Pigmented moles are growths on the skin that usually are flesh-colored, brown or black. Moles occur when cells in the skin grow in a cluster instead of being spread throughout the skin.
The majority of moles appear during the first two decades of a person’s life, while about one in every 100 babies is born with moles. Acquired moles are a form of benign neoplasm, while congenital moles are considered a minor malformation and may be at a higher risk for melanoma, a serious type of skin cancer rarely seen in Indian skin. A mole can be either under the skin or a pigmented growth on the skin. The high concentration of the body’s pigmenting agent, melanin, is responsible for their dark color.
Blue nevus: It is blue in color as its melanocytes are very deep in the skin. The covering epidermis is normal.
Congenital nevus: Small to large nevus present at or near time of birth. Small ones have low potential for forming melanomas; however the risk increases with size, as in the giant pigmented nevus.
Giant pigmented nevus: these are large, pigmented, and often hairy. They are important because melanoma may (10 to 15%) appear in them.
Nevus of Ito and Nevus of Ota: congenital, flat brownish lesions on the face or shoulder.
Mongolian spot: congenital large, deep, bluish discoloration on the back of Indian babies.
The risk of moles changing to melanoma, a dangerous cancer, of small and medium-sized congenital moles is slightly increased. Many studies are currently underway to determine how much of a risk exists.
It is important to inspect congenital moles on a regular basis at home. It is recommended that a dermatologist examine the patient yearly, with serial photographs being considered for some suspect moles.
Any of these changes should prompt an evaluation by a dermatologist.
A congenital mole may develop hair growth or uniformly darken. These are expected changes and are not of concern.