Whether or not you have moles is often genetic, though the appearance of moles can be exacerbated due to sun exposure or aging. While some are not bothered by their moles, others are very unhappy with theirs, especially if they are on the face.
Luckily, moles are usually very easy for a cosmetic doctor to remove. If you’re considering having your moles removed, check out our facts on mole removal below to learn how they can be removed, what to expect when you have a mole removed, what you can do about mole removal scarring, and what you need to know about mole removal aftercare. Also, at the end of this post, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about mole removal.
How Do You Remove a Mole?
There are three common methods used for mole removal:
Excision: Excision is a medical term that refers to cutting the skin. If surgical excision is used to remove a mole, stitches are sometimes used after removal, depending on the depth of the excision.
Shave Removal: Shave removal is a mole removal method in which a surgical scalpel is used to remove the mole. Stitches are not used after the shave removal method and instead the wound is cauterized.
Laser/Freezing/Cauterization: Sometimes using heat or cold, the pigmented mole cells can be destroyed, causing their removal.
It’s a common misconception that laser excision is the best way to remove a mole. But laser excision generally does not work as well as regular excision or shave removal for mole removal.
What is Mole Removal Like?
Mole removal is generally a very quick treatment, though the time it takes may vary if you are looking to remove multiple moles.
Before removing your mole, Dr. Zadeh will map out, then carefully cleanse and disinfect the treatment area. Moles are removed through one of two kinds of cutting, and are therefore given an anesthetic that will numb the treatment area. After being given an anesthetic, you should not feel pain, only numbness. If you do feel pain during mole removal, be sure to tell Dr. Zadeh straight away.
Does Mole Removal Have Side Effects?
Side effects of mole removal include some pain in the treatment area as your skin heals.
Another potential side effect of mole removal is potential scarring. Dr. Zadeh’s mole removal techniques and aftercare has been specifically designed to minimize scarring.
No matter the type of mole removal, there is always a small possibility that the moles may come back.
What if I Have Scarring From a Mole Removal?
There are steps you can take to reduce scarring during a mole removal treatment, including having your mole removal done by a skilled surgeon such as Dr. Zadeh.
If you have scarring from a past mole removal, there are a number of different cosmetic treatments available that can remove or improve scarring. Some options include Nano-Ray Laser, fillers, microneedling, subcision, and punch excision. See our scar treatment page for a more in depth look at treatments for scarring.
Aftercare For Mole Removal
After getting a mole removed, Dr. Zadeh will give you specific instructions for your own unique aftercare, which will generally include making sure your treated skin is clean and bandaged while it heals.
Depending on your unique circumstances, Dr. Zadeh may request that you come in for a follow up appointment after mole removal.
FAQ About Moles and Mole Removal
What Are Moles?
A mole is a cluster of skin made up of skin cells known as melanocytes. When the skin grows in a cluster instead of being spread out, a mole can form on the body. While moles are often dark (looking brown or black), they can also be flesh-colored or bluish. Moles can exist on the body when we are born but they can also appear with age or sun damage.
Are Moles and Beauty Marks the Same Thing?
All beauty marks are moles but not all moles are beauty marks. The term “beauty mark” is a euphemism for a darker mole that is in a desirable spot on the face.
Are Skin Tags Moles?
Skin tags are not moles. While moles are clusters of melanocytes at the top of the skin, skin tags are skin growths (flaps of skin) that hang off through a connecting stalk of skin. However, like moles, many people wish to get rid of their skin tags. Also like moles, skin tags are easy to remove. Some common ways to remove a skin tag include cutting the skin tag off with a scalpel or scissors, freezing it off, or burning it off.
Is Mole Removal Painful?
At our office, Dr. Zadeh uses a numbing agent before removing a mole, so mole removal is not painful.
Can I Remove a Mole Myself?
We would not advise that anyone attempt to remove their own moles. While some suggest varying home remedies or “natural remedies” for at-home mole removal, the best way to remove a mole is to have an accredited doctor remove it for you.
There are many reasons to have your mole removed by a professional, rather than attempting to do so yourself, including both health reasons and cosmetic reasons. For one thing, it’s important to have a doctor examine any new or atypical moles for signs of skin cancer. Also, when removing any mole, it’s important to use only safe and sanitary methods so you do not harm yourself or risk post-removal infection. As far as cosmetic reasons go, you are at a much greater risk of scarring if you attempt to remove a mole yourself. Additionally, you run the risk of not removing or not fully removing the mole but instead simply damaging your skin in your attempt.
Are All New Moles Cancerous?
While new moles can sometimes be a sign of certain types of skin cancer, all new moles are not cancerous moles. Sometimes, new moles appear due to normal aging or sun damage. But it is important to know the signs of skin cancer so you’ll be able to recognize them should they appear.
According to the American Cancer Society, you should look for three types of skin cancer when doing a skin self-exam: basal cell cancers, squamous cell cancers, and melanomas. Basal and squamous cell cancers can take many forms. They often look like new growths on the skin, skin lesions, bumps, patches, or sores that do not seem to heal.
Melanoma is the type of skin cancer that can look like an atypical mole. To understand what an atypical mole looks like, let’s quickly talk about what a common mole (a non-cancerous mole) looks like. Normal moles are even in color, less than 6 millimeters in diameter (which is about the size of a pencil eraser), either round or oval in shape, and they can be raised or flat. Some possible signs that a “mole” may be melanoma include asymmetry, an irregular border, multiple colors within the mole, a diameter larger than 6 millimeters, and it is changing in size, shape, or color.
If you’re worried your moles may be melanomas, head to your doctor to have them checked. If your doctor thinks your moles could be melanoma, they can do a biopsy (sometimes a punch biopsy) to check for cancer cells.