Generally, a mole is just a blemish on the skin. However, moles may also be signs of medical problems. But do you have to remove moles and when is mole removal necessary? And what are the most effective mole removal methods that do not hurt?
There are various procedures for removing moles and their costs are different. The common methods include cutting them off, burning them off, freezing them off, laser removal, and use of mole removal kits and creams.
Apparently, recovery process and healing time after mole removal depend on the procedure and aftercare thoroughness. Accordingly, poor conditions during or after mole removal might lead to infections, which may delay the healing process.
Summary of Page Contents
- What is a Mole – Types, Causes & Significance
- Why Remove a Mole?
- Mole Removal Methods
- Mole Removal Products
- Mole Removal at Home
- Does Mole Removal Hurt? Pain and Bleeding
- Mole Removal Aftercare
- Mole Removal Recovery Process and Healing Time
- Mole Removal Infection
- Mole Removal Before and After
- Mole Removal Scar
- Mole Removal Cost
- Mole Removal Near Me
- Our Sources and References
What is a Mole – Types, Causes & Significance
What is a mole? “Moles are small colored spots on the skin made up of cells called melanocytes, which produce the color (pigment) in your skin” [NHS Choices]. Commonly known as skin moles, moles can appear or develop on any part of your skin, individually or in groups. Moles have different colors but are especially black, brown or red. They also have different sizes and shapes and textures. You may have
Moles have different colors but are especially black, brown or red. They also have different sizes and shapes and textures. You may have raised moles or flat moles, which may be hairy or not hairy.
Moles may exist on your body at birth as birthmarks or develop later after birth. Whichever the case, moles on your body have both medical and aesthetic implications on which ground it may be necessary to be removed.
Besides, certain communities around the word believe that there are various psychic mole meanings. These meanings predict the fate or personality trait of an individual, depending on their shape, size and location on the body of that individual. These meanings are basically based on myths and superstitions.
There are various causes of moles, including hereditary, health, environmental and physiological factors. Similarly, there are many types of moles based on their nature and appearance. Incidentally, moles can be easily mistaken for similar growths on your body such as freckles, warts and skin tags.
Why Remove a Mole?
Usually, there is no need to remove moles on your body unless they pose a threat to your health. However, you may have moles on your body removed for cosmetic reasons or if they cause you discomfort.
1. Medical Reasons for Mole Removal
Most moles on your body are medically harmless. Such moles are referred to as normal moles. These type of mole does not have to be removed unless there are other reasons like causing discomfort or for cosmetic purposes.
However, some moles may pose medical threats. If you have suspicious moles see your dermatologist to examine them, just in case they are cancerous moles. Cancerous moles are medically known as melanoma or malignant melanoma. The signs and symptoms of cancerous moles can be summarized by unique characteristics called the ABCDEs of Melanoma, which are highlighted below.
ABCDEs of Melanoma.
- A stands for asymmetrical. Cancerous moles tend to have an asymmetrical shape while normal ones have a symmetrical
- B stands for border: Cancerous moles usually have irregular borders while non-cancerous ones usually have smooth borders.
- C stands for color. Cancerous moles tend to change their colors or have multiple colors. On the other hand, cancerous moles usually have one uniform callous that does not undergo change.
- D stands for diameter. Cancerous moles tend to be larger than a normal Have your mole checked if it is larger than 1⁄4 inch or 0.6 cm.
- E stands for evolving. Evolving refers to any change that occurs on the moles. If a mole undergoes changes, it is a sign that the mole may be cancerous. The mole is said to be evolving if it grows, changes in shape, changes in color or becomes itchy or inflamed. These changes may be gradual and might take place over weeks or months. So, closely monitor the moles to be able to notice the cages.
A mole that exhibits such signs and symptoms is considered to be suspicious and therefore has to be examined by a dermatologist to rule out or confirm cancerous condition. In case it is confirmed, the mole should be treated and be removed immediately or as soon as possible.
Nevertheless, moles on your body may exhibit the signs and symptoms similar to those of cancerous moles but yet are not cancerous. Such a mole is known as an atypical mole or dysplastic mole or abnormal mole. These moles do not need to be removed on medical grounds because they do not present any danger to your health. However, you must have them examined by the doctor as soon as you discover them to rule out melanoma or cancerous mole.
The best practice regarding moles and your health is to monitor your moles and have them examined by a dermatologist to avoid possible serious health problems like cancer. Apparently, even normal moles may become cancerous with time. Therefore, it is also necessary for your dermatologist to determine the prognosis of the mole during the examination to foresee the possibility of it becoming cancerous later.
Moles that constitute a present or future medical threat, usually cancer, should be removed immediately to avoid the dreaded malignant melanoma. Be warned that it may be invasive, difficult or even impossible to treat any cancer at advanced stages.
2. Mole Removal Due to Being Bothersome
Much as it may not be medically a threat, a mole on your body may cause annoyance depending on its location, size and shape. There are many examples where a mole can cause discomfort. If the mole is protruding, it may get rubbed or snagged by your clothes, jewelry or other objects. They may also be obstructive during activities such as when showering, in which case they may be grabbed by your shower clothe and even cause pain. Shaving may also be difficult if you have raised moles on your scalp.
As we have seen, atypical moles may not have medical implication as such. However, they may exhibit characteristics such as being itchy, painful, inflamed or even bleeding. You may need to remove these moles in order to get rid of such discomfort. In any case, there are chances that these moles may become cancerous in future. So, removing them not only solves the discomfort but also a potential future health problem.
3. Cosmetic Reasons for Mole Removal
Some moles may completely have no medical threats or cause any discomfort and hence no need at all to remove them. In spite of this, you may need to remove them if you are uncomfortable with them because you find them unsightly. Removing, moles for cosmetic reasons is equally significant as your feelings are an important aspect of your health.
Having moles, or any other blemishes, that make you feel uncomfortable may affect your self-esteem and hence your health. Low self-esteem may also affect your activities and success in life. According to goodtherapy.com, “low self-esteem is associated with self-doubt, self-criticism, social isolation, suppressed anger, and shame”. In addition, it may lead to mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression.
Mole Removal Methods
There are a number of methods that are used to remove moles from the body. However, each of them differs from the other in many ways. These differences include the removal procedure, cost, duration of removal, the pain, and healing time. In addition, the effect on the skin after removal is important. Whereas some may leave a scar after removal, others do not. These are some of the factors that you consider when you are choosing the appropriate mole removal method
Another important factor that should not be overlooked when choosing the right method for mole removal is its location. In summary, mole removal on visible areas should be more carefully as compared to those on hidden parts of the body. The same is true with moles on sensitive areas. Your dermatologist will always suggest the best method depending on prevailing circumstances. But generally:
- Mole removal on arms, hands, legs or feet should be carried out using methods that are not likely to leave conspicuous scars. Although the skin in these areas is not very sensitive, these areas are visible.
- Mole removal on the face, neck or head (scalp) should be carried out with a lot of care so as to leave a scar-less attractive skin. These are arguably the most conspicuous area that also defines the appearance of a given individual. Specifically, facial mole removal requires deliberate special attention in this regard.
- Mole removal on body (trunk), chest or back can be carried out using any appropriate method since the areas are neither very visible nor have very sensitive skin.
- Mole removal on the genital area (penis, scrotum and groin area for male, and vagina vaginal lips or labia and groin area for female) should be carefully carried out using methods that are friendly to delicate skin since these areas have sensitive skin.
Furthermore, you need to take into account, the reason why you are removing the moles. For example, if it is medical, the focus will be on treating the condition causing the health threats. On the other hand, if the reason is cosmetic, the emphasis will be on leaving a spotless area on the skin after removal.
The most common methods for mole removal in office make use of tools, kits and machines such as the laser machine. These methods are generally most effective, practical and fast means of removing your moles. They include surgery, cauterization, cryotherapy and laser mole removal.
1. Cutting off the Mole (Mole Removal Surgery)
Basically, mole removal surgery involves cutting off or incising the mole using surgical scalpel or scissors. It is a simple surgery procedure that a dermatologist can carry out on you as an outpatient. Although you may carry out this procedure at home, it is highly recommended that you let a qualified dermatologist remove it after examining it. Probably, the dermatologist may discover other related health issues and take appropriate measures, unlike when it is carried out at home. This surgery usually involves shaving for raised moles or incision for flat moles.
- At the beginning of mole removal surgery procedure, your dermatologist will clean the mole and the surrounding skin to disinfect it using alcohol. This will eliminate bacteria and other germs that may cause infection to the skin after removal of the mole.
- The next step is to numb the area using a local anesthesia to prevent pain and discomfort during the surgery. The dermatologist may use a topical anesthesia which he will apply to the area topically. Alternatively, he may inject the anesthesia into the area around the mole.
- Once the area is numb and the doctor is ready, he will use a sterilized surgical scalpel or scissors to carefully incise or cut off the mole. If the mole has related medical problems like early cancer, the doctor will also administer appropriate treatment to cure it and inhibit it.
- After cutting the mole, the dermatologist will apply an antiseptic on the area and wrap a bandage on it to stop bleeding and keep away germs. In rare cases, mole removal process may involve sewing the wound with stitches, especially when the mole is huge or leaves a large wound.
This procedure should be carried out under sterile conditions. Otherwise, the area from which the mole is removed may get infected and worsen the condition. Still, aftercare should be thorough and according to the dermatologist’s instructions to avoid mole removal infection that may be contracted after the removal procedure itself. In case the procedure involves stitching, the dermatologist will make an appointment with you to remove the stitches.
Mole removal surgery is not a painful procedure since an anesthesia is used to numb the surgery area. However, you may feel just mild discomfort during the procedure. This discomfort subsides immediately after the removal process.
Normally, it takes up to 2 weeks for the wound left after the removal of the mole. However, the actual time taken for the area to completely may vary from on individual to another depending on their immunity, the size of the mole and how thorough the aftercare is. For example, if the mole gets infected, it will definitely take longer to completely heal.
2. Mole Removal by Freezing It off (Cryotherapy)
As the name suggests, this method involves subjecting the mole to very cold condition using a suitable substance like liquid nitrogen gas to destroy it. This procedure is medically called cryotherapy. It is usually carried out by a dermatologist on outpatient terms. Unlike when it is carried out at home, the doctor will also examine the mole and take appropriate measures in case of any related medical issue.
- During the procedure, the doctor will first clean the mole and the surrounding area with a disinfected, usually alcohol. This is done in order to kill any bacteria or germs in the area to avoid infections after removal.
- In case you want to minimize the discomfort caused by the freezing substance, your dermatologist will use an anesthesia before carrying out the procedure. The anesthesia is either applied topically or through an injection into the area.
- After the area becomes numb, the dermatologist will direct the freezing agent to the mole from a container via the nozzle fitted to the container. The nozzle ensures that the freezing substance only gets to the mole and not to the surrounding area. The freezing substance is applied for about 30 seconds.
Freezing the mole damages the mole tissues. As a result, the moles will shrivel and fall off or peel off as dead tissues. Before coming off, the mole will turn dark with time. Eventually, the mole tissue will become loose and fall off, leaving a mild scar that will heal with time and match the surrounding skin to form a uniform skin.
This procedure is not painful. The discomfort caused by the cold, which can be minimized with a local anesthesia during the treatment, usually goes away shortly after the procedure. It takes about one to two weeks for the mole to fall off. However, it might take longer if the mole is larger.
The rare side effects of freezing off mole include the skin around the treated area becoming a little sensitivity. In addition, there is often slight reddening in the area, followed by mild scarring. However, all these side effects go away and the area gets healed.
3. Mole Removal by Burning It off (Cauterization)
This is yet another common method used remove skin moles. The procedure involves the use of heat to destroy the moles. It is medically known as cauterization and the piece of equipment used for this procedure is called a cautery. Depending on the source of heat used in the procedure, there are two types of cauterization: electrical cauterization and chemical cauterization.
This procedure utilizes heat generated electrically. During the procedure, the dermatologist will plug the cauterizing tool (called an electrocautery) to the power socket to heat it up. In the meantime, he will disinfect and numb the mole and the surrounding area with a local anesthesia by injection or topical application.
When ready, the dermatologist will properly adjust cauterizing tool. He will then burn the mole to damage it. In some cases, the mole is cauterized in a way that also removes it from the skin. However, in most cases, the mole is just damaged and left to fall off later.
In this type of cauterization of moles, the heat used in the procedure is obtained from a chemical substance. The chemical substance is usually kept in a special container with a nozzle which is used to accurately apply the substance to the required area only.
After cleaning, disinfecting and numbing the mole and the surrounding area, the dermatologist will carefully apply the chemical substance on the mole with the aid of the nozzle. The substance will produce heat that will destroy the mole. The mole is then left to fall off later.
The drawback of cauterization is that the chemical used in chemical cauterization may leach into the adjacent tissues. Also, the heat used in electrical cauterization may damage the tissues adjacent to the mole. The unnecessary damage caused in either of the methods usually lead to irregular edges around the removed mole. As a result, healing time may be prolonged. In an addition, a scar will definitely be left behind and it usually depends on the severity of damage caused during the procedure.
Whichever of the two techniques is used, the mole will gradually wither and shrivel and eventually peel off or fall off. The heat in the procedure damages the mole tissues, leaving dead remains, which then shrink and dry with time.
Burning off moles may seem invasive and frighten patients. However, the procedure is not scary as such. It is in fact very easy and does entail much pain.
It usually takes about one to two weeks for the mole to fall off. The mild scar left then fades off with time, leaving a uniform skin color in the affected area.
4. Laser mole Removal (Laser Surgery)
In case the mole is found to be having a connection with cancer, laser mole removal is preferred. Besides removing the mole, the laser therapy is also used to treat and inhibit the cancerous cells in the mole to prevent it from spreading to other areas of your body.
Laser mole removal is closer to cauterizing method discussed above. However, instead of heat generated electrically or chemically, laser mole removal utilizes focused light to remove the mole. Light from a laser (which means Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) can be set to specific wavelengths, allowing focusing it into powerful beams of light. The beam can be tuned to even cut a metal bar!
Laser mole removal gives much better results compared to other methods except radiosurgery because it allows the doctor to carry out the procedure at a high level of precision by focusing on a small area. Like cauterization, it also gives a sealing effect on the skin, which helps stop bleeding during the procedure and avoid an open wound.
Due to the high precision level, laser mole removal entails minimal damage to the surrounding skin. The side effects are equally minimal, usually leaving a regular edge with no scar at all after the procedure. However, these advantages come at a great expense that may only be afforded by a few individuals. Inspire of this, consider this method if for mole removal without scar.
5. Mole Removal by Radiosurgery
Another great procedure for mole removal is radiosurgery. This procedure is also known as radio-wave surgery, microwave surgery, high-frequency surgery or electrosurgery. It is based on cutting tissues with high-frequency alternating current.
Unlike other methods such as electrical cauterization, this method cuts and coagulate tissue simultaneously without using any kind of physical pressure. In addition, whereas heat heated cautery is used in electrical cauterization, the cutting electrode of radiosurgery is stone cold.
During this procedure, less heat is produced compared to laser mole removal. Consequently, there is less tissue damage less pain and less scarring after the procedure when this method is used to remove moles.
Therefore, this method can be used to remove moles for cosmetic reasons when with least damage. However, it can also be used to remove precancerous or cancerous moles. Besides, radiosurgery can be used in the removal of cherry angiomas, keloids, spider veins, skin tightening and epilation of hair.
The wound left is superficial and only takes one to two weeks to heal completely since there is little damage caused by the procedure. During this period, the area may be protected by covering it with an adhesive bandage.
Mole Removal Products
There are several effective mole removal products which can be used in clinics and at home. The removal products usually come as mole removal kits or just creams or pastes. If you need to use the kits at home, at least first see a qualified dermatologist to examine the moles first and give you advice if need be.
Mole Removal Kits
Mole removal kits consist of all the equipment and products that are used together for mole removal. The pieces of equipment and the products are usually sold together as one complete set. They are especially used in DIY procedures although they can are also often used in office or clinics by dermatologists. Common mole removal kits include Mole Freeze Removal Kit and Wart Mole Vanish.
Mole Removal Creams
Mole removal creams are also common and are considered less invasive than common methods like surgery, cauterization, cryotherapy and laser mole removal techniques. Therefore, you might find mole removal creams a better choice for you. Unlike these common methods, mole removal creams are applied topically on the mole to destroy its tissues. As a result, the mole shrivels, becomes loose and eventually falls off or is easily scraped off. Some of the best creams commonly used for mole removal include:
- Wart And Mole Vanish
- Bio-T Herbals
- Nevi No More
- Moles Formula
- Natural Body And Skin
- Skin Tag Remover
- Freeze Away Wart Remover by Dr. Scholl
You might find the other mole removal methods a bit too invasive for you, or you just want another alternative to get rid of your moles. In such a case, mole removal creams are another great alternative for you. You may need further information on each of the mole removal creams, including procedures, costs and other relevant details.
Mole Removal at Home
In case you value natural mole removal methods, you can employ home remedies for mole removal. In addition, most of the kits and creams for mole removal, including over the counter mole removal kits and creams, can be used to remove moles at home.
However, it is highly recommended to have your moles removed by a specialist like a qualified dermatologist or appropriate health practitioner. This way, you will avoid possible mistakes and accidents while removing the mole and worsen the condition. Above all, as we have seen, moles might be connected to serious health concerns like cancer, which may be best noticed and handled by specialists.
Does Mole Removal Hurt? Pain and Bleeding
Generally, mole removal does is not painful and does not hurt much so long as the correct procedure is followed. However, if you decide to remove your moles with invasive methods like surgery, and cauterization may hurt a lot if the area is not numbed before the removal. This usually happens when you have your moles removed at home with crude methods like clipping with a nail cutter.
As for bleeding, it actually depends on the method used and the size of the mole. Most bleeding takes place when surgical procedures like shaving or incision are used to remove the moles. This is why it is not advisable to cut off moles, especially large ones, at home. But this is easily stopped by the dermatologist e.g. by bandaging the area.
There might be minimal bleeding if the moles are burnt off. On the other hand, freezing off and use of creams, lotions, and pastes do not entail bleeding at all.
Mole Removal Aftercare
After mole removal, you need to care for the area in order to heal faster. Ensure that the area is kept in clean condition to avoid infection. In care the wound was stitched, remember to go back to the dermatologist for removal of the stitches on the set date.
In case you notice any abnormal signs like inflammation, pain or formation of pus in the area, see your dermatologist immediately. Such signs indicate a possible infection on the wound. In such a case, your doctor will administer medication to cure the infection.
Mole Removal Recovery Process and Healing Time
The healing time for moles depends on many factors. Generally, the time taken for the site of mole removal to heal depends on the method of removal, quality of aftercare, strength of your immunity and location of the mole.
For example, mole on the face takes shorter time to heal (1-2 weeks) days that those on the feet (3-4 weeks). Also, If the mole removal site gets infected during the process or due to poor aftercare, the healing process may be further delayed.
Mole Removal Infection
Your mole wound may get infected in case the removal procedure is not carried out in sterile conditions. This usually happens when the mole is removed at home without proper procedures. However, the wound may also get infected in case the aftercare measures are not properly followed. For example, they wound might be left open in which case it might be infected with bacteria. Leaving the area dirty may also lead to an infection.
An infection after mole removal may delay the healing process. In some cases, the wound may enlarge beyond the area the mole was removed from. This will cause further delay in the healing process. Furthermore, it may lead to the formation of an undesirable large scar, further blemishing your skin.
In case of an infection after mole removal, see your dermatologist immediately to get treated. The signs and symptoms of a mole removal infection include unexpected inflammation, pain, formation of pus, and enlarging wound.
Mole Removal Before and After
The result of mole removal largely depends on the method used. However, it also depends on your body reactions to the procedure that is carried on you. This usually varies from on individual to another. Other factors that may affect the result include the location and size of the mole.
The before and after mole removal pictures included at related sections of this post certainly give you a better feel of case example results from various methods.
Mole Removal Scar
A mole removal scar refers to the lesion that is left behind after removing the mole. The size and conspicuousness of the scar largely depend on the mole removal method used. While surgery, freezing and burning the mole may leave a sizable scar, laser mole removal may leave almost no scar.
However, the size of the mole that was removed may also influence the size and kind of scar that remains behind. In addition, if the area is infected during or after mole removal, the nature and size of the scar may worsen.
Nevertheless, mole removal scars usually heal with times to match the surrounding skin. Generally, it takes various healing periods for the scar to heal completely, depending on the nature of the scar and your immunity.
In case your scar is so bad for you, probably due to an infection, you ca go back to your dermatologist to get rid of the scar, or at least significantly reduce it conspicuous appearance. There various methods of getting rid of scars that can effectively diminish your scar.
Mole Removal Cost
When you want to remove your mole or moles, the cost of removing them is an important factor to consider. The cost of mole removal is not constant. Rather, it depends on a number of factors such as:
Reason for Mole Removal
Certainly, the reason why you want to remove the mole will influence the result you desire. In turn, this will influence the method to be used and the type of treatments that may be included. For example, if the mole is to be removed for medical reasons, it will definitely include unavoidable treatment to prevent further infection. On the other hand, if the mole is to be removed for cosmetic reasons, the desired result is usually a scar-less attractive skin after the removal.
Most skin treatments, including mole removal procedures, are in included in your medical cover by most of the insurance companies. Therefore, if you have a medical cover, it may completely cover or significantly reduce the cost of removing your mole. It is, therefore, important to make wide consultations reaching a decision on which clinic you will have your mole removed. There might be some clinics which do not accept your medical cover, or there are others which give you a better deal for your cover.
Choice of Clinic for Mole Removal
The cost of the surgery may vary from one clinic to another. Generally, those clinics that are specialized for mole removal healthcare are often cheaper than general clinics. Also, it is definitely prudent to check around for clinics that offer quality or better services at affordable costs before settling on a particular clinic.
Other Factors Influencing Cost of Mole Removal.
- The size and shape of the moles: For example, larger moles may cost more that smaller ones.
- The location of the mole: Moles located in visible areas are usually removed with delicacy and hence cost more.
- Number of the moles you want to be removed: Probably the more the moles, the more the cost.
- The nature of the moles. whether they are raised moles or flat moles
- Country of treatment: Mole removal costs may vary from country to country for similar services.
On average, the cost of mole removal by cutting off (surgery), freezing off (cryotherapy) and burning off (cauterization) ranges between $25 and $500 per mole. On the other hand, the average cost of laser mole removal (laser surgery) is usually higher than this. Remember that the actual cost of mole removal varies depending on the various factors as outlined above.
Mole Removal Near Me
Mole removal medical facilities are all over the word. The easiest way of getting mole removal facility near you is to find information about the relevant facilities around your area of residence. Fortunately, virtually all the renowned mole removal clinics have information about them online. Therefore, simply search online for the information you need and you will surely get it. A few of the areas that have these facilities include:
- Los Angeles
Video: Mole Removal Surgery
Video: Mole Removal by Radiowave Surgery
Video: How to Remove Facial Warts Using Cautery
Our Sources and References
- Mole Removal: https://www.cosmedics.co.uk/skin-treatments/mole-removal/
- Moles, Freckles, and Skin Tags: http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/moles-freckles-skin-tags#1
- Mole Removal: https://www.realself.com/Mole-removal/reviews
- Mole Removal FAQS: https://www.sknclinics.co.uk/treatments-and-pricing/mole-removal
- Laser Assisted Mole Removal: http://www.cvlc.com/cosmetic-procedures/laser-assisted-mole-removal/
- Self-Esteem: http://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/self-esteem
- Mole Removal: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/mole_removal/article_em.htm
- Removing Moles and Skin Tags: http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/removing-moles-and-skin-tags-topic-overview#1
- What Is Radiosurgery? http://www.renewskinandhealthclinic.co.uk/radiosurgery-mole-removal-treatment-effective-non-invasive-procedure-excellent-results.html
- Using radio-wave surgery for mole removal: https://aestheticsjournal.com/feature/using-radio-wave-surgery-for-mole-removal