Proposal for a clinical–dermoscopic classification of scalp naevi


  • Funding sources The study was supported in part by the Italian Ministry of Health (RF-2010-2316524) and Austrian Cancer Aid/Styria.
  • Conflicts of interest None declared.



Recent research suggests that scalp naevi differ with respect to their epidemiology, patient characteristics and morphological patterns, but currently a classification of scalp naevi is lacking.


To investigate the prevalence, together with clinical and dermoscopic features, of scalp naevi detected in persons attending a skin cancer screening programme, and to elaborate a classification of scalp naevi based on their most common morphological patterns.


Participants were recruited during the melanoma prevention programme ‘sun watch’ of Austrian Cancer Aid in Styria. Each participant received a clinical and dermoscopic total-body skin examination including the scalp. For each participant, demographics and clinical characteristics including number of scalp naevi were recorded. Clinical and dermoscopic photographs of at least one scalp naevus per participant were taken and evaluated for specific clinical and dermoscopic features.


In total 867 subjects, including 119 participants (13·7%) with scalp naevi, participated in the study. Compared with those without scalp naevi, subjects with scalp naevi were significantly younger, were more often men and more often exhibited congenital naevi on the body (< 0·01 for all). Analysis of the clinical and dermoscopic variability of scalp naevi allowed for a proposal to classify scalp naevi into six main groups, namely common, papillomatous, eclipse, congenital, blue and atypical naevus.


Scalp naevi can be classified into six morphological groups; scalp lesions deviating from these six main patterns should be carefully managed to rule out melanoma.