How to Get Rid of Moles on Skin

Always talk to your healthcare provider about removal options

Moles are very common growths on the skin. They are usually black or brown, but can also be skin-colored or pink, and almost every adult has them. Most of us have anywhere between 10 to 40 moles on our bodies, and they tend to be more common in fair-skinned people.

Most moles do not need to be removed. However, if you have a mole that has changed in shape, size, or color, it needs to be evaluated for skin cancer. There are many different techniques that can be used for mole removal. Removing a mole is best done in a healthcare provider’s office.

What to Know About Mole Removal

Jessica Olah / Verywell

Before You Remove a Mole

Most moles are what dermatologists call common moles and don’t pose any health risk. It’s important to understand when a mole could become a problem, though. Your dermatologist needs to evaluate a mole to determine whether it is appropriate to be removed. 

If you notice a new mole or one that has changed in shape or size, it’s best to see your dermatologist to be evaluated for melanoma, a form of skin cancer. Other possible signs of melanoma include moles that itch or bleed. 

A helpful tool for evaluating your moles is by checking their ABCDEs.

  • Asymmetrical: When the mole has an irregular shape and the two halves look different
  • Border: An irregular or jagged border
  • Color: Uneven or changing color
  • Diameter: When the mole is larger than the size of a pea
  • Evolving: If the mole has changed in recent weeks or months

Is Itching Normal?

The reasons behind an itchy mole are usually benign. You may be experiencing itching because of an environmental irritant. For example, if you notice that the itching started after you began using a new body lotion or laundry detergent, discontinue the new product and watch for changes.

While itching is usually a harmless condition, an itchy mole could be a sign of melanoma. Even if you have been able to identify the cause of the itching, if you're at all concerned, see your dermatologist for a skin cancer check.

Treating Moles

Mole removal should always be performed under a healthcare provider’s care. Chat with your dermatologist about which moles you'd like removed and if they have changed at all recently. Your practitioner will then be able to recommend the right mole-removal method for you. Mole removal usually takes place in the healthcare provider’s office and requires no downtime. 

Surgical Removal

To surgically remove your mole, your dermatologist will numb the mole and surrounding skin, then cut out the mole with a scalpel. They will finish by stitching up the skin around the mole. 

Shaving

To shave off your mole, your dermatologist will numb the area, then use a surgical blade to shave off the mole. This method is more common when your healthcare provider is not concerned about the mole being cancerous. 

Testing for Cancer 

Regardless of which mole-removal method you choose, your healthcare provider will most likely send the mole off to a pathologist to examine it for skin cancer. This is done by examining the mole’s cells under a microscope. Skin cancer is highly treatable when caught early, so don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider about any moles you would like to have checked.

Laser Removal

Some medical spas and beauty providers offer laser mole removal. While this sounds like a quick and painless option, it comes with its own set of risks. When your mole is removed by a laser, it can’t be tested for melanoma. This means that your skin cancer could go undetected because a dermatologist never had the chance to send it off to be tested and examined.

Laser mole removal can also change the cells underneath the mole. These cells will appear abnormal under a microscope and may lead to a false cancer diagnosis for a benign mole. 

Home Remedies 

A quick internet search will bring you dozens of do-it-yourself (DIY) methods for mole removal. Many of these methods use natural ingredients and claim to be safe. However, it’s helpful to remember that DIY mole removal has not been proven to be safe. Some of these methods are dangerous and can lead to permanent scarring. 

DIY Cures

Attempting to remove a mole on your own is more complicated than it sounds. Cutting it off with scissors or a razor can lead to bleeding and a permanent scar. It may also lead to infection, especially if your tools are not sanitized. 

There are also several natural remedies that involve placing herbs or oils on the mole, including:

These remedies are not proven to work, and some can lead to skin irritation. They can also damage the mole and the surrounding skin, as well as lead to irritation and scarring.

Further studies may reveal more promising results in the future. Flaxseed oil, for example, has properties that can heal cuts and skin irritations. It may also help to lighten the appearance of moles. Always talk with your healthcare provider before trying a natural remedy for mole removel at home.

Concealing Your Mole with Makeup

You may see moles on the face as interesting beauty marks—or as frustrating problems. Either way, moles are usually benign, and there is no medical need to remove them. If you’d like to make moles on your face less noticeable, makeup may help. 

Start by choosing the right concealer. Look for one that is one shade lighter than your skin and lightly brush it on with a concealer brush. Next, apply foundation to your face and then another layer of concealer. To finish, lightly dust the mole with a powder foundation. If you’re not happy with these results, a tattoo concealer may help. 

Over-The-Counter "Cures"

Pharmacies and online retailers offer DIY mole-removal creams. These products claim to be easy and effective, saving you a trip to the dermatologist. Studies have found that users may experience thick scars after using these creams. Because these products are often not tested for safety or efficacy, it’s best to avoid them or talk with your healthcare provider before trying them.

Complications Related to Mole Removal

Removing moles on your own at home is not recommended because of the potential complications. What appears to be a benign mole could be an early sign of skin cancer, and removing the growth yourself could mean putting off seeing a healthcare provider who could diagnose and treat it early.

Infection is also a serious risk of at-home mole removal. Most of us do not have the same sanitizing capacities as our healthcare providers, leaving us open to bacteria and infection. An infection could result in redness, pain, and a thick scar. Scarring is a concern with DIY mole treatments, and your healthcare provider may not be able to help once it’s happened. Cutting off a mole at home could also result in uncontrolled bleeding, which could mean a visit to the emergency department to stop the bleeding and a scar as well.

A Word From Verywell

If you’ve been considering mole removal, you probably want to take action as soon as possible. It’s helpful to remember that most moles are benign and don’t need to be removed unless they bother you. Your healthcare provider will have the best tools and methods for removing the mole without leaving a scar. Be mindful that DIY mole-removal methods, while tempting, may result in scarring and other undesired results.

Even if you are OK with your moles, it's always a good idea to have them checked out, especially if you notice a change in the mole's shape, color, or other characteristics. Your dermatologist will be able to to determine if the changes are signs of melanoma.

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10 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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