A regular mole is the result of the growth of melanocytes. Many people have below 50 moles on their bodies. These growths are usually found above the waist in areas exposed to the sun. They are seldom found on the scalp, breast, or buttocks.
Formally known as dysplastic nevi, atypical moles look different from common moles. They are usually bigger than common moles, and their color, surface, and borders may be different. Atypical moles can be mixed with variations of different colors. They typically have a flat smooth, slightly scaly, or pebbly surface. They also have irregular edges that often fade into the surrounding skin.
Some people only have a few atypical moles, while others have more than 10. People who have multiple atypical moles usually also have a greater number of common moles. Most atypical moles do not turn into skin cancer, remaining stable over time. Researchers estimate that the chance of skin cancer is about ten times greater for someone with more than five atypical moles compared to someone who has none. The more atypical moles a person has, the greater the chance of developing skin cancer.
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