Most moles in the body are harmless and do not need treatment, but if you think it affects your physical appearance or if it is getting irritated from constantly rubbing against your clothes, then mole removal can be an option. Moles that you need to consider removing are the ones that have changed; any noticeable differences in a mole’s shape, color, or size could be a sign of skin cancer. If it has cancer cells, your doctor may want to have it removed immediately. 1Aesthetics Medical and Surgery offers safe and effective mole removal procedures so you do not have to worry anymore.
Before scheduling an appointment with a dermatologist, you can perform a self-exam on your skin. In order to remember the symptoms of skin cancer, look for the ABCs:
- Asymmetry – The two sides of the mole does not look the same at all.
- Border – The outline of the mole is jagged, irregular, or crooked.
- Color – It appears that the mole has different colors.
- Diameter – The width of the mole is greater than the average measurement of 6 millimeters.
- Evolution – There are changes to the mole’s shape, color, or size.
On the day of the appointment, your dermatologist will check your skin for appearance of abnormal moles. If an abnormal mole is detected, your dermatologist will advise to continue monitoring it for any changes or to remove it for a biopsy.
Mole removal involves simple surgery in your doctor’s clinic, office, or a hospital outpatient center. In Singapore, there are two primary methods used to remove moles:
- Shave excision – A thin, sharp tool similar to a razor is used to slice off the mole. This is followed with electrosurgical feathering with an electrode-equipped device. Feathering minimizes the appearance of the incision by blending the wound edges with the surrounding skin. The doctor will use a microscope to examine the mole for signs of skin cancer.
- Surgical excision – This method is deeper than a shave excision. The doctor cuts out the entire mole up to the subcutaneous layer of fat and then apply stitches to close the incision. Afterwards, the mole will also be examined for cancer cells.
Once the mole is removed, a sample is sent to a lab for further evaluation and tests. After a week or two, your dermatologist will inform you of the results: if the cells of the mole look normal, no further treatment will be needed and your dermatologist will let you know the schedule of your next skin screening. However, if the cells of the mole appear cancerous, your dermatologist will help you plan the next steps.
Like any other type of surgery, procedures for mole removal also carry risks. There will be a scar, but the biggest risk post-surgery is infection. You need to follow the aftercare instructions for the wound until it heals. This means that you need to keep it clean, moist, and well-covered to protect it from dirt and bacteria. In some cases, the area where the mole was removed will bleed. To stop the bleeding, keep holding pressure to the area using a gauze or a clean cloth for about 20 minutes. If it continues to bleed, you need to contact your doctor immediately.
Some websites claim that it is possible to remove moles at home using do-it-yourself tips. These home remedies include:
- Cutting off the mole using a sharp instrument such as a razor blade or scissors
- Applying iodine solution to the mole in order to destroy the cells inside
- Taping garlic to the mole
- Using apple cider vinegar to burn the mole
You might be coaxed to try one of these methods because each one sounds convenient and easy, but there is no evidence that home remedies for mole removal are effective. Some of them even sound dangerous! Mole removal using a razor blade or scissors is not only scary but it carries risks, too. If you cut off any growth with a tool that is not properly sanitized, your risk for infection increases. Another risk is that you cannot tell whether a mole is cancerous or not; it could be melanoma, the most severe type of skin cancer. If a dermatologist does not test the mole and it turns out to be cancerous, there is a possibility that it will spread throughout your body and become a life-threatening condition.
There is no surefire way to prevent moles from appearing, but the important thing is to be aware of the changes in your body, including any moles that have changed over time. If you visit your dermatologist for regular check-ups, you can request for a full body mole screening in order to check areas that you do not inspect on a regular basis. A dermatologist’s expert eye can often determine if a mole is just a mole, or if it is something else. Additionally, you should minimize sun exposure and wear sun protection every time you go outside.