Do you have a mole that sticks up more than the others, or maybe it’s the ONLY one that’s raised, and melanoma has barged into your mind?
There are a few things to consider if you’ve come to notice that a mole sticks up more (elevation) than the others.
“Moles that stick out are not more likely to become melanoma; they are simply a type of mole known as an intradermal nevus,” says Emily de Golian, MD, a board certified dermatologist with Forefront Dermatology in Atlanta, GA.
“The raised appearance of these moles is simply due to the architecture of the mole cells in the skin, and this architecture is unrelated to the potential of those cells to become atypical.
“In fact, scientific research indicates that nearly three-fourths of melanomas arise in previously normal skin, not from pre-existing moles.
“Of course, all moles should still be examined regularly for changes.
“However, new brown, black, asymmetrical or growing spots on the skin should be evaluated as well.”
The Mole Sticks Up – When It Used to Be Flat
This is the second consideration.
A mole that has always been raised, as Dr. de Golian pointed out, is normal and not more likely than any common flat mole to undergo a malignant transformation.
Plus, if you’ve only begun inspecting your skin for just the past few years, and thus, your discovery of that raised mole is only a few years old – what’s very reassuring is if over that time period, the mole’s appearance has stayed the same in all respects (color, size, border).
However…what if you know with absolute certainty that a mole that’s now sticking out — was previously flat?
What can make a previously flat mole become raised?
Trauma to the mole that caused bleeding can make it appear elevated from the collection of old blood on top of it. Do not pick at it.
Another explanation is that the newly raised spot was never a mole; it could be, for example, a harmless skin tag that has mimicked the appearance of a light colored mole due to its difficult-to-view location, and now it’s gotten bigger.
Moles that Are Raised … but not the Intradermal Type
“If a previously flat mole is now raised, this may be normal depending on age,” says Dr. de Golian.
“Most moles are flat in children, and as the moles mature, they sometimes (but not always) raise up into small bumps as we age, typically through the teens, 20s and perhaps early 30s.
“For patients in their early 30s or older with newly raised moles or moles with other changes, this may be suspicious for atypical cells and should be examined by a dermatologist.”
Dr. de Golian focuses on the surgical treatment of skin cancer via Mohs surgery, cutaneous oncology (melanoma and basal cell carcinoma), surgical defect reconstruction and cosmetic dermatology.
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.