My skin mole: Pigmented skin lesions
If you have a pigmented skin lesion it could be benign. Benign lesions, such as dermal naevus look skin coloured, pink or dark. They can appear as a mole if you have dark skin. Occasionally, a pigmented skin lesion can be a melanoma. Melanomas come in a variety of colours. They can be tan, dark brown, black, blue, red, sometimes light grey. Melanomas can even be amelanotic; many have no colour whatsoever.
If you have a brown or a pink skin lesion you should see a medical dermatologist.
It may be a malignant melanoma. There are several factors to look out for:
- Change in size
- Irregular shape
- Irregular cover
You can suspect the pigmented lesion is a malignant melanoma if they show those features. A pigmented lesions larger than 7 mm, or one that is inflamed or oozing or associated with a change in sensation, is also suspicious of skin cancer.
Melanoma requires prompt and urgent referral to a consultant dermatologist. NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommend that the dermatologist takes photographs with a marker or ruler and check with a dermatoscope. Dermatoscopes look for asymmetry, border irregularity, colour irregularity, diameter greater than 7 mm and whether the lesion is evolving. If all these features are not present, the dermatologist still cannot exclude a melanoma. They will follow up with a biopsy.
Dr Jennifer Crawley is our Specialist Clinica London Dermatologist and does mole checks and biopsies for suspicious melanocytic skin lesions.