What is a Mole?
How to remove mole from face. Many people refer to a mole as any dark spot or irregularity in the skin. Doctors use different terms. But the following types of skin marks such as these are not treated the same way moles are and are not discussed here: Removing moles at home.
Abnormal formations of blood vessels (hemangiomas)
Keratoses (benign or precancerous spots, which appear after about age 30 years)
How to Remove Moles Naturally
What causes Moles?
- Some people are born with moles. Other moles appear later in life.
- Sun exposure seems to play a role in the development of moles and may even play a role in the development of atypical, or dysplastic, moles.
- The role of heredity cannot be underemphasized. Many families have a type of mole known as dysplastic (atypical), which can be associated with a higher frequency of melanoma.
Symptoms of a Cancerous Mole
Most are not at all dangerous. However, the ones that are itchy, painful, bleeding, changing color, increasing in size, asymmetrical or have uneven borders are more likely to be malignant. Moles that appear after the age of 30 are also at a higher risk of becoming cancerous. If you notice any of these signs or a significant change in size, weight or shape you should consult your doctor or dermatologist (skin doctor).
If a mole has any (or several) of these warning signs, get it looked at by a dermatologist or doctor immediately
Color – The color is not uniform and/or there blue, red or white colors in it
Diameter – Larger than the eraser on a pencil
Asymmetry – Irregular shape where one side does not match the other
Evolution – Significant changes in color, shape and/or size
Border – Edges are rough, unclear or uneven
Does Mole-removal Cream Work?
If the idea of needles and scalpels is more than you can handle, you could try a mole-removal cream. There are quite a few creams on the market that claim to remove moles. However, they don’t usually work.
It’s easy to see why people are tempted to try mole removal creams:
They offer a cheaper, surgery-free way to get rid of moles. But if you’re not careful with these creams, you could end up with a scar or a skin infection. Most mole removal creams require you to scratch the surface of your mole before application. The cream then enters your body through the open sore and basically burns the skin and creates a scab underneath the mole. In theory, the scab will eventually fall off and take the mole with it.
Sometimes mole-removal creams work, but they often remove more than just the mole. These creams can leave pits in your skin where the mole used to be, or they can cause scarring that’s more noticeable than the mole itself. They can also make your skin more susceptible to infection, and by removing a mole yourself, you could miss the early warning signs of cancer.
Mole Removal Preparation:
- The area to be treated will be cleansed. Depending on the surgeon’s preferences, this will be done either with alcohol, Betadine, or other suitable material.
- Then the area will be numbed with anesthetic, such as lidocaine. This will not usually take much time to accomplish. Many surgeons prefer to wait after numbing to allow the blood flow to the area to diminish (sometimes up to 10 minutes).
- Depending on the size of the mole and the method used for excision, a sterile drape may be placed over the area to be treated.
Methods of Removal & Procedure
- If a dermatologist thinks there might be something wrong with a mole, they will first conduct a biopsy by taking a small tissue sample and having it analyzed. However, if it is clearly a health hazard, they will remove it entirely. There are various methods of removal, and the techniques available depend on numerous factors, including the type and size of the mole. Before any mole removal procedure, the area is sterilized and the patient is given a local or topical anesthetic to prevent pain during the procedure.
- Most are removed surgically by cutting or shaving it off the skin, or in more invasive cases, ones that penetrate deep within the skin require more extensive incisions and stitches to close them up. Surface level moles can be clipped off with surgical scissors or cut away with a scalpel. Stitches are not necessary, but the area is cauterized or a cream is applied to stop the bleeding. Incisions must be slightly larger than the mole itself to ensure it is completely removed. Some types of stitches require a follow-up appointment to be removed, while others will dissolve on their own. With surgical methods (especially the shaving technique), there is always a chance that it grows back and needs to be removed again.
- Cryosurgery, or freezing, is an alternate removal method offered by some clinics. The most common approach to cryosurgery is to use liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy the targeted area. Liquid nitrogen may be administered as a spray, or by dipping a cotton swab into the liquid nitrogen and applying it to the mole. This procedure may be performed multiple times to completely treat the area and prevent it from returning. After treatment, a blister typically forms. Once the area has healed, there may be some changes in skin pigmentation that become less noticeable over time.
- Moles can also be removed by burning or electrocoagulation. A metal wire with a small amount of electric current is used to burn and destroy it. Depending on the size and depth of it, the area may need to be treated multiple times. In addition to treating the targeted area, the heat also stops the bleeding. Radiosurgery, which uses radio frequency waves, and laser treatments are other available methods that work in a similar manner.
- Surgical removal is the preferred method due to the possibility of misdiagnosing a cancerous mole as benign. In situations where a mole is suspected or known to be malignant, surgical removal is the only method available that prevents damage to the tissue sample so it can be biopsied.
- Mole removal creams are available for use at home. Although they cannot genuinely remove them, they make them less noticeable with continued use. This is an inexpensive alternative that may improve the look of their skin. However, it is not a substitute for having them assessed by a professional to ensure they are not malignant.
During the Procedure
- Removal with simple shaving without stitches.
- The surgeon takes a scalpel and shaves the mole off flush or slightly below the level of skin.
- Then, either an electrical instrument will cauterize or burn the area or a solution will be placed on the area to stop any bleeding.
- The wound is then covered with a bandage.
- The doctor will give you instructions on how to take care of your wound. You are usually able to leave the office shortly after.
- Removal by excision with stitches.
- Moles removed by excision (cutting) with stitches are usually in cosmetically sensitive areas where an optimal scar is desired.
- The surgeon maps out the mole and then sterilizes or cleans the area and numbs it.
- Then a scalpel is used to cut the mole and a border surrounding the mole. The border size depends on the concern of the surgeon for the mole being removed. If there is concern that the mole could be precancerous or cancerous, a larger border will be removed to ensure that the mole itself is completely excised.
- Depending on the depth of the mole (how deeply the mole penetrates into the skin), stitches are placed either deep (these are absorbed by the body and do not have to be removed) or on the upper surface of the skin (these don’t absorb and will be removed later).
Benefits and Risks of Removal
As with any medical procedure there are both benefits and risks. Unless a mole is very large, many of the risks associated with anesthesia are eliminated through the use of topical or local anesthetics. Removal of a mole may result in scarring or infection. Freezing or burning moles to remove them are more likely cause the skin in that area to change pigmentation after healing.
The benefits of getting rid of them depend on the reasons for removal. For some individuals, the procedure is done to biopsy the area. Removal of the mole may put the individual’s mind at ease, even if it is benign. In circumstances where it is malignant, treatment prevents the cancer from spreading and putting the person’s health at risk. If the removal of a mole is purely cosmetic, the procedure can improve self-confidence.
Risks of Mole Removal
Risks of mole removal methods vary from infection to anesthetic allergy and nerve damage. It is always prudent to choose a dermatologist or surgeon with appropriate skills and experience with these removals. This will decrease
Your risk associated with this procedure.
(1) Other risks vary depending on the area being treated and the method of removal.
(2) One of the most common difficulties after mole removal is a scar. Many people will attempt to remove moles for cosmetic reasons, not realizing that each and every removal will result in a scar. Many times your surgeon can give you an idea of the type and location of a scar after mole removal before you make your decision about removal.
Cost of Removal
The average cost ranges from $100 to $500 per mole and depends on a number of factors including shape, size and location on the body. Larger ones cost more to remove. Moles in highly visible areas must be removed more delicately, which results in a higher price.
One that is raised may be easily clipped off, while deeper moles require more cutting and sometimes multiple treatments to ensure complete removal. The type of doctor that performs the removal will also impact the price. Specialists such as a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon charge more than general practitioner. Geographic location can also affect the price of procedures (primarily due to differences in cost of living, supply and demand). Physicians in major cities are more expensive, on average.
More advanced methods of removal such as lasers and cryosurgery are more expensive than cutting or shaving it away. However, the increased price may be justified when removing facial moles, where both patient and physician want to avoid leaving a scar. If a mole is sampled to perform a biopsy, there may be additional fees to pay for the lab work that is performed. However, these costs should be covered by insurance.
Removal procedures are not typically covered by health insurance unless it is considered medically necessary. Removal is considered medically necessary if a physician suspects the area may be precancerous or malignant and needs to be biopsied. Cosmetic removal is rarely covered. The cost that is covered by insurance varies for different plans some may cover the procedure completely, while others may require a co-pay.
Individuals who are interested in removal for cosmetic reasons should consult several reputable doctors and get price estimates. Some doctors offer free consultations to accurately judge the price. Paying for the procedure in cash may qualify for a discounted rate. Individuals who do not have the money upfront may be eligible for a per-approved line of credit, so they can pay for the procedure in monthly installments making it much more affordable and worry-free.
The content of this article is for informational purposes only and should not be mistaken for medical advice. Be sure to consult your physician or dermatologist regarding any medical procedures or medications.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
How Do I Know if a Mole Is Cancer?
The vast majority of moles are not dangerous. Moles that are more likely to be cancer are those that look different than other existing moles or those that first appear after age 30. If you notice changes in a mole’s color, height, size, or shape, you should have a dermatologist (skin doctor) evaluate it. You also should have moles checked if they bleed, ooze, itch, or become tender or painful.
How Are Moles Treated?
If a dermatologist believes a mole needs to be evaluated further or removed entirely, he or she will either remove the entire mole, or first take just a small tissue sample of the mole to examine thin sections of the tissue under a microscope (a biopsy). This is a simple procedure. (If the dermatologist thinks the mole might be cancerous, cutting through the mole will not cause the cancer to spread.)
If the mole is found to be cancerous, and only a small section of tissue was taken, the dermatologist will remove the entire mole by cutting out the entire mole and a rim of normal skin around it, and stitching the wound closed.
Mole Removal Aftercare
It doesn’t take much to ensure a speedy recovery and minimal scarring after a mole-removal procedure. All you have to do is follow a few simple steps and avoid some common mistakes to ensure your skin will be as good as new in a couple weeks.
Following a mole Moles removal procedure, you should clean the area twice a day with water or diluted hydrogen peroxide and apply an antibiotic cream and a clean bandage. You may have heard that air helps a wound heal, but studies show that cuts heal faster when they’re treated with an antibiotic cream and covered with a bandage. And while topical vitamin E may help reduce scarring, it’s best to wait to apply it until the wound heals completely. Applying vitamin E too soon can slow the healing process and possibly make scarring even worse.
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