The vast majority of skin blemishes are harmless. In some cases, however, moles (also known as nevi) may indicate the presence of diseases like cancer. Fortunately, there are numerous medical solutions that can help you deal with these conditions before they become too serious. If you have a concerning or unwanted mole, scroll down to learn why moles appear, the five types of moles, and how to remove a mole.
What Is a Mole?
Healthy moles initially appear as brown or black dots on the surface of the skin. Over time, they can grow hairs, spread, become upraised, or even disappear completely. Moles occur when pigment-producing skin cells grow in irregular clusters. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) defines five main types of moles (source):
- Common nevi that are usually harmless
- Congenital nevi that are present at birth and may indicate a higher risk of melanoma
- Spitz nevi that generally appear before the age of 20 and are pink or raised
- Acquired nevi that appear after birth and may indicate melanoma risk when they occur in large numbers
- Atypical, or dysplastic, nevi that are large, irregularly shaped, and found in various colors
Skin Cancer and Moles
With all moles, rapid changes in color or size may precede or indicate cancer. An individual’s likelihood of developing melanoma depends on different factors, like their family health history, their skin pigmentation and the amount of UV sun exposure they receive. In 2015, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported that about 9,000 Americans die from melanoma annually (source). This was the highest death rate of any form of skin cancer.
How to Remove a Mole
If you suspect that you have a mole that needs to be removed, never do it yourself. DIY mole removal remedies are known to cause scarring, and they may lead to complications such as infections. Most importantly, your moles must be properly examined to ensure that they do not contain cancerous cells. After extracting your skin tissue, your skin care professional may perform a biopsy to examine it. You will typically receive the results of the test within a few days.
If you’re wondering how to remove a mole, we recommend the three following procedures:
In this procedure, a skin care professional will use a small surgical blade to eliminate the mole directly. They will apply a local numbing agent and gently remove the affected tissue. Surgical shaving is minimally invasive. Patients don’t need sutures, and the procedure is quick. Unfortunately, it does not prove effective with deeply rooted nevi.
Surgical excisions also involve numbing, but the skin care professional removes a deeper section of skin. Instead of a scalpel, they will typically employ a surgical punch to extract a clean circle of multiple skin layers. Afterward, they will suture the wound closed. Excision may be more effective than shaving. It can, however, result in increased scarring. Both of these methods have the potential for the mole to grow back, in which case you should immediately contact your skin care professional.
By applying radiofrequency energy to the affected area, skin care professionals can cause problematic cells to detach for easier removal. Anesthetics are usually administered locally. Radiofrequency surgery may minimize the amount of scar tissue that grows at the surgical site, and the procedure is generally quick. It’s commonly used for precision removals near sensitive, inconvenient, or high-risk locations, but it may require a couple of weeks to heal.
Wondering how to remove a mole? Contact DermaHealth Laser & Skin Care Clinic if you live in or near Springfield, Missouri. We can safely and cleanly remove skin lesions and if necessary, we will send them in for pathology. To remove the mole, we will shave it, excise it, or use the Ellman radio frequency machine. To learn more, please give us a call at 417-447-7777 or click here to schedule your free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!