Did you know that almost all Americans have common moles? Although moles are generally nothing to worry about, it is important to keep a close eye on them since they can develop into skin cancer over time. Because of this risk, some people choose to have their moles removed before they have the opportunity to become cancerous.
Of course, not everyone removes their moles for this reason, and some people simply don’t like how their moles look. As a result, they have cosmetic mole removal. If you’re interested in this procedure, you should know all that it entails.
This post will review mole removal, so keep reading to learn all about it! Before, we’ll discuss cancerous vs. non-cancerous moles and how to determine whether your moles are normal.
What Are Moles?
Moles are usually absent at birth and start appearing during childhood and teen years. More often than not, they develop on the skin, but they can also appear underneath it.
Technically, moles are benign tumors that develop from melanocyte cells, which produce pigment. As scary as this may sound, most moles pose no health risk.
Non Cancerous Moles vs. Melanoma
Like moles, melanoma also develops from melanocyte cells due to overexposure to the sun or tanning beds. However, unlike moles, melanoma is extremely dangerous, causing thousands of deaths every year.
Since melanoma isn’t painful, the best way to catch it is through regular self-examinations of moles.
How to Self-Check, Your Moles
Skin cancer is sometimes difficult to detect because it can appear in many shapes and sizes. Here’s what you should watch out for:
- Sores that bleed and don’t heal
- Rough red skin patches
- Growths that resemble warts
- Any new mole
- Moles that expand or change shape/color
- Moles with irregular shapes or borders
If you notice any of these signs or aren’t sure whether your moles are normal, it’s best to get a professional opinion from a dermatologist.
Why Should You Remove Non Cancerous Moles?
If your dermatologist suspects a mole is cancerous, they’ll perform a biopsy and remove it. However, even if your moles appear normal, you may decide to have them removed just in case because you find them bothersome or dislike how they look.
Sometimes, you can reduce or remove them with a natural mole product, but it’s often necessary to visit a professional for treatment.
What Doctor Removes Moles?
Moles can be removed by several different kinds of doctors. Often, your family doctor can perform a mole removal, especially when they are on the surface of the skin. However, deeper moles may require the expertise of a specialist like a plastic surgeon or dermatologist.
Methods for Removing Non Cancerous Moles
Although some methods are more common than others, there is more than one way to remove non cancerous moles. Your primary care doctor, dermatologist, or plastic surgeon will determine how to remove your benign moles depending on their size, type, and location. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ways to remove a mole.
When this method is used, the surface of the skin is shaved away, and with it, the mole is removed. Sometimes, doctors use cauterization to decrease the odds of the mole growing back. This is essentially burning the skin to close the wound.
This removal method is used when moles have a deep base. Doctors use a laser or a scalpel to cut the mole out and stitches to close the incision.
Surgical excision or shaving is best performed by plastic surgeons, especially when using a scalpel. Because mole removal often requires deeper cuts, you may experience some scarring. However, plastic surgeons are able to do so with minimal sutures so the outcome is aesthetically pleasing.
Sometimes medical professionals freeze off moles using liquid nitrogen. When this extremely cold substance touches the skin, the mole and surrounding tissue fall off, leaving a blister. Usually, this procedure doesn’t scar, but if you are worried about this, it’s best to choose a plastic surgeon for mole removal.
Moles can also be removed using an electric wire or a laser. It burns through the upper layers of the skin, creating a scab that will heal to reveal a mole-free area. Unfortunately, deeper moles may require several treatments with electric wire and may not be removed with a laser.
Removing Moles from Sensitive Areas
If you have a mole on a sensitive spot, such as your eyelid or face, it’s best to check with an experienced dermatologist or plastic surgeon. They’ll be able to explain any possible complications to you and help you decide which method is best. Skilled doctors will also let you know whether the entire mole can be removed since in some cases, only mole reduction is possible.
What to Expect from Your Mole Removal
First things first, your doctor will need to determine whether or not your mole requires a biopsy. They’ll examine its asymmetry, diameter, borders, and color. They may also ask you about any recent changes in the mole’s appearance.
Even if your mole is determined to be non cancerous, your doctor will aim to remove it in its entirety and examine it under a microscope.
Your Mole Removal Procedure
Mole removal is an outpatient procedure and is relatively quick. Your doctor preps the area by cleaning it with an alcohol pad and administers a local anesthetic. After it’s kicked in, the skin surrounding the mole will be numb, and you won’t feel any discomfort, only a little pressure.
Often, having a mole removed only takes a couple of minutes. In some cases, it may take longer, especially if the mole is deep or large.
The deeper the cut, the more stitches you’ll need, but thanks to the anesthetic, you won’t feel any pain during this part of the procedure either.
Recovering from Mole Removal
The timeline for mole removal recovery depends on the size and depth of the incision. Typically, you’ll experience a little soreness for a few days, but it may be a couple of weeks if you had stitches.
Thankfully, the recovery process isn’t usually painful. You may experience some itching or soreness though.
Your doctor will provide you with instructions on how to keep the area clean and comfortable. For example, patients without stitches should wash the site with mild soap and water a few times a day before patting it dry. You may also need to put anti-bacterial ointment on it and cover the area with a bandaid.
On the other hand, patients who’ve had stitches will likely be discouraged from getting the area wet or doing any activities that may cause them to sweat. After two or three days, you should proceed to clean the area and cover it up with a bandaid.
Does Mole Removal Cause Scars?
Yes. Most often, patients have some sort of scar after mole removal. The size and type of scar depend on the procedure and type of mole you’ve had removed.
If you’re concerned about scarring, you should speak to your doctor before the surgery. They’ll take this into account when selecting the type of mole removal they perform. They may also be able to recommend methods for reducing the appearance of the scar as you heal.
Caring for Your Skin After Mole Removal
If the mole you removed was found to be cancerous, you’ll need to have regular skin checks about every three to six months.
Even if the mole was non cancerous, you should still have skin checks, but they don’t need to be as frequent. Once every five years is usually the recommendation. In the meantime, you should perform regular skin checks and protect your skin from the sun.
Lastly, you should keep an eye on the area where your mole was removed. Sometimes, moles grow back and require a second procedure to get all of the cells. So, if you are concerned about this, speak to your doctor.
Remove Your Moles Once and For All!
After reading this article, you have a better idea of what to expect when removing your non cancerous moles.
Although mole removal products may work in some cases, we recommend seeking the help of a reputable dermatologist or plastic surgeon for deep moles. These professionals will choose the best method to remove your moles and do so with minimal to no scarring.
If you’d like to learn more about skincare and health, be sure to check out more of our helpful articles!
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website's content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra's expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.