Moles with Hair in Children: What Should You Know?

Moles with hair in children require periodic medical check-ups. In general, they're benign, but it's essential to consult a physician.
Moles with Hair in Children: What Should You Know?
Maria del Carmen Hernandez

Written and verified by the dermatologist Maria del Carmen Hernandez.

Last update: 28 May, 2023

Hairy moles in children represent benign melanocytic tumors of the skin surface. They usually remain stable with respect to their behavior and size or disappear in the course of life. Their appearance may vary among children. This is because it depends on the time of acquisition of the mole, the differentiation of the cell of origin and the acquired mutations it may have.

Can hairy moles in children become malignant?

The first two decades of life are characterized by the appearance and development of moles. Therefore, it is a very important stage to control nevi. Most moles disappear or remain stable throughout life and less than 5% may undergo changes that are detected by dermoscopic examination.

Can hairs be removed from moles?

Removing hairs from moles does not increase the chances of malignancy of a pigmented lesion. On the other hand, constantly touching or scratching the mole will not transform it into a malignant lesion. However, it is not recommended to do so, as there is a higher risk of developing a secondary bacterial infection due to children’s dirty hands.

Moles that have hairs are more likely to be benign and have a very low risk of lesions.

Dermatological control in children

An annual check-up with a dermatologist is recommended to evaluate and analyze moles in children. It will also be taken into account if there have been changes in them with respect to previous visits. The frequency of visits depends to a large extent on family history, skin type and the number of moles the child has.

Itching isnot usually a sign of malignancy of hairy moles in children. Most commonly, the skin is dry and requires proper moisturizing.

Treatment of moles

In general, most moles, with or without hair, do not require any type of therapeutic management. However, those that affect the aesthetic aspect, are located in a region of the body with too much friction or the doctor indicates to remove, should be removed. In the case of giant congenital nevi, excision is indicated because the chances of developing malignant lesions can be high.

The ABCDE rule

Regular skin self-examinations decrease the depth of carcinomas at the time of diagnosis. They also facilitate a lower risk of malignant skin lesions when combined with regular visits to the dermatologist. The ABCDE rule encompasses the clinical features of these conditions:

  • A: Asymmetry: each half of the mole should be similar.
  • B: Borders: these should be smooth and clearly defined and not blurred or scalloped.
  • C: Color: one of the most frequent reasons for consultation of moles is their abnormal color.
  • D: Diameter: check the size of pigmented skin lesions, especially those that are larger than 6 millimeters or are growing.
  • E: Evolution: dome-shaped or exaggerated growth may be a warning of malignancy.

Keep in mind that moles in children are more active than those in adults. Therefore, the presence of any of these changes does not necessarily mean some degree of malignancy.

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Dermoscopy is a technique in which an instrument with magnification and light is used to make a diagnosis of pigmented or potentially malignant lesions on the skin surface.

The “ugly duckling sign


Both mole self-examination rules are complementary to each other and are not equal alternatives. Thus, the “ugly duckling sign” rule is another warning sign of malignant lesions. It centers on the concept that the vast majority of normal moles on the body are similar to each other, while malignant lesions tend to differ from the rest. In other words, all pigmented skin conditions should always be compared with each other.

Atypical lesions can be distinguished by their size, coloration or particular characteristics. Therefore, this type of mole requires more follow-up in medical controls or indication of the doctor for surgical excision.

Hairy moles in children and sun protection

It is very important to apply care and sun protection measures from an early age. This is because 80% of the damage from the sun’s rays occurs in childhood and adolescence. In this sense, protection from direct sun exposure by means of filters or physical methods is the best indication of care and prevention of malignant lesions in the future.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Everett MA. The management of congenital pigmented nevi. J Okla State Med Assoc. 1991 May;84(5):213-8. PMID: 2072185.
  • Robinson JK, Nickoloff BJ. Digital epiluminescence microscopy monitoring of high-risk patients. Arch Dermatol. 2004 Jan;140(1):49-56. doi: 10.1001/archderm.140.1.49. PMID: 14732660.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.