Moles are overgrowths of color-producing skin cells, melanocytes, in groups which appear on areas exposed to sunlight. Face, being the area majorly exposed to UV rays, grows moles more frequently than other areas of skin.
A mole appearing on your face causes discomfort and lower one’s self-esteem to a larger extent. And hence, moles are removed from face primarily because of cosmetic reasons.
Even though you are getting rid of a mole for cosmetic reasons, it is very important that you get it evaluated by a board-certified dermatologist for malignancy. A mole on face can either be flat or raised. Your dermatologist will decide the best course of action for your facial mole.
Furthermore, you should also perform self-skin exams at home to find the growth of new or change in existing moles and get a good understanding of various mole types, signs of cancerous moles, different mole removal procedures etc.
a. If your facial mole is suspected cancerous your doctor may choose one of the following methods –
1. Surgical shave
The mole is shaved off using a scalpel or any other sharp object after numbing the area surrounding the mole. No stitches are required with this procedure and the healing process takes a couple of weeks.
A flat scar will be formed and will gradually become less noticeable if you follow doctor’s instructions carefully. This method is generally adopted if the mole exists on the surface of the skin.
This could a great option if you face mole isn’t penetrating to deeper layers of skin. It is expected to deliver great cosmetic results with minimal scarring. (Detailed article on shave removal)
2. Excision with Stitches
The process begins by numbing the area with a local anesthetic and then removing the mole along with the surrounding skin using a surgical knife.
The area is then closed with stitches. Stitches that go into deeper layers of skin are dissolved automatically and the ones on the surface are removed by the dermatologist in the follow-up visit. A fine line scar is left after the procedure.
This procedure is generally not used for moles on the face unless it becomes extremely necessary or if the mole to be treated is suspected melanoma. ((Detailed article on Excision with stitches mole removal)
3. Punch removal
A cylindrical object is punched into the skin. The specimen is taken out using forceps and sent for biopsy. Doctors use punch removal for suspicious moles.
b. Other medical procedures to remove facial moles
The following procedures shall only be used for benign & surface level moles. With these procedures, there is no tissue left to be sent for histological evaluation.
1. Radio wave removal
This procedure uses radio waves to destroy the mole instead of lasers or electric current. Depending on the structure and size of the mole, the electrode is chosen to transmit radio waves. A needle, thin wire or blade could be used. The frequency of the radio wave is between 1.5-4.5 MHz.
Since the amount of heat generated is very less, it results in minimal scar formation and faster healing process. Redness, swelling, and tenderness are generally expected after the procedure for a couple of days.
2. Cryotherapy removal
Liquid nitrogen is usually sprayed directly on the mole area eliminating all cells. The procedure might cause slight discomfort as super-cold liquid nitrogen is pushed into your skin.
You will be left with small blisters on the operated area which will heal on its own within a couple of weeks. After blisters are gone, you’ll be left with a barely noticeable scar making it one of the best ways to get rid of moles on face.
3. Electrosurgery removal
The heat generated by the electric current coming from the wire of an electric needle burns off the upper layers of the skin resulting in the destruction of the mole.
This method works really well for surface level moles and may require more than one sitting. It leaves behind a minimal scarring.
4. Use lasers to treat face moles
Laser procedure is widely used to treat moles on face. This procedure is expected to deliver great results with minimal scar formation. A slight sensation is expected during the procedure.
This procedure works like magic for moles on face given the fact that moles are harmless and don’t penetrate deeper into the skin. (Detailed article on laser mole surgery)
c. Can facial moles be removed using home remedies?
Consult your doctor before using these unverified home remedies for removing moles from face. The effectiveness of these methods is not medically proven hence, be wary of using them.
Things to understand and follow before trying any of the below-mentioned home remedies.
1. For people with sensitive skin, apply a home remedy for no longer than 15-20 minutes in one session.
2. Stop using it if it causes irritation.
3. Apply petrolatum jelly to protect the surrounding area.
4. Consult a dermatologist before using them.
5. Home remedies work very slowly. Have patience and stick to one remedy for a sustained period before using any other.
6. Protect the affected area from sun exposure or use high factor sunscreen while stepping outside.
7. The removal time varies from individual to individual. If someone got results in three weeks, it doesn’t mean you will also get the same results in three weeks time.
8. Don’t scratch or rub your mole while it is being worked upon.
9. Never apply it on a mole that itches, bleeds, elevates or shows any of ABCDE cancerous characteristics.
10. Never apply a remedy or an essential oil in and around sensitive area such as eyes, mouth etc.
11. Patch test it on some other area before applying it on mole.
You’ll need a garlic clove, a cotton ball/swab and a bandage. Apply crushed garlic slice on the mole using a cotton ball and secure with a bandage. Garlic can cause some serious burns on the skin, so make sure you protect the surrounding area by applying petroleum jelly. Follow the steps twice a day until the face mole is completely eliminated.
You need pure honey, a cotton ball and bandage. Clean the mole area with soap and water and let it dry. Soak a cotton ball in pure honey, apply it to the mole and secure with a bandage. This process is usually slower and might take a couple of weeks before the mole on face is completely gone.
3. Mixture of baking soda & castor oil
Mix baking soda with two drops of castor oil until a paste is formed. Apply the paste on your face mole and secure with a bandage. Leave it as is overnight. Repeat the process for a couple of days/weeks until the mole fades/disappears.
4. Aloe Vera Gel
Apply some aloe vera gel on a cotton swab and dab it on the mole. Secure with a bandage for 3-4 hours for it to settle in. Replace the bandage with a fresh one and repeat the process once a day for a couple of weeks before the mole is finally gone.
Is it possible to get a mole on face removed without scarring?
“Mole removal without scarring is a myth. Anything that has been surgically removed will result into a scar.”
You should instead focus your efforts on finding a dermatologist with prior experience in removing similar kind of moles on face for best cosmetic results.
Is there a different treatment for a raised mole and a flat mole on face?
Raised, deeper and atypical moles are generally a perfect candidate for excision and punch procedures. If you find a change in your existing mole or growth of new moles, must be looked into by a specialist and removed using surgical procedures.
For flat moles that don’t penetrate to deeper layers of skin, any non-invasive procedures could work just fine provided you find the practitioner with the right skill set.
Question to ask the specialist regarding the removal
1. Why is a particular removal technique chosen?
2. What are the results expected? Any before after pictures of similar removals?
3. What is the total cost?
4. What are the risks associated with the chosen procedure?
5. How to perform aftercare of the surgical site? What are some precautions to take?
6. How much time will it take to heal the wound?
Also, disclose things you are allergic to or if you’ve had any skin conditions in the past. A complete transparency will ensure a better treatment.
Facial Mole Removal Cost
Most medical removal procedures discussed above cost somewhere between $150-500 depending on a number of factors such as size, structure, the location of mole, skill of the dermatologist, state, number of moles to be treated etc.
Home remedies cost somewhere between $10-50.
It is absolutely recommended to choose an experienced practitioner for an excellent outcome if a mole to be treated is located on your face. Although, the cost may go up but your restored self-confidence is way more important than spending a one-time fee. (Detailed article on facial mole removal cost)
If a mole is removed for cosmetic reasons, it is quite likely that it won’t be covered by insurance. With you bearing all the expenses, here are some ways to reduce the cost.
1. Find dermatologists/skin specialists in your area who have conducted similar removals in the past. Get an idea of the overall cost. Go for the one with the lowest cost.
2. Ask about various options to pay. Some doctors may offer discounts on cash payment.
3. You can look for trainees at your nearest hospital practicing under certified doctors. There are chances that they may charge less for the surgery.
4. Ask for discounts if moles to be treated are more than one.
Mole removal from face should be done keeping in mind the cosmetic results of the procedure chosen and resulting boost to one’s self-image & confidence. Hence, it is important that one should choose an experienced dermatologist with a good track record in treating similar facial moles.
Image Source: Tumblr.com