Halo Nevus (Mole)
What is halo nevus?
The term “halo” refers to the white spots on the skin. These are called “nevi”. Nevi are not just white spots, but they have other characteristics such as being round or oval in shape, and having some coloration. They may appear anywhere on the body. However, they tend to occur most commonly on the face, hands, feet and sometimes elsewhere.
In general, there are two types of halo nevi:
1. Benign: When the white spots are flesh-colored or orange, they are known as “epidermal nevi”.
These types of halo nevi are uncommon and usually do not increase in size over time.
The epidermal nevus is the most common type of halo nevus. They are sometimes also referred to as “stellate” nevi.
2. Malignant: When the white spots are white, they are known as “dermal nevi”.
These types of halo nevus are less common and increase in size over time.
The dermal nevus is the second most common type of halo nevus. They are sometimes also referred to as “lymphatic” nevi.
What causes these types of halo nevi?
It is not completely clear what causes halo nevi. It is likely a combination of genetics and environment.
What are the signs and symptoms of halo nevus?
Halo nevi may not present any signs or symptoms. When they do, the signs and symptoms may include the following:
1. Benign: epidermal nevus may not cause any issues.
However, when this type of halo nevus appears on the soles of the feet it may cause painful thickening of the skin.
2. Malignant: does not cause any issues when it first appears.
However, it may develop into a type of skin cancer called “malignant melanoma”. The risk of this happening is low. For example, the risk of a person in the general population developing malignant melanoma is about 1 in 58. However, the risk of a person with a dermal nevus developing malignant melanoma is about 1 in 4500.
Other signs and symptoms of dermal nevus may include:
How is halo nevus diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. If they suspect you have a halo nevus, you may be referred to a dermatologist. Your dermatologist or doctor will perform a biopsy.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Halo nevi (DM Wayte, EB Helwig – Cancer, 1968 – Wiley Online Library)
- Ultrastructural evidence for destruction in the halo nevus (JB Jacobs, LM Edelstein, LM Snyder, N Fortier – Cancer research, 1975 – AACR)
- Development and elimination of pigmented moles, and the anatomical distribution of primary malignant melanoma (EM Nicholls – Cancer, 1973 – Wiley Online Library)
- Halo Nevus: Leukoderma Centrifugum Acquisitum (Sutton); Leukopigmentary Nevus (S FELDMAN, IM LASHINSKY – Archives of Dermatology and …, 1936 – jamanetwork.com)
- Halo nevus or halo phenomenon? A study of 142 cases (MA Mooney, RJ Barr, MG Buxton – Journal of cutaneous …, 1995 – Wiley Online Library)
- Analysis of major histocompatibility antigens and the mononuclear cell infiltrate in halo nevi (W Bergman, R Willemze, C De Graaff-Reitsma… – Journal of investigative …, 1985 – Elsevier)
- Leukoderma acquisitum centrifugum: halo nevus and other hypomelanoses associated with neoplasms (JP Ortonne, DB Mosher, TB Fitzpatrick – Vitiligo and other hypomelanoses …, 1983 – Springer)
- Halo nevus with exceptional clinical features: Apparent arrest of nevus cell degeneration and return of pigment to halo (A Berman – Archives of dermatology, 1978 – jamanetwork.com)
- Behavior of pigment cells on lesions of the pigmented nevus with vitiligo (T Hamada, HF Sakurane, T Saito – The Journal of Dermatology, 1979 – Wiley Online Library)