Mole removal

How long does a mole removal take to heal?

After mole removal, the skin surface is normally water resistant after 3 days. There may be a crust or scab over the wound for 1-3 weeks, and when it separates the skin should normally be intact and level wth the surrounding skin. There may be redness in the area as further skin strengthening occurs. This usually persists for several months to a year.

The length of time it takes for skin to heal after removing moles can vary depending on the method used for removal and the individual's healing process.

Broken skin heals either from the bottom of the wound, or by "knitting together" if cut skin surfaces are held in contact with stitches.  If the wound is healing from its base, it's normally safe for the wound to be immersed after 3 days (although for large ulcerating wounds this period may be longer). When stitches are inserted, the skin sound should not be immersed until the stitches are removed due to the risk of scarring.

There is usually a crust over the wound for some time as the skin surface regenerates. The time taken for the crust to separate and the skin to appear intact varies according to how doctors remove moles

  • Excision with sutures: This method involves cutting out the mole and closing the wound with stitches. Healing time can take about 1-3 weeks, during which the wound should be kept clean and not immersed under water. The stitches should be kept in place until removed by a healthcare provider.
  • Radiofrequency ablation: Healing time is usually shorter than with excision, taking about 3-7 days, although in some cases there may be a crust of scab for 2-3 weeks
  • Laser/IPL (intense pulsed light) therapy: This method involves using a laser or IPL to destroy the mole tissue. Healing time is usually shorter than with excision, taking about 3-7 days if the skin surface is affected. Often there is no damage to the skin surface and the only sign of skin lesion removal is redness, which settles in 1-2 days and pigmentation changes which settle in 2-3 weeks..
  • Cryotherapy: This method involves freezing the mole with liquid nitrogen. If the mole or skin lesion is treated lightly, there may be no "healing time" since the skin stays intact and the lesion falls off in a few days. Where the skin lesion is treated more aggressively, there may be a blister which takes 2-3 weeks to heal.
  • Shave excision: This method involves using a sharp blade to shave off the mole, leaving a small, shallow wound. Healing time is usually shorter than with excision, taking about 3-7 days, although a crust over the wound may persist for 2-3 weeks if the wound is large.

It's important to keep in mind that these are general estimates and the actual healing time can vary from person to person. Older people with poor circulation, and those with a compromised immune system may heal more slowly. Removing facial moles usually results in a faster healing time.

The complete skin healing process after mole removal takes about a year. During this time, the skin surface heals, but afterwards there is an extended period of skin strengthening and remodelling. During this period there is a risk of scarring and the wound may appear pink due to the development of blood vessels in the healing skin. This usually fades over several months to a year.

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