A mole is a normal skin growth that occurs when melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells grow in clumps. The color of a mole can vary from person to person. It may be pink, brown, or black. Darker moles are more common in people with darker skin color than in people with fair skin. Moles can also be flat or elevated from the skin’s surface.

The majority of moles on the skin appear during childhood and adolescence. More moles will develop as the child grows. Over time, some moles darken, while others lighten. These changes are considered normal and rarely indicate melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer.

Purposes Of Mole Removal

Most moles do not have to be removed. However, they can be removed in the following situations:

  • Removal Of An Atypical Or Unusual-looking Mole

    Typical moles are spherical, flat or slightly elevated, and even in color. However, if your mole appears unusual, your doctor may advise you to have it removed to rule out cancer.

  • Removal Of A Mole For Cosmetic Purposes

    Some may dislike the way their mole looks and just want it removed to improve their general appearance. Moles removed will still be sent out for testing for cancer.

Risks Of Mole Removal

Mole removal is a minimally invasive procedure. However, like with any surgery, there are potential dangers. The following are the risks of mole removal procedures:

  • Persistent bleeding
  • Scar formation
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Reappearance or “recurrence” of the mole

Does Your Mole Need Removal?

Get a detailed examination of your mole to rule out malignancy and for peace of mind. Consult our MOH-accredited dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis and personalised treatment plan.

Can I remove a mole on my own?

There are several disadvantages to attempting to remove a mole on your own such as:

  • Mole could be malignant.
  • You may not remove the entire mole.
  • The outcome on your skin may appear cancerous even when they are not.
  • Your skin can get infected
  • You could get a large scar.

You may consult a dermatologist for a comprehensive evaluation of your skin condition before deciding on any treatment options.

Advantages Of Surgical Mole Removal

Moles are not often removed. But when they are, there can be major advantages to it.

  • Rule In/Rule Out Skin Cancer

    The main benefit of having a mole removal procedure is that your dermatologist can run tests to determine if the mole is skin cancer and start treatment right away.

  • Cosmetic Purposes

    Looking better is quite subjective but some people have their moles removed for cosmetic purposes. After mole removal, they are happy with how they look after healing.

Dr Noor Hanif Said

Medical Director & Consultant Dermatologist

Over 20 years of experience
in medical, Surgical & aesthetic Dermatology

  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS, Singapore)
  • Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP, United Kingdom)
  • Fellow Of The Academy of Medicine, Singapore (FAMS, Dermatology)

Prior to starting his private practice at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre, Dr Hanif was a dermatologist at the National Skin Centre and a Visiting Consultant with the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital Dermatology Service.

Apart from his expertise in the management of general dermatological problems such as eczema, psoriasis, hair loss and acne, he has special interests in pigmentary disorders and aesthetic dermatology.

How can I tell whether a mole is cancerous?

The best way to find out if a mole is cancerous or “malignant” is to schedule an annual skin cancer screening with your dermatologist. If you have a family history of skin cancer, your dermatologist may advise you to get more frequent screenings.

In between screenings, you must regularly check for melanoma by inspecting the appearance of your moles. A simple method to remember the usual traits of melanoma is to think ABCDE:

  • Asymmetry

    The mole has a shape that is not uniform in shape or irregular

  • Border

    The mole’s margins aren’t well-defined

  • Color

    There are multiple colors within the mole

  • Diameter

    Measurement of the mole is bigger than a pencil eraser (6 mm)

  • Evolution

    A mole that is continually changing shape, size, and color

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Are there other mole removal techniques?

    Although some healthcare providers have used laser therapy, electrocautery, or freezing with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy) to remove moles in the past, these methods are no longer commonly used. This is because these methods usually leave no sample of your mole to have it tested for skin cancer. Also, moles are more likely to return (recur) after these treatments.

    Is it painful to have a mole removed?

    To alleviate pain during mole removal, your healthcare professional will use drugs that will numb your skin called anesthesia. Most mole removals just require “topical anesthesia” or anesthesia applied to your skin, but your dermatologist may also inject liquid anesthesia such as lidocaine into the wart and surrounding areas to prevent you from feeling any pain during the mole removal procedure. After the procedure, you may experience mild to moderate stinging or burning sensation in the area for a few days though.

    How long does it take to recover?

    Healing time is determined by your overall health and the size of the mole removed. Mole removal will most likely take two to three weeks to heal. You will be able to go about your daily activities during this period, but you may have some soreness. Follow your healthcare provider’s wound care guidelines to aid healing and prevent infection.