What makes the question of can melanoma grow inside a pimple even more confounding is that there are some melanomas that can easily pass for a typical pimple.

Melanoma Growing Inside a Pimple

“Melanomas and pimples (acne) are two completely unrelated skin diseases,” begins Estee Williams, MD, a board certified medical, cosmetic and surgical dermatologist and assistant clinical professor in dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

She explains, “It would be a rare coincidence if a melanoma were to grow within an ordinary pimple.”

Can pimples cause melanoma?

Never. A pimple, no matter how many you have or how “bad” your acne is, will never raise the risk of melanoma.

“I do want to mention that any ‘pimple’ that does not heal after one month or so should be checked by a dermatologist since, sometimes, melanoma can look like a red bump and be mistaken for a pimple,” says Dr. Williams.

The type of melanoma that often looks very much like an innocent pimple is the nodular type, below.

Basal cell carcinoma, the most common cancer in the world, can also easily look like a pimple – but its development is never related to the presence of pimples or acne.

Do not confuse the concept of “cause” with “arise within by coincidence.”

A melanoma can grow anywhere on the skin. A pimple is not protective against DNA mutations that lead to cancer.

Thus, check your pimples – or rather, what appear to be benign blemishes – for suspicious signs, which, as Dr. Williams mentioned, include inability to heal.

If a melanoma is actually growing inside a pimple, this is a coincidence only.

Acne can obscure visible signs of any skin cancer, so take extra care to inspect portions of your skin that are covered with acne.

Dr. Williams strives to be at the forefront of her field, being active in local, national and international medical and cosmetic dermatology conferences. 
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.