Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why do I have white skin around my mole?"
I started going to a tanning bed and developed some white skin around a mole on my stomach. Doctor said it was nothing but it has now been there for about 6 months. Should I worry about it? Why would I get white skin around a mole?
What you are describing is a halo mole, or a mole with a white ring around it. Halo moles are not uncommon and usually seen in individuals of all age group and gender. For unknown reasons, the body selects a particular mole or moles for destruction. Perhaps the mole is recognized as being abnormal in some way, and therefore it is selected for destruction. It is considered an autoimmune process. Your circulating antibody and special white cells attack the pigment cells in the mole to cause the central mole to fade from dark brown to light brown to pink, eventually disappearing completely. The normal skin around the mole also has pigment cells in it and is affected by some of the reaction, causing the white ring. The mole in the center of a halo is rarely malignant (cancerous). Halo moles can be seen as part of a more generalized pigment loss and are unlikely the cause for concern. Sometimes halo moles are triggered by sunburn (as in your case) which damages the mole and causes it to be recognized by the body as foreign that is to be destroyed by your autoimmune process. That being said, all halo moles need to be examined carefully by a dermatologist because a malignant mole may sometimes develop white halos around them as well. Please see your doctor soon.
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