What is a Melanocytic Nevus?

Melanocytic Nevus is a type of skin lesion that contains nevus cells which are a type of melanocyte. Melanocytes are what produce the skin’s pigment, also known as melanin. Many people refer to Melanocytic Nevi as moles whilst others refer to the lesions are birthmarks. In terms of appearance, Melanocytic Nevi tend to be black or brown and are darker in colour compared to the rest of the skin. That being said, Melanocytic Nevi can also appear pink or flesh coloured. When it comes to the texture some Melanocytic Nevi are raised, some are flat and all vary in shape and size.

The cause of the of Melanocytic Nevi is currently unknown but studies have found that they are caused by a defect during the stages when an embryo forms and develops. This defect is said to cause an increase in pigment-producing cells. Cells then cluster together and form what are known as Melanocytic Nevi. The lesions appear pretty much anywhere on the body but are often benign meaning that they are harmless. According to the British Association of Dermatology “There is very little risk of melanoma growing from an individual mole, except for the very largest congenital melanocytic naevi. However, people with the largest numbers of moles, especially atypical or dysplastic moles, are at higher risk of developing melanoma” Inspirational people who have Melanocytic Nevi include Ciera Swaringen, Yulianna Yussef  and Cassandra Naud.

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