Melanoma in Residual Cells?

I accidentally rubbed off a very small, round brown mole that had appeared on my knee about a year ago. I was looking at it closely because I was trying to remember the shade of brown it was when I first noticed it as compared to a year later. The skin just kind of rubbed off and now it has healed over with no sign of pigmentation. If it was an early melanoma will it continue to grow under the skin to the point where it could spread without there being evidence on the surface of the skin?

Answers (7)

Melanoma in Residual Cells?

Thank you for your question. It is unlikely that you have rubbed off a melanoma, which grows superficially and deep. It sounds like a benign growth, called seborrheic keratoses, which can look like a mole and is commonly rubbed or scratched off. I would recommend seeing a Board Certified Dermatologist for a skin cancer screening. I hope this helps.


Melanomas are deep in the dermis so it is highly unlikely that you rubbed of a melanoma.  I would still highly recommend that you see your dermatologist for a skin cancer screening.  

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
242 reviews

Skin cancer specialist in Los Angeles

Melanomas can only be diagnosed by pathology.  It would be advisable to always seek the advice of a skin cancer specialist if you have any doubts. Raffy Karamanoukian, Los Angeles

Melanoma in Residual Cells?


You are unlikely to rub off a melanoma.  Melanomas are usually deeper in the skin layers.  You have most likely rubbed off a seborrheic keratosis.


Stephen Salerno


MELANOMA detection

If you can rub off a skin tag or keratosis , it is not a melanoma so relax.   Melanoma are well attached to you and will not rub off.  Melanomas are in the deep epidermis and need to be surgically excised to be removed.  If it will give you peace of mind, go have your dermatologist look you over.  You are and will be fine.  No worry.  My Best  Dr C

George Commons, MD
George Commons, MD
Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
37 reviews

Fortunatley you're safe

it's a common problem...we call it a seborrehic keratosis...very common...they're usually brownish but  sometimes they can have a variety of colors...and they frequently seem to rub off or fall off without a trace...not uncommonly return at the original site or may develop a variety of long as nothing looks abnormal at the site, don't worry...remember melanomas don't rub off without a trace of pigment...

Ken Landow, MD
Las Vegas Dermatologist

I rubbed skin off, what if it was melanoma?

If the skin "rubbed off" are you sure it wasn't just dirt or something stuck there. Skin with issues doesn't rub off. If it was something, it will reappear. If there's nothing on the skin, no doctor is just doing to cut in a do a biopsy. Wait and watch, and then go to a doctor if something reappears.

F. Victor Rueckl, MD
F. Victor Rueckl, MD
Las Vegas Dermatologist
19 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.

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