, also known as atypical moles, are unusual-looking moles that can appear larger and irregularly shaped with uneven borders and variations in color. These moles may resemble melanoma, a type of skin cancer, but dysplastic nevi themselves are generally benign. However, individuals with these moles have a slightly higher risk of developing melanoma compared to those without them.

Be sure to look out for these distinct features during at-home self-examinations and notify your trusted dermatology provider at one of our offices of any suspicious moles. Schedule a total body skin exam with to keep skin healthy and allow for timely identification and proper treatment of dysplastic nevi.

Regular monitoring for any evolving moles is key for healthy skin.

What are the Symptoms of Dysplastic Nevi?

  • Atypical moles are a size that exceeds that of common moles.
  • These moles often exhibit a range of colors, including tan, brown, and red, creating an uneven or variegated appearance.
  • The shape is irregular, featuring indistinct borders.
  • They may appear either flat or slightly raised on the skin's surface, adding to their atypical nature.
  • Dysplastic nevi are known for their potential to change over time. These changes can be alterations in size, color, or overall shape.

Causes of Dysplastic Nevi

  • A family history of dysplastic nevi or melanoma indicates genetic predisposition.
  • Exposure to UV radiation.
  • Fair-skinned individuals with more moles are susceptible.

How to Prevent Dysplastic Nevi

Preventing dysplastic nevi involves a combination of sun protection measures, regular skin monitoring, and awareness of risk factors. Review the list below for key preventive measures:
  • Sun Protection Measures: Wear protective clothing, including hats and long sleeves and use broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF. Seek shade during peak sunlight hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Regular Skin Monitoring: Perform regular at-home self-exams of the skin and moles. Notify your dermatologist provider right away if you notice any unusual or evolving moles. It is also important to schedule an annual total body skin exam with one of our trusted providers.
  • Awareness of Risk Factors: Individuals with a family history of dysplastic nevi or melanoma should be particularly vigilant, as they are at higher risk.
  • Avoid Tanning Beds: Steer clear of tanning beds to reduce the risk of dysplastic nevi development.
A proactive approach to skin health, encompassing sun awareness, regular self-examinations, and professional checks, is key in preventing and detecting dysplastic nevi at an early, manageable stage. Our team of dermatology providers is always here to support you in your journey to healthy skin.

FAQs for Dysplastic Nevi

Most dysplastic nevi are not cancerous, and the majority do not develop into melanoma. However, individuals with a higher number of dysplastic nevi may have an increased risk of developing melanoma. Regular skin checks and monitoring by a dermatologist are essential.

Dysplastic nevi are often identified during routine skin examinations by a dermatologist. If a mole shows atypical features, a biopsy may be performed to determine if it is cancerous or benign. Regular skin checks and monitoring of dysplastic nevi are crucial for early detection of any changes.

While most dysplastic nevi do not transform into melanoma, individuals with dysplastic nevi have an increased risk of developing melanoma compared to those without. Regular skin examinations and self-checks are important for detecting any changes that may indicate the development of melanoma.

Yes, dysplastic nevi can develop on any part of the body. However, they are often found in areas that are regularly exposed to the sun, such as the back, chest, and limbs. It's important to conduct thorough self-examinations and have regular professional skin checks to monitor for any changes.

A total body skin exam by a dermatologist is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it serves as a proactive measure for the early detection of skin cancers, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Skin cancers are often highly treatable when identified at an early stage. A comprehensive examination allows the dermatologist to assess moles, birthmarks, and any unusual skin changes that may indicate potential issues.

Secondly, a dermatologist can identify and diagnose various skin conditions, including dermatitis, psoriasis, and infections. Early detection and treatment of these conditions can prevent them from escalating into more serious health issues.

Furthermore, a total body skin exam provides an opportunity to discuss and address any concerns or questions about skin health, sun protection, and skincare routines. Dermatologists can offer valuable guidance on skin cancer prevention, emphasizing the importance of sun protection measures, such as wearing sunscreen and protective clothing.

From Our QualDerm Family of Providers: Total Body Skin Exams

How to Treat Dysplastic Nevi

The management of dysplastic nevi, or atypical moles, involves a comprehensive approach focused on monitoring and potential removal for further evaluation or cosmetic reasons. See the list of treatment possibilities below:
  • Surveillance and Monitoring: One of our dermatologists will closely monitor dysplastic nevi due to their potential to transform into melanoma. Regular at-home self-exams are key – make sure to notify your dermatologist of any unusual or evolving moles. It is also important to schedule regular Total Body Skin Exams at one of our locations.
  • Surgical Removal: If dysplastic nevi exhibits concerning features or irregularities during our providers’ evaluations, your dermatologist may recommend an excisional biopsy or complete removal.
  • Reducing Malignancy Risk: Excisional biopsy aims to reduce the risk of potential malignancy by removing atypical moles.
  • Regular Follow-ups: Individuals with a history of dysplastic nevi or a family history of melanoma should maintain regular visits with one of our skincare experts.
  • Optimal Skin Health: While not all dysplastic nevi require treatment, their careful monitoring is crucial for optimal skin health and cancer prevention.
A collaborative approach between you and our dermatologists, involving regular surveillance, surgical intervention when necessary, and ongoing follow-ups, is key to managing dysplastic nevi and reducing the risk of melanoma. Schedule an appointment today to start your journey to healthy skin.