Skin Conditions that Mimic Melanoma

Several conditions resemble or mimic your melanoma that are benign growths, tumors, or other skin conditions. If you notice symptoms of one of these conditions, consult your provider (dermatologist). Your healthcare provider rules these melanoma mimickers when diagnosing your melanoma

Age or Liver Spots

Hyperpigmentation or skin discolorations can happen as your skin ages. However, these discolorations often happen to older people. Age or liver spots 1 are skin lesions that can mimic your melanoma. These spots are flat, pigmented (brown or dark brown) from chronic sun exposure. These spots can occur anywhere on your body. However, they usually occur in areas frequently exposed to the sun, such as your arms, hands, and face. Age or liver spots are not life-threatening. However, having them increases your risk of developing skin cancer.

Blue Nevus (Blue Mole)

A blue nevus 2 is an acquired noncancerous tumor that mimics melanoma. These tumors 3 appear gray, dark blue, or black because of their pigmentation. Often, these tumors present in childhood or adolescence on the buttocks. They can occur on the back of their hands, feet, face, or scalp. However, blue nevi are less likely to appear in those places.


Dermafibromas 4 are common skin lesions that mimic melanoma. They are noncancerous lesions that occur in isolation or multiples. These lesions present as small, dome-shaped masses of tissue on your extremities. Sometimes, they can develop on your face 5. Dermafibromas develop slowly over time and can even become stable and regress on their own.


Keratoacanthoma (KA) is a skin lesion resulting from skin damaged by excessive sun exposure and hair follicles 6. Quite often, KA affects the parts of your body with the most sun exposure, such as your face (nose, cheeks, lips) and hands. These lesions grow fast. However, they can suddenly stop and regress without treatment. In some people, they appear before skin cancer. Contact your provider if you believe you have KA.

Pyogenic Granuloma

Pyogenic Granuloma (PG) 7 is a benign skin tumor associated with certain medications, like contraceptives and retinoids. These tumors are fast-growing. They present as small, raised lesions. However, they can grow to be large, combined lesions. Unlike melanoma, the tumors caused by PG bleed. 8.

Seborrheic Keratosis (Benign Tumor)

Seborrheic Keratosis (SK) 9 is a common kind of benign skin tumor that mimics melanoma. Experts do not know what causes SK. However, it is commonly associated with aging skin and possible UV exposure. SK causes pigmented lesions on the lower extremities and forehead.