Mole Removal: Common Misconceptions about Healing

Mole removal may be necessary if your mole shows sign of irregularity, as irregular moles may be an indicator of skin cancer and other health problems. Or, you could elect to undergo the procedure in order to improve the appearance of your skin or to decrease discomfort you experience due to clothes or jewelry rubbing up against the moles. However, it's important that you know the truth behind the following misconceptions about healing after the process before you consider the procedure:

Myth: Removing a Mole Results in Clear, Unblemished Skin

Fact: One of the most common side effects of mole removal is scarring. Since your doctor will be removing multiple layers of the skin, your skin will need to heal and new flesh is almost always a different pigmentation, and sometimes a different texture, than the rest of your skin. This means that you'll be left with a scar following the procedure. The larger the mole, the more obvious the scar may be. Some methods of excision are more likely to result in obvious scarring than others. Cauterization, for example, burns the entire area of the mole, so you may be left with a scar the size of the mole, whereas excision with stitches may stretch the surrounding skin and leave you with only a line scar.

Myth: Healing Takes a Long Time

Fact: Recovery is actually fairly fast. If you follow your post-mole removal instructions carefully, you should be back to normal activities between one to two weeks after the procedure. Some methods take longer to health than others. Cauterization heals the flesh instantaneously (but still requires a little care following the procedure), whereas other methods of excision may need a few days before a scab can form over the skin. Keep the treated area covered with a bandage and dry (unless instructed to place ointment over the wound) and allow a scab to form. The scab will take one to two weeks to fall off. If you continue to keep the wound dry and covered, you can decrease your risk of infection and make your scarring less obvious.

Myth: You'll Have No Long-Term Care Concerns

Fact: While it's true that the initial mole removal recovery period is fairly quick and you can return to activities previously prohibited, such as taking baths and swimming, after one to two weeks, there is an important step you can take for your skin's care in the long term. Avoid excessive sun exposure in order to decrease the level of UV ray damage done to your skin and decrease your chances of growing more moles or getting skin cancer. In order to protect your skin, wear long sleeves, hats and sunglasses as much as possible and always cover your exposed skin with sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. Don't forget to reapply the sunscreen for every hour or so of sun exposure.

Your physician or dermatologist should be able to evaluate your mole and discuss whether or not it's a good candidate for mole removal. If you have any more questions, you can discuss them during your prognosis.

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