Hairy moles have long been associated as the mark of witches and creepy old ladies, but the truth is, anyone can develop this err… distinguishing feature. In fact, in London, you’re never more than ten metres away from someone with a hairy mole. Jokes, I totally made that up.
Moles are often considered a mark of beauty but that baby sprouting hair can often be enough to send most people screaming for the tweezers. So why does this happen?
Well, there’s a type of cell found in the skin called melanocyte; it’s what gives skin it’s colour. When a group of melanocytes cluster together they produce a darker area which is often raised, this is known as the common mole. If a hair follicle gets caught up in this cluster the mole will appear to be sprouting hair. Mole hair comes in various colours, not just black but it’s not actually coming from the mole itself, just the follicle.
You may have heard stories that hairy moles are more likely to become cancerous or that plucking the hair from moles increases the risk of developing cancer. There is no scientific evidence to back this up. Since the hair grows from a trapped follicle and not the mole itself, neither the hair nor plucking it has any effect over whether a mole will develop into cancer.
The main things you should be looking out for when monitoring your moles are significant changes in appearance. The NHS suggests this handy way of remembering:
“A helpful way to remember what to look for is to use the ABCDE method.
- A – asymmetry
- B – border irregularity
- C – colour change
- D – diameter
- E – elevated (raised) or enlarged”
Obviously prevention is better than cure so remember to keep covered up in the sun and wear sunscreen.