Mole removal

Can you get moles removed for cosmetic reasons?

You can get moles removed for cosmetic reasons. There are several methods for removing moles which give excellent cosmetic results, often with little to no scarring. These methods may not be suitable for all moles, and are usually not appropriate for skin cancers. If you wish to have a mole emoved for cosmetic reasons, you should always have it examined by an experienced and qualified skin cancer doctor or dermatologist to determine the most effective and safest way of removing it while giving the best cosmetic result.

Getting moles removed for cosmetic reasons (i.e. to improve your appearance) is possible and usually a simple process for a skin cancer doctor or dermatologist.

The first step is to consult an accredited skin cancer doctor or dermatologist to have the skin lesion (sometimes it's a mole, and sometimes it's something else) examined and diagnosed. The likely diagnosis (in conjunction with your skin type, risk factors and medical history) will influence the type of procedure that needs to be performed.

  • If the lesion is suspicious for skin cancer, the priority must be to obtain tissue for a biopsy and completely removing the suspicious lesion. These procedures might not give as good a cosmetic result but are required so that skin cancer is properly treated.
  • If the lesion looks benign, the best procedure needs to take into account its colour, size, height and anatomical location as well as other factors: skin type, history of scarring, medications, allergies, medical conditions and more.
  • The history of the skin lesion itself is important. If it's been growing or changing, there's a higher possibility of skin cancer. Previous treatments - even "accidental" treatments such as laser hair removal may affect moles so that they appear more suspicious and a biopsy might be required.

If the lesion looks benign and suitable for cosmetic removal, several techniques are available, depending on the type of lesion and patient preferences.

  • Laser and IPL are effective treatments that leave no or minimal scar. These treatments are suitable for flat pigmented/coloured lesions such as lentigines (age spots), angiomas and telangiectasia (blood vessels) and some moles.
  • Radiofrequency surgery is effective and leave almost no scar in most cases. It's used for raised lesions such as moles, seborrhoeic keratoses and skin tags
  • Cryotherapy involves freezing the lesion with liquid nitrogen. If used very gently, there is usually no scarring, although the treatment might not be as effective as laser or radiofrequency surgery.
  • Topical creams and ointments may be useful for treating solar keratoses and skin pigmentation.

The best first step to having a mole removed for cosmetic purposes is to consult an accredited skin cancer doctor or dermatologist who has experience in diagnosing different skin lesions and access to different treatments.

More questions and answers...