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Does pulling hair out of a mole turn it cancerous?

No. ''You can do anything you want to a mole, pretty much," said Dr. Bernard Cohen, interim chair of dermatology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. ''If you want to pluck, shave, wax, or use electrolysis on a mole, there's no evidence that this will cause a melanoma, or any other kind of skin cancer."

The only caution about moles, he added, is that it's a good idea to keep them out of the sun, which means being sure to put sunscreens on moles as well as the rest of your skin.

Perhaps the fear that plucking hairs from moles is linked to cancer stems from the fact that every once in a while, ''a mole may turn malignant by itself, and then you might blame what was done to it," said Dr. Amal Kurban, a professor of dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine. But basically, he said, ''it's very simple -- removing hair from a mole usually doesn't disrupt the cells."

Plucking hair from a mole could lead to inflammation, however.

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