Posted on: 14 January 2016Share
Normal moles tend to look the same over time, but in some cases, they can evolve and become halo moles. Here are four things you need to know about halo moles.
What are the signs of halo moles?
Halo moles aren't usually painful, so you'll need to do a visual inspection of your skin to notice their presence. If you develop halo moles, you'll notice that one or more of your existing moles has developed a depigmented (lighter than the rest of your skin) ring of tissue around it. This pale ring of tissue tends to be between 0.25 and 0.5 inches wide and is typically circular, with the affected mole in the center of the circle. In some cases, the depigmented tissue around the mole can become inflamed and crusted.
If you notice any changes in the appearance of your existing moles or the skin that surrounds them, make sure to seek the advice of a dermatologist.
Why do they develop?
It's well known that the sun can damage your skin, but surprisingly, your moles can be damaged by the sun, too. When your moles become damaged, your immune system may think they're foreign and attack them. This attack destroys the pigment cells within your mole, which causes the mole to fade away and in some cases vanish completely.
The immune system's attack isn't very precise, so the mole's pigment cells aren't the only ones that are destroyed: the pigment cells in the surrounding skin are destroyed, too. This is why the skin around a halo mole becomes depigmented.
Are they serious?
Halo moles are benign and therefore not serious. However, since evolution in the appearance of a mole is a warning sign of skin cancer, your dermatologist will take a biopsy of the tissue, just to be sure that your mole is actually a halo mole, and not skin cancer masquerading as a halo mole.
This procedure is simple and only takes about 15 minutes. Your dermatologist will shave off a small piece of your mole with a scalpel; this tissue sample will then be analyzed under a microscope.
How are they treated?
If your mole is confirmed to be a halo mole, no treatment is necessary. The depigmented tissue generally darkens to its normal color over a period of months or years, according to Medscape. However, this doesn't always happen, so you may be left with lightened halos on your skin. If your halos don't go away, your dermatologist may recommend concealing them with makeup.
If you've developed lightened rings around your moles, see a dermatologist like J Kent Bartruff MD PA right away to make sure nothing's wrong.