If you’re hell-bent on removing a mole by yourself, you’d better think twice—because self mole removal may increase your risk of melanoma.
All over the Internet are articles on how to perform a self mole removal at home, particularly with garlic.
It’s amazing how many people want to get rid of a mole yet will not have a dermatologist perform the procedure – which would be done 1) under sterile conditions, and 2) neatly and cleanly, with minimal trauma to the flesh.
Though the deadly skin cancer has been tied to excessive sun exposure, sunburns, sunbeds and living at high altitude, it can also pop up on areas that have had minimal sun exposure including the soles of the feet, between the toes and inside the mouth.
This suggests that there’s a lot more to the development of melanoma than exposure to ultraviolet radiation. And one of those things might be trauma to a benign mole.
“There is some discussion whether irritation and trauma can cause a normal mole to turn into melanoma,” says Dr. Tess Mauricio, MD, FAAD, a leading board certified dermatologist from Stanford University Medical School and CEO of MBeautyClinic.com.
What about the irritation and trauma from self mole removal? At home
Dr. Mauricio explains, “I am not sure the answer is clear, but it is usually suggested that any mole that is in areas prone to irritation, like the beard area with shaving, should be removed prophylactically.
“So in this same thought, self mole removal, depending on how this is done, is incurring some irritation and trauma to a mole, so there could be a potential of increasing the risk for melanoma.”
What to do?
Have a dermatologist remove the mole. And no matter how normal it looks, it should always be biopsied rather than tossed in the rubbish.
Mole removal at home, depending on how it’s done, will hurt more than a professional excision. And you may not get all of it, either.
The tissue around the mole is anesthetized by the doctor; you will not feel anything during the procedure.
The injection of the anesthetic hurts much less than a Novocain shot, less than a shaving nick and lasts just a few seconds.
As for the cost, yes, you’ll pay out of pocket, but you’ll also be paying for peace of mind, now that you know that self mole removal can raise the risk of melanoma.
Dr. Mauricio is an internationally recognized cosmetic surgeon and the youngest woman to hold the position of President of The San Diego Society for Dermatologic Surgery.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.