Dark side of hair change

This photo shows the scalp of a lady in her 90s. People had commented that her white hair had become darker in one spot. When the hair was trimmed, the reason was obvious. She’d developed a diffuse area of lentigo maligna or melanoma in situ, in which the melanocytes had invaded her hair follicles and caused repigmentation of the hair.

The origin of the atypical melanocytes in lentigo maligna is thought to be melanocytic stem cells in the hair follicle, which then spread up from the follicle into the overlying skin. The treatment would be excision and large skin graft, which she declined. For more on this case, log onto www.skinconsult.com.au

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