True confession: I have many huge moles on my back. I think they are disgusting and I have to get them looked at by a Dermatologist every six months. I have them removed if they get too big. Several years ago, I was lamenting to my Doctor about how I hated to have so many moles, but he interrupted my complaining with the following words:
“Heather, there is actually one really good thing about having a lot of moles. People with a lot of moles age more slowly than those with less moles. So, you will stay younger longer! By seven years, actually.”
That got my attention, so I googled it, and sure enough, it’s true. According to one article:
- People who have a higher mole count tend to age slower than those who have fewer moles (think: 100 moles compared to 25, says research published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention.) The study observed more than 900 sets of twins—comparing the differences between their DNA—and found that those who had a higher mole count were less vulnerable to the effects of skin aging (the difference equated to about 6 to 7 years of aging). http://www.menshealth.com/health/is-your-body-7-years-younger-than-your-age.
According to another article, which gets more into the weeds (you can skip this section if you don’t like weeds):
- The reason for these links are unclear, but researchers have noticed that people with large numbers of moles have differences in the strands of DNA in each cell which carry their genetic code. Sections on the end of these strands are called telomeres, and are effectively a countdown timer governing the number of times a cell can divide to produce new cells. The longer the telomere, the more cell divisions can take place over a lifetime – and more moles were linked to longer telomeres. Dr Bataille, who presented her findings at a Royal Society of Medicine conference, suggested that moles were a visible product of the underlying system which controls body ageing. She said: “Some people will have two moles, some people will have 600, but when you have a patient with lots of moles, we noticed they tended to age better.” http://www.bbc.com/news/health-11813378
But before you get too excited, having a lot of moles means that your risk for cancer increases. Here is a nutshell if what you should look out for:
- Moles that increases in size.
- An outline of a mole that becomes notched.
- A spot that changes color from brown to black or is varied.
- A spot that becomes raised or develops a lump within it.
I guess there are two sides to every mole.
In conclusion, I have no idea if I am aging any better than the general population. I know I feel young and healthy, and my hairdresser, who is also one of my very best friends (who is in her early thirties herself), always tells me she agrees with this research because I “have very, very few gray hairs.” And then she adds with a cheeky smile: “Plus, you act kind of immature, like me.”
I hate my moles, but if having a lot of moles means I will age better, I welcome the moles.
But I will get them checked regularly, too. 🙂