Almost all teenagers and adults have moles. They generally develop during childhood through young adulthood. They are made up of nevus (mole) cells growing in the skin. Normal moles are uniform in color and can be flat or symmetrically dome-shaped and raised.
Atypical Moles (also called Dysplastic or Clark’s Nevi)
Some people have atypical nevi. The cells in this type of mole are disorderly in growth, and can have some unusual features. These moles look atypical when examined pathologically (after a biopsy), and can look atypical to the eye. They may appear on parts of the body not exposed to the sun. Although atypical moles are not themselves cancerous, they are a marker of patients who tend to have other similar moles and are at higher risks for melanoma than patients with no atypical moles. Although melanoma can develop from an atypical mole, most atypical moles do not turn into melanoma. In general, if a clinically atypical mole is not changing and the patient and the practitioner do not suspect melanoma, it does not have to be removed (but easily can be removed if the patient is worried).