Becker’s Nevus

Becker’s nevus is a benign lesion occuring in all races. Although it is usually acquired, some cases are congenital. The lesions have an onset during or after puberty and are more common in males than in females.

Becker’s nevus usually appears as single lesion and ranges in size from a few centimeters in diameter to palm size or larger. It presents as a brown hairy patch on one side of the body. The shoulder, back, and area underneath the breast are commonly affected. The color of patch varies from uniformly tan to dark brown. The lesions are well demarcated, but the margins are usually irregular.

The center of the lesion may show slight thickening of the skin. Hairiness usually develops after pigmentation, and the hairs become coarser and darker with time. Becker’s nevus enlarges slowly for a year or two but then remains stable in size. Normally, the lesions are asymptomatic, but some patients report itching.

Patients with Becker’s nevus should be evaluated for soft tissue and bony abnormalities which can occasionally be associated with this condition. Treatment is usually not necessary and is usually done for cosmetic reasons. Electrolysis, waxing, camouflage makeup, surgical excision with grafting and laser treatments may be offered to the patient. The pigmented component of these lesions can be successfully treated with lasers, but recurrence rates are high and the hair remained unaffected.

James W.D., Berger T.G., Elston D.M. Andrews’ Diseases of the Skin. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier Inc, 2006, p. 687. Danarti R, Konig A, Salhi A, et al. Becker’s nevus syndrome revisited. J Am Acad Dermatol 2004; 51(6): 965-969.

External links:

Lela Lankerani, D.O.
Department of Dermatology
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine/Frankford Hospital
Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia.