Mole Removal without a Doctor? Don’t Do it!
Some patients who came to me to have their moles removed often wonder how effective the removal procedure is. At the same time, they are also curious about the effectiveness of home remedies/spa treatments that they read up online or heard from their friends.
When it comes to mole removal, my trusted colleague Dr Lena Fan summed it up nicely in an article. I’m sceptical when it comes to home remedies because if those worked, then what do we need doctors for?
We analysed some myths people have about moles and mole removal in this blog article.
Can my Moles be completely removed?
Yes, several medical procedures can do so effectively. Moles can be surgically removed, shaved, or burned off.
Mole Removal is routine for aesthetic/skin doctors . We use various methods, and all of them are relatively painless and safe. What many people don’t know is that moles should be assessed properly before removing to make sure that it is not cancerous.
This involves asking a series of questions and “checking” the mole closely with a magnifying device. Occasionally, a biopsy is required for lab testing to confirm that it isn’t cancerous2.
Believe me, the earlier harmful cancers such as melanomas are detected, the better your chances are for treatment.
Can I get rid of my moles using home remedies or Beauty Salon treatments?
Yes, I know such remedies are popular and cheap, and they seem like an easy way out for patients with minor issues. BUT while you might think “there’s no harm trying”, remember that these aren’t a “one-size-fits-all” and what works for others might not work for you.
These remedies usually rely on a chemical acid to burn away the mole, by pinpoint topical application on it.
If you have googled home remedies such as “apple cider vinegar” or “herbal formulas”, you should understand how they work — by brushing away the unwanted skin cells!
Many home formulas use a weaker version of these chemicals to gradually peel the skin surface. Beauty salons however would use a more concentrated formula to remove the mole in one or a few sessions.
What’s bad about these one-size-fit-all mole removal treatments?
Firstly, these moles are not properly evaluated by a doctor before treatment and removing the dangerous moles incompletely can lead to dire consequences.
Secondly, these chemicals that burn the skin are less precise and less controllable. Compared to a laser that can peel the skin precisely with incremental powered energy beams, these chemicals depend on the individual’s skin reaction to it.
The individual’s skin reaction can vary a lot — which explains why I sometimes see patients who have marks left behind from these non-doctor mole removals, and other times, even dented atrophic scars from such treatments.
If you are not careful, these marks and scars can be permanent and even more unsightly than the moles themselves! This is why clinics almost never use such chemicals for mole removal anymore.
What about those other myths regarding mole removal?
I’ve had patients come to me with concerns about some myths they’ve heard from people they know or information read off the internet.
For example, not all moles are cancerous. Don’t go into a panic and demand that I remove them all in one go! You can be born with moles, or you can develop one later, such as during puberty. Again, not all moles need to be removed!
Other common myths are:
- If the mole is in an area not exposed to sunlight, it’s unlikely to be skin cancer.
- If it grows hair, it usually isn’t cancerous.
These myths can be dangerous. It’s important to understand that it’s almost impossible for the average person to diagnose skin cancer just based on its location and features, without seeing a doctor.
Many patients worry about recurrence (that the moles will “return”) after treatment. While this happens occasionally, it’s usually because of incomplete treatment. This is much more likely to happen with home remedies and non-doctor prescribed treatments.
Yet others are worried that mole removal with lasers or surgery is a painful experience. You will be excited to find out that with proper numbing cream and even injectable numbing, you won’t feel a single thing during the short treatment!
Scarless mole removal?
So what’s the best method? Surgery, ablative lasers, or non-ablative ones?? Surgery or ablative lasers usually leave a temporary mark/scar after mole removal, how should this be managed??
Every mole needs a different solution, but for those who like to do their due diligence, here’s some valuable advice:
If you are doing Surgery
Go for microsurgical techniques — experienced plastic surgeons or aesthetic doctors work on these microsurgeries while using magnifying loupes to make sure the scar left behind it is minimal.
Microsurgery involves the use of stitches 6-10x thinner than regular stitches used by many skin clinics. You can see why these result in lesser scarring.
For moles that require Ablative Lasers
ALWAYS choose Erbium-Yag over CO2 lasers. Erbium Yag is a laser wavelength, not a brand. Popular brands include Fotona Sup:Er and Asclepion Dermablate.
There is an epidemic of false marketing articles saying that CO2 lasers are the gold standard for ablative skin procedures — this is false, and a result of an attempt by many companies to sell the CO2 lasers with fancy marketing.
Er:YAG is a laser that’s much more expensive and much more selective of skin cells (water content inside the cells). This results in a much more precise ablation, lesser scarring, and the development of other side effects3,4.
I have both lasers in the clinic— the CO2 has other uses, and we only use the Er:YAG for mole removal that requires ablation.
Zero Downtime or Scarring
There are some lasers that can remove your moles without any downtime or scarring! These lasers are ultra-selective of the unwanted mole tissues, leaving the surrounding normal skin untouched.
It can usually be done in a single session, but may require subsequent touch ups during the review. It is not suitable for every type of mole, but do come for an assessment to find out if it’s suitable for you!
Also find out more about Erbium-Yag and other Aesthetic Treatment options here.
My own mole was removed without scarring by Dr Fan as shown below:
I definitely recommend that you seek professional advice from a doctor on how best to remove your mole(s). While it may be tempting to try out home/salon remedies, not all of them are able to promise guaranteed results. You might even damage your skin!
If you are already seeing a doctor for mole removal, make sure you read my top three tips in the section above.
Consult your doctor to find out which mole removal procedure is most suitable for you. I repeat, It’s not a one-size-fits-all treatment that you want to try!
Interested to find out more about Scarless removal? Read more about how Acne Scar Removal can be 100% effective..