Atypical Moles

ATYPICAL MOLES (also called Dysplastic Nevi) are unusual-looking moles that have an unknown biologic potential of turning into a skin cancer called Melanoma.

Since atypical moles may resemble melanoma we sample them and then make treatment recommendations based off of the pathology report.


  • We think that mildly atypical moles have such a low potential of turning into a skin cancer that just monitoring them is sufficient.
  • There is a lot of debate on what to do with moderately atypical moles and you need to have a conversation with your Provider to determine what is best for you.
  • We think that severely atypical moles should be excised.

While we do not exactly know how many atypical moles will turn into melanoma, we do know that people who have them are at increased risk of developing melanoma during their lifetime. The higher the number of these atypical moles someone has, the higher the risk.

Genetics play a role in the formation of these atypical moles as they tend to run in families. Those with atypical moles and a family history of melanoma are at much higher risk of developing melanoma. Also, people who have lots of moles, over 50, are at increased risk of developing melanoma. Everyone, including those who have atypical moles, should protect themselves from the sun, perform monthly self-skin examinations and yearly get full body skin exams by a dermatologist.