For many people, moles can be beauty marks that emphasize their good looks. But for others, moles could be a sign of a concerning skin condition or an unwanted blemish on the skin. Dermatology experts at Dermatology & Skin Care Associates in Mason, OH offer several treatments for mole removal.
How Does Mole Removal Work?
The goal of treatments to remove moles is to eliminate the pigmented lesion from the skin. These treatments can be used on all types of moles, from the smallest freckles to the largest port wine stain. Whether you are trying to remove a birthmark or your dermatologist has recommended removal treatments for precancerous lesions, you have many treatment options available.
Selecting your treatment to remove unwanted moles will depend on your skin type, the type of mole you want to remove, your lifestyle, and other factors. Your treatment options include:
Laser treatments to remove moles are ideal for small black and brown moles that are flat to the skin. Generally, laser treatments are ideal for these freckles and other small blemishes because they remove pigment from the skin without the risk of scarring Laser treatments are gradual, gentle, and can fully remove an unwanted mole in one to three appointments.
Shave excision is a good option if you want to remove a raised mole. In particular, this method is ideal for lesions that are above the skin, such as skin tags. During this treatment, a dermatologist will apply a local anesthetic and use a surgical blade to shave the mole off the skin.
Punch biopsies are used to address small to medium-sized moles that need to be biopsied for signs of cancerous cells. Punch biopsies may be used for other types of moles, but generally, the moles that receive this treatment meet the ABCDE screening requirement for melanoma or other forms of skin cancer. For this treatment, a punch device is used to remove the mole from several dermal layers of the skin.
Excisional surgery is usually reserved for flat or malignant moles to prevent the progression of cancer. As the most extreme method of removing moles, this surgery will involve cutting out the entire mole, the skin underneath, and sometimes the skin near the mole to prevent any potential spread of skin cancer.
What Is Your Recovery Like?
Your recovery from your treatment will depend on the method of removal that was used to address your pigmented lesions. For example, the way you address your treatment area after a laser treatment is much different than the way you treat your skin after a punch biopsy.
First 24 Hours
If you had surgical treatment to remove a mole, such as a shave excision, punch biopsy, or excisional surgery, it’s important to keep your treatment area covered for the first 24 hours. You should use a waterproof bandage to prevent any water, moisture, or bacteria from getting into your wound. You may also have care instructions to keep pressure off the treated area or to use a cold compress to soothe the area.
In the first 24 hours after laser treatment, you should avoid using retinoids, makeup, and other potentially irritating products. It’s also important to avoid hot water and steam during the first 24 hours after a laser treatment.
The first week after your surgical treatment to remove a mole, you will need to care for your wound by using any prescription antibiotics your dermatologist gives you. If your surgery requires stitches, it’s also a good idea to use Vaseline over the area to keep the stitches moist to prevent itching. You may use gauze or a simple bandage during the first week to protect your wound from bacteria.
As for the first week after your laser treatment, you should avoid unprotected exposure to the sun. It’s best to use a strong sunscreen for the first one to two weeks to prevent sun damage to your treatment area.
Will You Need These Treatments Again in the Future?
In general, you will not need to have these treatments again for the same area of skin. However, if you have other moles or pigmented lesions you want to remove in the future, you will need to schedule another appointment with dermatologists.
Are You a Good Candidate?
People who are good candidates for this treatment include those who want to remove moles for cosmetic reasons and those who need to remove moles to prevent skin cancer. Your age, gender, and ethnicity have no bearing on whether these health concerns can affect you.
For preventative health, if a dermatologist determines that you have a precancerous lesion, removing the mole early is the best way to prevent cancer from progressing. You may have unique risk factors of developing moles and precancerous lesions if you have fair skin, light eyes, light hair, or you have spent a lot of time outdoors without sun protection.
Schedule a Mole Removal Appointment
Removing an unwanted mole can be done for cosmetic purposes or to prevent advanced skin cancer. The methods to remove moles can include surgical treatments and laser treatments. Schedule your appointment at Dermatology & Skin Care Associates in Mason, OH today.