Moles can literally come in all shapes and sizes. Some are brownish in colour, some are darker or skin-coloured. They can be flat or raised, smooth or irregular, and some have hair growing from them.
Most moles are completely harmless. However unsightly moles on your face might have a negative effect on your confidence, making you feel self-conscious. They can also be a nuisance, catching on your clothing or getting cut while you’re shaving.
While most moles are non-cancerous, in rare cases they can develop into melanoma, a serious and aggressive form of skin cancer. Melanomas usually appear as new, dark, fast-growing spots or pre-existing moles that change size, shape or colour and bleed.
Whether or not you believe your moles are harmless you should check your skin every few months for new moles that develop, or any significant changes to existing moles. Things to look for include:
All of the above need to be checked, so if you’re experiencing any of them please see your GP.
Both forms of moles, cancerous and non-cancerous, can be treated surgically, even if they’re perfectly harmless. There’s minimal scarring. We can advise you about how to treat or remove suspicious moles, and we can arrange mole removal as well as a full biopsy.
A cyst is a pocket of membranous tissue that contains fluid or air. Cysts can grow almost anywhere in your body or under your skin and there are lots of different types, most of which are harmless. We use the same methods to remove cysts as we do for removing moles.
There are several procedures we can use to treat the area, depending on whether your mole is raised from the skin or flat.
Some people confuse flat moles with freckles. Dark flat moles can be lightened with a laser or skin lightening creams so they’re a lot less obvious.
If you have a true mole and it’s flat, the only way to remove it is to make a small cut which leaves a tiny scar that heals naturally. You might need anything from one to three stitches, which we’ll remove within a week of your treatment. You’ll need to protect the area from sunlight while it heals.
If your mole is raised it can either be excised – in other words cut out – or shaved off. If the mole is shaved there’s always a small chance that it might grow back because the root hasn’t been removed. The shaving method leaves very little scarring and many people prefer to try this method first, especially if the mole is on their face.
The excision procedure involves a small, painless injection of local anaesthetic under the mole to numb the affected area. Thanks to precision cutting the entire mole is removed in one go. The opening is closed with stitches that will dissolve over time. After the initial wound heals you’ll see a tiny line of scar tissue instead of the mole, and this will gradually fade from red to white. The treatment usually takes less than 20 minutes.
Mole shaving is similar to excision. It involves removing the mole with a shaving procedure using local anaesthetic, which means you don’t feel any pain. It’s a very straightforward procedure where your doctor uses a sharp instrument to shave very close to the skin, taking off the mole without removing the root. Shaving usually leaves a less noticeable scar than other mole removal treatments.