Skin melanocytic tumor
Blue nevi, pigmented epithelioid melanocytomas and dermal melanocytoses
Common blue nevus

Topic Completed: 1 September 2014

Minor changes: 15 July 2021

Copyright: 2003-2021,, Inc.

PubMed Search: blue nevus [title] common type

Christopher S. Hale, M.D.
Page views in 2020: 12,831
Page views in 2021 to date: 9,106
Cite this page: Hale CS. Common blue nevus. website. Accessed July 24th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Collection of benign type C melanocytes (Schwann cell-like morphology) in dermis (eMedicine)
  • Blue color due to Tyndall effect of selective absorption of parts of the light spectrum by deeply located (dermal) melanin pigment, which is usually abundant
  • No relationship to blue rubber bleb nevus syndrome (eMedicine)
  • May be due to arrested migration of immature melanocytes in dermis
  • May evolve from ordinary non-blue nevi (Ann Diagn Pathol 2007;11:160)
  • Numerous histologic variants and related entities; see also blue nevus variants and eye-conjunctiva
  • Associated with neurocutaneous melanosis
  • Young adults, particularly women
  • Usually small lesions of head, neck or upper extremity
Clinical features
  • Heavily pigmented, solitary, < 1 cm, slightly elevated or dome-shaped
Case reports
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Ill defined deep dermal proliferation of spindled (Type C) melanocytes with abundant pigment and melanophages, dissecting dermal collagen and often extending into subcutis
  • No junctional or superficial dermal involvement
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Angel Fernandez-Flores, M.D., Ph.D.
Missing Image Missing Image Missing Image Missing Image

Contributed by Mark R. Wick, M.D.
Missing Image Missing Image

Blue nevus (breast skin)

Contributed by John Irlam, D.O.




Positive stains
  • S100, HMB45, MelanA / Mart1 (Arch Pathol Lab Med 2011;135:853) and other melanocytic stains; variable CD34
  • HMB45 staining is usually diffuse; maturational pattern of staining seen in other nevi often not present
Molecular / cytogenetics description
Differential diagnosis
Back to top
Image 01 Image 02