Moles are hassle enough as it is – they often don’t look great, they can be irritated by your clothes rubbing on them, and you have to watch them to ensure they’re not turning cancerous.
So having a hair growing out of a mole is a double annoyance, especially if it’s on your face!
Moles are an accumulation of melanin – the pigment that gives your skin its colour – clustered in one area on the skin.
Normal moles are usually evenly coloured and shaped, but can be brown, tan or black, raised or flat, round or oval-shaped, with a smooth surface. A small proportion of moles can turn into cancer, so it’s important to check your moles for changes in shape, colour or texture, with the development of an uneven shape or darker colour being two of the warning signs.
Moles may also contain a hair follicle. If it does, the melanin that gives the mole its colour can also cause the hair to grow out of it to be more coarse and dark than normal. Thus the mole with the unsightly long, dark hair poking straight out of it that we’d all prefer to get rid of.
Luckily, having a hair growing out of a mole is harmless, and it’s fine to remove it, doctors say.
Cancer non-profit Livestrong recommends first checking the mole to ensure it’s not a danger to your health. Then you can pluck the hair or, if you find that painful, cut it off close to the skin. If you prefer a more permanent solution, electrolysis and laser treatment are fine to explore, as long as your doctor approves.
Be warned, though, that frequent plucking can damage the follicle, which will cause the hair to become thinner and more likely to become ingrown. And bleaching isn’t recommended without checking with your doctor first, in case it irritates the mole.
As a last resort, you could learn to embrace the look, as people do in China, where ‘reading’ facial moles is a type of fortune-telling, with the placement of the mole on the face indicating specific events in one’s future. According to the art of mole reading, a mole with hair is particularly fortunate, because it indicates wealth and education.
This article originally appeared on Starts at 60.