medical condition:



Dysplastic nevi, also known as atypical moles, are abnormal moles that exhibit certain atypical features. Unlike common moles, which are usually uniform in color and symmetrical, dysplastic nevi often display:

  • Larger size: They tend to be wider than 6 millimeters (about the size of a pencil eraser).
  • Irregular borders: Their edges are uneven, notched, or blurred.
  • Varied colors: They may exhibit a blend of brown, tan, pink, and red hues within the same mole.

The presence of two or more of these characteristics raises suspicion for a dysplastic nevus.

Common Moles Vs. Dysplastic Nevi


Many people have moles, and it can be difficult to tell the difference between a common mole and one that may be more concerning. Here’s a breakdown of the key differences between common moles and dysplastic nevi:

  • Size: Common moles are typically smaller than 6 millimeters (about the size of a pencil eraser), while dysplastic nevi are often larger than 6 millimeters.
  • Shape: Common moles are usually round or oval with smooth, symmetrical borders. Dysplastic nevi, on the other hand, have irregular borders that may be notched or blurred.
  • Color: Common moles are usually uniform in color, whereas dysplastic nevi can have a mixture of brown, tan, pink, and red hues within the same mole.
  • Risk of Melanoma: Common moles have a low risk of developing into melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer. Dysplastic nevi, however, have an increased risk of turning into melanoma, especially if you have many of them, have a family history of melanoma, or have had excessive sun exposure.

Can An Atypical Mole Turn Into Melanoma?

While most dysplastic nevi remain benign, they carry a higher risk of progressing to melanoma compared to common moles. The exact risk varies depending on individual factors such as the number of dysplastic nevi, family history of melanoma, and personal ultraviolet (UV) exposure. It is crucial to note that not all dysplastic nevi become cancerous, but their atypical characteristics warrant monitoring and professional evaluation.

Young woman with acne problem near mirror in bathroom

Causes and Risks: Factors Behind Dysplastic Nevi

The exact cause of dysplastic nevi remains unknown, but certain factors contribute to their development:

  • Genetics: Inherited genetic mutations play a role in some cases.
  • Sun exposure: Excessive UV exposure is a significant risk factor.
  • Fair skin: Individuals with lighter skin tones are more prone to developing dysplastic nevi.

Diagnosing Dysplastic Nevi: Expert Approaches to Accurate Identification

Early and accurate diagnosis of dysplastic nevi is crucial for monitoring and potentially reducing the risk of melanoma. Dermatologists employ various methods for diagnosis:

  • Visual examination: A thorough skin examination by a dermatologist is the first step.
  • Dermoscopy: This non-invasive technique uses a specialized magnifying device to visualize the mole’s structure in greater detail, aiding in identifying atypical features.
  • Biopsy: In some cases, a small tissue sample from the mole may be biopsied for microscopic examination to confirm the diagnosis.

Should Dysplastic Nevi Be Removed?

The decision to remove a dysplastic nevus depends on several factors, including:

  • Individual risk factors: Age, family history, and number of dysplastic nevi influence the decision.
  • Appearance of the nevus: Significant changes in size, color, or shape warrant removal.
  • Patient preference: Some patients opt for removal for peace of mind, even if the risk of melanoma is low.

Managing a Dysplastic Nevus: Your Treatment Options

Several options exist for removing dysplastic nevi, each with its advantages and considerations:

Surgical Excision:

  • The most common approach, minimizing the risk of leaving cancerous cells behind and offering a definitive diagnosis.
  • A potential downside: scarring, though minimal with precise techniques.

Laser Ablation:

  • Quicker than surgery and often leaves minimal scarring, but not suitable for all nevi, especially thicker ones.
  • May require multiple sessions.


  • Minimally invasive and leaves minimal scarring, but not suitable for large or deeply set nevi, requiring multiple sessions for thicker ones.


  • Less commonly used due to limited removal depth and potential for incomplete removal, potentially leaving scarring.

Schedule A Consultation

For personalized evaluation and guidance, schedule a consultation with Ayana Dermatology & Aesthetics. Our experienced dermatologists will assess your condition, identify contributing factors, and tailor a treatment plan to your unique needs.

Customer Love: Our Reviews Speak for Themselves

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I had a great experience at Ayana Dermatology! Dr. Levi is a fantastic physician. She was very kind to me and thorough in her exam. You can clearly see she has a passion for her career and patients. Her clinic is beautiful and clean. Staff was kind and welcoming. I am happy to have found my dermatologist!
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My experience at Ayana has been nothing short of amazing! I came to Dr. Levi for hair loss, and she took the time to really listen to me and discussed all treatment options with me in detail. Not only do I feel cared for by everyone at the office, but I have also seen significant improvement in my hair growth using Dr. Levi's medical advice and treatment approach. Go to Ayana if you want results and the best care in South FL!
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So blessed to have a AYANA DERMATOLOGY in Wilton Manors!! Good bye med spas - overpriced and lack quality control. Dr. Cherise Mizrahi-Levi Is generous with her knowledge and time. I love learning about how to care for my skin without the med spa gimmicks.
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I am from Miami Beach and now live in Orlando. I am frequently in Fort Lauderdale because that is where my kids live. I have been to many dermatologists over the years. Dr. Levi is by far the best dermatologist I have ever seen. Her attention to detail is incredible. She is highly intelligent and is great at communicating what is going on. I can't put into words how great of a doctor she is. highly recommend her!
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The best derm experience I’ve ever had, truly. I felt well taken care of by the entire team. Dr. Levi is warm, caring, and incredibly knowledgeable regarding all aspects of dermatology. She took her time to explain everything from A-Z so I didn’t leave with any worries or concerns. I highly recommend this practice! Experienced skin care professionals, Amazing results, Expert facials, Licensed skin care professionals, Professional products, Beautiful results.
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Thank you for the knowledge, explanation and special treatment Dr. Cherise M. Levi you're the best! Beautiful place, so peaceful & great team! Definitely going to see you soon again 🙂
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Wonderful, caring doctor. Takes her time with patients. Never rushes. Listens to patient & makes informed recommendations. Great support staff. Makes good recommendations for skin care products. Will continue to go to Ayana Dermatology for skin cancer checks.
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Beautiful office great staff very professional the doctor comes with a magnificent history in the industry in NYC she makes you feel very comfortable and i have total confidence in her decisions and advice so glad i found her!

Frequently asked questions

Regular skin checks by a dermatologist are recommended, with the frequency determined by individual risk factors and the presence of dysplastic nevi. Early detection is key to effective management.

Yes, excessive sun exposure can worsen dysplastic nevi and increase the risk of melanoma. Sun protection is paramount.

It’s important to discuss any concerns with your dermatologist. While one nevus might not raise significant alarm, they can assess your risk and recommend appropriate management strategies.

Your dermatologist will provide specific post-removal care instructions. Regular skin checks and continued sun protection remain crucial.

Limiting sun exposure, avoiding tanning beds, and adopting a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercise can contribute to overall skin health and potentially reduce cancer risk.

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