What Are Those Moles That ‘Dimple’ Inward?

Ever noticed a mole on your body that dimples inward when you pinch or squeeze the skin around it? If so, you probably freaked out a little. But you can breathe a sigh of relief: Experts say you most likely have a dermatofibroma, which is a benign skin growth.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, dermatofibromas typically appear as firm plaques with a dusky red to brown color. These growths are known for retracting with a light touch — such as a gentle squeeze — giving it the so-called “dimple sign.” But despite their ability to dimple, these growths are quite firm and sometimes can feel like a stone under the skin. While they’re usually painless, some folks who have them experience a bit of tenderness or itchiness. Dermatofibromas are typically small in size, rarely growing larger than half an inch in diameter. Check out the video below from the Australian Institute of Dermatology to see detailed photos of dermatofibromas.

The exact cause of dermatofibromas remains unknown, according to Harvard Medical School. But they’re super common in adults, often appearing on the lower legs, upper arms, or upper back. Interestingly enough, dermatofibromas tend to develop very slowly. So you might not even notice that you have one of them until it reaches its full size. Since experts don’t know what causes dermatofibromas, there’s no way to prevent them. However, it is possible to remove them.

According to Healthline, the treatment options for dermatofibromas include laser therapy, freezing (with liquid nitrogen), a localized injection, or shaving the top to flatten the growth. But it’s important to keep in mind that since dermatofibromas are benign, removing them is not necessary for health reasons. However, if you think removing them for cosmetic purposes will make you happier and more confident, it’s totally up to you and your dermatologist.

If you ever have any complications with your dermatofibroma — such as bleeding, pain, or a concerning color change — talk with your doctor ASAP. Better to be safe than sorry!

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