Mole Removal

moleMany people have moles that they find unsightly and that they would like to remove. Unfortunately, since most moles are cosmetic and not a medical concern, many insurance companies will not cover the costs of mole removal. Since mole removal is generally only performed by dermatologists or cosmetic surgeons, the costs can be prohibitive for people who do not have insurance or whose insurance will cover only part or none of the cost.

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Some people may have apprehensions about the methods of removal, such as cutting or burning the mole off. Such methods also pose a risk of scarring or forming keloids, which are a special type of scar that is much larger and more pronounced than the original injury. Since these types of scars can be even more pronounced than the moles themselves, some of the most common mole removal techniques may be undesirable for some people. In light of these issues, some people who have moles they wish to remove may be interested in natural or home remedies of mole removal.

What Moles Are Safe to Remove?

Flat moles are often harmless.Although most moles are benign skin lesions and pose no medical risk, some may be cancerous or precancerous. Removing part or all of a cancerous or precancerous mole can lead to the mole forming a cancerous mass. Moles may be precursors to melanoma, a rare but dangerous type of cancer. Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer and skin disease. Before using any type of home remedy to remove a mole, it is best to see a dermatologist to evaluate the mole. The American Academy of Dermatology's Find a Dermatologist tool can help you find a dermatologist near you.

Generally, home remedies should only be used on flat moles; moles that are raised up from the skin tend to be the moles that may be precancerous or cancerous. These moles should always be removed by a specialist, since a specialist can send a sample of the mole to assess the mole's risk of becoming cancerous. Home remedies destroy the mole tissue, making it unavailable for lab analysis. In addition, some home remedies may only remove part of a mole. Removing part of a mole may leave it susceptible to regrowing; if the mole is cancerous or precancerous, removing part of it may aggravate the mole, potentially leading to a cancerous condition.

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Apple Cider Vinegar

One of the most commonly-used natural remedies to remove moles is to saturate the mole in organic apple cider vinegar. The acids in the vinegar dissolve the tissue of the mole; apple cider vinegar has malic acid and tartaric acids, along with other alpha-hydroxy acids that are also beneficial for acne and other skin conditions. The vinegar will also dry the skin surrounding the mole, so most people decide to swab the surrounding skin with petroleum jelly to protect it. The apple cider vinegar method can take several weeks to work and many people have to treat the mole in several stages before the entire mole is removed.

To perform the apple cider vinegar method, wash the area with hot water, apply petroleum jelly to the area around the mole that needs to be protected from the drying effects of the vinegar, and then use a cotton swab to apply the apple cider vinegar to the mole. This process takes up to two weeks to remove the mole, with repetitions needed two to three times daily. This method usually causes a stinging or burning pain in the mole. Continue the treatment for a few days after you first feel the stinging pain. After this a scab will form, and when it falls off it will usually take the mole with it.

An alternative method is to scratch the mole with a sterilized needle and apply a cotton ball soaked in apple cider vinegar to the mole and cover it with an adhesive bandage. With this method it can be difficult to protect the skin around the mole, as adhesive bandages cannot adhere to skin when it is covered in petroleum jelly. This method will also cause the mole to scab and fall off. Only part of the mole may come off when the scab falls off; if this is the case, let the area heal completely before starting the treatment again to remove the rest of the mole. Do not pick at the scab, as this may cause the area to scar.

When using the apple cider vinegar method, be sure to use organic vinegar, preferably one that is raw and unfiltered. Commercially-processed vinegars may have chemicals in them that can harm the skin. Raw and unfiltered vinegar is best for mole removal purposes because the natural acids and precipitates from the apples and the brewing process remain in the vinegar. These acids and precipitates assist in the mole removal process.

Herbal Remedies

Some herbal or other natural remedies can be used in similar ways to the apple cider vinegar method. Many of these remedies call for scratching the mole with a pin or gently running a nail file or emery board over the mole prior to applying the remedy.

Iodine is a gentle alternative to apple cider vinegar or garlic, which are two of the most popular remedies. Iodine treatments for moles are also applied after scratching or abrading the mole. Apply the iodine two to three times per day for up to two weeks. This method requires no petroleum jelly and does not burn the surrounding skin. Iodine has little chance of scarring.

Garlic is another natural remedy commonly used. Grind a clove of fresh garlic into a paste and apply it to the mole at night before bed, covering it with a bandage. Remove the bandage and wash the mole in the morning. Garlic typically only takes up to five days and can burn the surrounding skin easily, so petroleum jelly should be used on the surrounding skin.

Like all herbal or natural remedies, these methods for removing moles are not guaranteed to work. You can do further damage to your skin by attempting to remove moles yourself. Consulting a physician or specialist before attempting any at-home treatment is best, since they can give valuable advice regarding mole removal and skin care.